South Barker tests fire use concept

Joe Jaszewski's story and pictures about the South Barker fire use fire shows that firefighters are not just letting it burn but are acting like peacekeeping forces ensuring it doesn't blow up into a conflagration.

How much of a priority is saving wild salmon?

Aldo Leopold, the brilliant forester turned ecologist who wrote the landmark book, Sand County Almanac described the great challenge he and others like him, who had an ecological education, faced when viewing the human effects on the natural ecosystems that surround them. “One lives alone in a world of wounds,” he wrote.

Palin part of polarizing debate on aerial wolf killing

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s brilliant performance Wednesday night helped her reach into the mainstream of American voters so that they will keep listening about her qualifications to lead the nation in the event of a tragedy.

But her challenge is to keep urban and suburban voters with her after they have heard where she stands on polarizing issues like killing wolves from airplanes. Alaskan voters twice voted against aerial hunting of wolves so even there the issue is controversial.

New report says grazing had "negligible" effects on size of Murphy Complex fire

A fire that burned more than 650,000 acres of rangeland in southern Idaho in 2007 was so extreme that grazing levels effects were “negligible,” a team of federal, state and university scientists said in a report released this week.

Secessionist leanings won't necessarily hurt Palin

The revelation that Gov. Sarah Palin’s husband Todd was a member of the Alaska Independence Party has raised eyebrows and given critics a way to challenge her patriotism.

Palin gives Republicans a chance to hold on to West

In one decision John McCain has reshuffled the election deck especially in the West.

His pick of Alaska Governor and Idaho native Sarah Palin means McCain has a good chance to win Montana, Nevada, New Mexico and even Colorado that were all leaning toward Barack Obama. If she doesn’t screw up, builds on her great personal story, highlights her own maverick style and finds a way to energize social conservatives without making the election about abortion or intelligent design, she can also help him hold the South and challenge in Wisconsin and Michigan.

Kempthorne catches breath before sprint to the finish

Interior secretary Dirk Kempthorne had a relatively short vacation this month, visiting Boise several times as he tried to get in as much work as possible before the end of President Bush’s term.

Critics have suggested he and the Bush Administration are in a last ditch effort to put their policies in place before they leave in January including proposed changes in rules for managing endangered species. Kempthorne doesn’t apologize for trying to get as much done as he can. After all, he’s been on a sprint since the Memorial Day he took over in 2006.

West's fire debates skirt the issues that mattered for Oregon Trail Fire

The Oregon Trail Fire burned only a mile away from my home. Having such an event so close to home helps to focus your attention especially when in my case, I was only a few feet away from the flames Monday night covering the story at Homestead Rim.

The fire that destroyed 10 houses, damaged nine more and killed Mary Ellen Ryder had almost nothing to do with the fire debates that politicians and interest groups fight about and I spend a lot of time writing about. All the logging in the world wouldn’t have had any impact on this fire.

Oregon Trail Fire found kindling along the rim

Walking along Sweetwater Drive Tuesday I was struck by the different burning patterns along the ridge adjoining Oregon Trail Heights. It was like the fast-moving, flashy fire tested each home on the rim looking for an opening to burn and grow.

You have to see a fire shooting across a flat grassland to believe how fast it can move. Then when it hits a steep ridge like the one below Oregon Trail Heights it not only has the wind pushing it but its flames now have fuel above it to feed the process.

Boise fire was a textbook case of the need for firewise home protection

The fire that destroyed 10 homes,damaged nine others and killed a resident on the bench that includes Columbia Village in Boise Monday came right out of the textbook of Forest Service fire behavior expert Jack Cohen.

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