Idaho Falls Citizen Journalism

Leslie Shumate News

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Interagency fire management officials in east‐central Idaho will begin Stage 1 fire restrictions, effective at one minute after midnight (12:01 AM) on August 14, 2017. The Central Idaho Fire Restrictions Area encompasses all Forest Service (outside of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness) within the Salmon‐Challis National Forest, Bureau of Land Management (BLM)亡almon and Challis Field Offices, along with State Lands and privately owned forested lands within the Central Idaho Dispatch Zone.

Stage 1 fire restrictions apply to campfires and smoking. Under Stage 1 restrictions, the following acts are prohibited:

1. Igniting, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire outside a fire structure that is provided by the agency.


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8-2-17 LMS

The Salmon Challis National Forest has been rated by the Journal of Environmental Management as ranking fifth in the nation for fire risk. 

Fuels Management Specialist for the North Fork Ranger District Wade McPhetridge told the August 2 meeting of the Salmon City Council that the only areas with a higher fire risk ranking are three forests in California and the southeast region of Arizona’s Tonto National Forest.

McPhetridge attended the meeting to update the council on his ongoing study of Jesse Creek which is Salmon’s Municipal Watershed. The area is the town’s only barrier from catastrophic fire should one ignite to the west and is itself tremendously overloaded with down and dead fuels. It has been rated as one of the state’s two most fire threatened areas and in turn has for years been a number one threat to the city’s water supply. It’s the job of McPhetridge and his team to decide how best to eliminate the fire risk.

Knowing the area’s history of fire behavior and potential entrapment is a key.

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TAPPAN & IBEX FIRES August 3, 2017

Tappan Fire: The Tappan Fire was detected at approximately 7:00 PM on August 1, 2017 on the Middle Fork and North Fork Ranger Districts, near the confluence of Camas Creek and the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Fire is located east of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in steep, rocky, and inaccessible terrain. The fire is approximately 927 acres burning in grass, brush, and scattered timber.

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Tappan Fire August 2, 2017 August 2, 2017

Fire Size: Approximately 433 acres

Cause: Undetermined

Location: On the Middle Fork and North Fork Ranger Districts, near the confluence of Camas Creek and the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Fire is located east of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in steep, rocky, and inaccessible terrain.

Fuels: Grass, brush, and scattered timber.

Staffing: Fire resources assigned to the fire include one (1) helicopter, 12 firefighters, two (2) resource advisors, and fire managers located in Salmon, Idaho. The fire is being managed in the wilderness while providing for firefighter and public safety and protecting identified values at risk such as river camps, private property, and natural and cultural resources.

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The city’s Finance Team met on July 12 and team chairman, Councilman Jim Bockelman, reported meeting minutes to the July 19 meeting of the full City Council. He said with 75 percent of this fiscal year completed there is nothing out of the ordinary and that with 61 percent of the overall revenue collected and additional tax payments on the way, budget numbers are expected to be met.

He said there will be large expenditures for the upcoming paving project on Mary Street and that the Island Park Bridge is due to be paved soon so the expenditures for that project can be completed. 

The sidewalk project is expected to start after the Salmon Marathon. Bockelman said the contractor has told Finance Director Amy Fealko that fly-ash material was not included in the specifications for the concrete and that that material would prolong the sidewalk lifespan. Inclusion would increase costs by about $8,000. Fealko will contact Keller and Associates for an opinion on the fly-ash recommendation.

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Mahoney House Director Scott Brand and Assistant Director Jo Philpott gave the Lemhi County Commissioners an update of the facility’s latest goals and received county support in return.

Brand said the premise of the Mahoney House effort towards area young people is based on the fact one adult can make all the difference. 

Brand said he has heard over and over again that there is nothing for kids to do in Salmon and he totally disagrees. To that end the Mahoney House is gathering mountain biking and fishing equipment and other materials to facilitate young people being able to get out and experience all that Lemhi County has to offer. He said he sees the program as prevention based.

The Mahoney House is also conducting emotional well-being classes in collaboration with local schools. There are classes for eighth grade boys and girls similar to the Strong Boys/Strong Girls program created several years ago by Denise Bender.

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Thunderstorm activity moved through the area on the 25th and started several fires in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The largest of these fires, the Ibex Fire, was detected at approximately 3:45 PM on July 24, 2017, eleven miles west of Twin Peaks Lookout. 

The fire is burning in sub-alpine fir on the Middle Fork Ranger District. A patrol flight on July 25, estimated fire size at 540 acres. The Ibex Fire is staffed with ten firefighters, one helicopter, while also being monitored by area lookouts and air patrols. “We had several starts generated from the storm that moved over the Wilderness Area late afternoon on Monday,” stated Chuck Mark, Forest Supervisor, “It’s the time of year when we can expect these fires to occur in the dry subalpine, dense, and remote forest we have on the Salmon-Challis National Forest.”

Smoke is being experienced in the surrounding areas and valleys of Challis and Salmon from fires in the region.

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