IDAHO FIRES

Idaho fire nears homes, military range. By Keith Ridley. This is in the SW corner of Idaho, with a portion in Nevada. It is now being called “the Murphy [fire] complex.

“This fire has the potential to be one of the worst fires in American history” if it moves north, Hawkins [incident management commander] said. “But I don’t think that will happen.”

The figure they are giving is 880 square miles. That’s 2300 square kilometers — over 550,000 acres. Whatever, it will be larger after today because there is no break in the abnormally hot and dry weather, except perhaps thunderstorms (probably more of a curse than blessing).

Update: Murphy Hot Springs (resort) did not burn.

Update. Here is a very good wildlfire locator map KT emailed to me.

Incident web page for this fire — the Murphy Complex. It is updated every day at noon EDT, 10 AM MDT.

Update late on July 23. Forest Service closes Salmon River camps, river stays open. By Roger Phillips – Idaho Statesman.
I lunch with a boatman just off the Salmon River. He said the canyon was very hot and had filled with smoke from nearby fires. While some areas had over 2 inches of rain recently, the lightning that came with it caused many new fire starts. As the story says the Salmon River and the Frank Church Wilderness could be closed without a lot of notice, given the deteriorating conditions. Note: the Salmon River is in the Central Idaho Mountains. The huge Murphy Complex is in SW Idaho on the Owyhee Plateau and the Snake River Plain.

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UTAH FIRES

In other fires . . . in Central Utah where a number of fires burn, several small towns have received evacuation notices — Oaker Hills, Indian Ridge, Elk Ridge, Indianola and Holiday Oaks.

Story in the Salt Lake Tribune. Fiery retreat: Salt Creek residents flee menacing wildfire. By Matthew D. La Plante. FYI, Salt Creek is the canyon between Nephi, Utah and the San Pete Valley (the south slope of Mt. Nebo).

Photos of Utah Wildfires. From the Salt Lake Tribune.

Update July 24: Fire crews report gains across Utah. Salt Lake Tribune
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NEVADA FIRES

Thunderstorm [Monday] threat today for huge wildfires across northern Nevada. By Martin Griffith. AP

Update. Photo of Scott Creek fire in Nevada

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

One Response to Idaho fire nears homes, military range: Fires rage in Idaho, Utah, Nevada

  1. avatar kt says:

    There are two Air Force Bombing Ranges in Owyhee County – Juniper Butte is to the south, Saylor Creek to the north. Mountain Home AFB itself is north of the Snake River, in Elmore County. The 200 square miles the fire moved in a day northwards sounds like it has made it to Saylor Creek. If that is the case, then it could foreseeably jump the Snake River Canyon. Kind of disconcerting that the Air Force won’t say what all may be burning up, and we may be breathing. Ne’er you all mind WHAT we had out there …

    Moving 200 square miles towards Saylor Creek means the fire swept through dozens of square miles of the hideous crested wheatgrass seedings in the central and northern Jarbidge in warp speed. BLM has touted crested wheatgrass as a “firebreak” – when in reality it is a fire HAZARD. Time to rip out every acre of crested wheatgrass, and re-seed with small native bluegrass.

    I read another account that said that Mountain City Nevada, to the Southeast had also been evacuated. – meaning more beautiful areas of the Humboldt-Toiyabe must have burned. It’s critical that the middle to higher elevations that are burning receive long-term rest from grazing to minimize cheatgrass post-fire.

    After the Nevada fires in 2006, and now this in 2007, the situation for Sage Grouse and other sagebrush-dependent species just took a colossal nosedive. Elko County HAD (Past tense it looks like now) by far the largest number of Sage Grouse in Nevada – no longer will that be the case. This burning Borderlands region was critical to both Idaho and Nevada sagebrush wildlife.

    Time to re-draw the Sage Grouse population maps – and move the minute hands on estimated time to extinction quite abit forward. OR -maybe we should all just be hopeful like the Attorney for the Oil and Gas industry was at the Court hearing on USFWS’s failure to list Sage Grouse under the ESA a couple weeks ago in Boise. That fellow remarked that numbers of birds/populations weren’t tied to habitat …

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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