Breaking news. At about noon July 10 a camp fire in Basin Creek exploded into what may be a big forest fire. Under a stout west wind, the fire burned down the breaks above the Salmon River Canyon (north side) and threatened the electrical power line for Stanley. There is lots of dry fuel — dried out trees, dead trees, brush. It’s in very rough country.

The fire burned out of Basin Creek and is burning on the ridge above Mormon Bend — the long curve on Idaho 75 where rocks are always rolling down onto the highway.

It isn’t clear yet whether Idaho 75 will be/is closed (relevant to those coming up the canyon from the east). I hope to have photos by tomorrow.

The fire has died down with the night, but will wake up again after the sun rises. The fire could jump the highway and start burning the south side of the Salmon River Canyon too.

Update July 11. This is what the National Wildfire Report said this morning. NEW. Basin Fire (Salmon-Challis National Forest): 150 acres at 10 percent contained. This fire is 7 miles northeast of Stanley and is burning in grass, brush, timber litter and timber. Running, torching and spotting fire behavior was observed. Power is cut to the town of Stanley and Idaho Highway 75 is closed

Update July 12. It looks like this one will soon be controlled if high winds stay away. Electricity is back on and Highway 75 is open. There are photos below taken by a local resident. I was told this will probably not be the last one in the area, given the extreme dryness of the forests and all the dead trees from the insects that killed the lodgepole pine trees weakened by past years of drought.


Seven miles beyond an old log cabin near Lower Stanley, flames torch old Doug fir trees on the ridge between Basin Creek and Mormon Bend in the Salmon River Canyon, Tuesday, July 10, 2007. Photo copyright Lynne Stone.

Flames burn Douglas fir trees on the ridge separating Basin Creek from Mormon Bend Campground, Salmon River Canyon, 7 miles from Stanley, Idaho. Note that the vast swath of dead trees in the area is not Douglas fir, but lodgepole pine, so this fire is a bit ironic. Photo copyright Lynne Stone.

Update July 13. The Basin Fire was contained at 200 acres.

Added August 21. Now in retrospect, this fire was minor compared to what burned in Idaho in the summer of 2007.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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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