Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts tagged as “Idaho”

Fire lingo

From a report by the Idaho Department of Lands, written by information officer Sharla Arledge, explaining some of the terminology used in wildfire reports.

As a new PIO to the fire world I know there is a lot of terminology the average person isn’t familiar with. With this severe fire season we are talking a lot about Incident Management Teams. The question has come up, what is the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 fire teams.

I thought it might be helpful to have an explanation of Incident Management Teams.

What is an Incident Management Team?

An incident management team is a small group of people fire management professionals specially trained and experienced in managing complex emergency fire situations. It is a tool to help fire protection agency manage fire situations that exceed their resources.

An incident management team is supervised by an Incident Commander that oversees specialists with expertise in operations, logistics, plans and finance and administration. Type 1 or 2 teams are commonly comprised of qualified individuals from various state and federal agencies. Type 3 teams are usually composed of individuals from other units within the protection agencies and from units of other agencies in the local area.

Teams are classified as Type 1, 2 or 3 based on the complexity of fires they are qualified to manage. A couple of differences between a Type 1 and Type 2 team is the complexity of the fire and the number of personnel. Type 1 teams handle the most complex fires and operation personnel often exceed 500 people and total people on the incident usually exceed 1,000.

When is a team needed?

An incident management team is assigned to relieve a wildfire agency that no longer has the resources to effectively manage the local fire situation. Examples would be:

· When a single large fire reaches a level of complexity that exceeds the experience or resources of the unit(s) fighting the fire.

· When a large number of fires start in a short period of time causing an excessive initial attack workload.

The protection agency requests the assignment of a team. The requests are driven not only by the fire situation and resource availability, but also what weather and burning conditions are expected in the future.

When a team is activated and assembles on scene it is fully briefed on the fire situation and the risks and suppression objectives by the protection agency. After the briefing the team assumes management responsibility for the fire(s). This allows the local protection agency to replenish its resources and focus them on the initial attack responsibilities elsewhere.

The team operates under the direction of an employee of the agency on whose protection the fire occurs. This employee is called the Line Officer. The Line Officer ensures the team manages the fire in an economical manner with safety for the public and fire personnel always being the first priority.

The cost of suppression increases substantially anytime a team is assigned, especially a Type 1 or 2 team. This is because of the large amount of equipment and supplies needed to support the personnel and resources assigned to a large fire.

I hope you find this helpful. As always, let me know if you have any questions.

First take

Here's a sentence from the Associated Press article on the fire: "The fire blew across U.S. Highway 95 and moved a mile and a half in 8 minutes, said fire spokeswoman Carrie Bilbao of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management." A mile and a half in eight minutes . . . that's moving. And the fire, called the Soda Fire, is big, approaching 200 square miles (it's passed 200,000 acres) out in in the desert region of southwest Idaho and (the smaller part) in southeast Oregon. Evacuations have been ordered. This is the first really big wildfire so far this year in Idaho or Oregon, but it arrives on schedule at the time of year when the big ones normally hit. Little wonder senators from Idaho and Oregon are pushing hard for more federal effort in fighting wildfires. Get ready for more. - rs

A win that’s a loss

carlsonlogo1

Those singing the praises of the recently passed and signed legislation creating a modest new wilderness area in the high mountain regions of the Boulder/White Clouds are trying to sell a “Pig in the Poke.” They want to put a “Happy Face” on a bad bill that only rewards one side of the multiple use/special use lobby: the motorized crowd , the ATV’ers, dirt bikers and snowmobilers led by Lewiston’s Sandra Mithell.

Some of us are cursed with long memories. In particular, I can recall that time in the late 80’s when Senator James A. McClure, and Governor Cecil D. Andrus, worked long and hard to come up with a once and for all time Idaho wilderness bill that included protection in the Boulder/White Clouds for more than 300,000 acres.

The late Mary Kelly was then head of the relatively new Idaho Conservation League. She, along with Craig Gehrke of the Wilderness Society, and other Idaho conservation leaders, denounced the Andrus/McClure proposal for among other reasons not protecting enough acreage in the Boulder/White Clouds. How ironic.

This current bill, put together with Mitchell’s help by the crafty Senator James Risch, and identical to the bill passed by the House, reduced the acreage in the original CIEDRA bill from author/sponsor Second District Congressman Mike Simpson----from just over 300,000 acres to 275,000 acres to be protected by the wilderness designation. In 2010 the number actually was up to 332,000 acres.

Such a deal. That this bill is now being praised as better than nothing and the right culmination of a forty year endeavor by folks such as ICL’s current executive director, Rick Johnson, and my old boss, Governor Andrus, does not warm my heart.

It’s pretty clear that the gang of three, the Risch-Crapo-Otter alliance of “not one more acre in wilderness,” knew they had won the chess match by calling the ICL/Andrus/Obama bluff of creating a larger National Monument using the Antiquities Act. First, they had Rick Johnson’s testimony in which Johnson pledged not to pursue the National Monument designation if Rep. Simpson had a bill before the President within six months.

Secondly, despite an on the record pledge by a top White House aide, John Podesta, that the president would invoke the Antiquities Act if there was no bill to sign within six months, it didn’t take much digging in the Interior Department to recognize that the folks responsible for producing the backup paperwork necessary for an Antiquities Act designation were working on other “candidates” and no one had been directed to work on a monument declaration for the White Clouds.

Rick Johnson, guessing that Senator Risch had figured out the probability was high that the Obama Administration could leave the ICL and Andrus “high and dry and hornswoggled,” could argue that the lemonade out of the lemon was any bill that gave he and the ICL some face-saving wilderness.

It is telling to look at who is and who is not standing behind the president for the traditional bill signing ceremony. Rick Johnson is there, Rep. Simpson is there, Gary O’Malley, the former Weyerhaeuser executive who is retired and represents the Sawtooth Society, was there, as was the former mayor of Stanley.

Neither U.S. Senator, Mike Crapo or Jim Risch, nor First District Congressman Raul Labrador, nor Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, was present. The White House also invited Governor Andrus to attend, but, citing other earlier commitments, even Andrus declined to be there.

One disappointed observer who hoped for more said “It’s not like the Administration moved the goal posts on proponents. They never ever even set up the goal posts.”

Supposedly the Administration felt there was not enough local support for the Monument option, and many folks wihin Idaho were uneasy about uncertainty surrounding the regulations governing a monument which would only become known AFTER a designation. The fact of the matter though is the Administration never gave the ICL and wilderness proponents the opportunity to show their support by way of turnout at public hearings.

When folks like Interior Secretary Sally Jewel, Under Secretary Robert Bonnie and White House aide John Podesta started saying Simpson had six months to get a bill one could guess Simpson would come up with something less than his original proposal but would allow him to declare victory and move on. In this writer’s book the Second District Congressman is the only player coming out of this charade relatively unscathed.

Bottom line is a national monument declaration would have been far and away the best for the resource and the best for Idaho’s future. Some will say this view is a classic case of letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, and maybe they are correct. However, many know in their hearts the current bill is nothing to celebrate.

First take

This isn't all, but it's a start. Idaho's top elected officials have approved spending $900,000 from the state's constitutional defense fund for legal costs, which is what it was set up to do. The money will go for losing a lawsuit in support of its ban on same-sex marriage, for losing an ant-abortion law and losing (at least in part) in a case to restrict protesting around the Statehouse. Presumably the fund, which now is mostly drawn down, will be called upon to pay for defense over the ag-gag law, which was recently ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge. For bunch of would-be constitutionalists, the Idaho Legislature doesn't have such a hot track record in court. Or at interpreting the constitution. - rs

Off the info grid

bondlogo1

We've been off the information grid for nearly a month now. Oh, we've still got electricity, the internet, the gas and water and sewer connexions, but a month ago the satellite went away at our command, so no more government and corporate news at 6 p.m. or the Sunday morning food-fights.

I do miss Charles Osgood and Gwen Eifel but that's about it. These are offset by the welcome losses of Judy Woodruff, Brian Williams, and all of Fox News and all of the Spokane happy news. We don't like being barked at by news purveyors who've never been in a street fight or spent a night in jail, whose only claim to the august positions they hold is based on race, sex, or a tawdry journalism degree from some tawdry college.

Can't much stand our local Shruggles News-Press, either. It seems content to republish police reports and how the local cheerleaders are doing. The new paradigm. Newspapering is now a stenographer's job.

For news in the morning, it's a quick surf through Drudge, who is the premiere old-school news editor, then a deep read through the Washington Post's op-ed page, which seems to be the only surviving newspaper willing to air a variety of actual thinking on topics of import. I read Will, Gerson and Krauthammer on the right, and Dione, the robotic Robinson, and Milbank on the left, then maybe some Samuelson for balance. (For $10 a year the WaPo is the best real newspaper left on the web.)

Back to the central point. We're not missing anything. The dish, with all of its channels advertising faux diamonds and Vego-O-Matic gadgetry and hatred-spewing from Fox and MSNBC, just wasn't worth $80 a month. I don't really give a crap who the next president is going to be, because nothing's going to change. They're welcome to duke it out, but not on my dime, nor my time.

Television is entertainment. Regrettably, the news model has fit itself into the entertainment game and these sissified boys and girls at the anchor desks have capably adapted.

So I turned them off and haven't missed a bloody thing. The sun still rises and sets. The dog, cat, Better Half and me are still healthy. Blood pressure has dropped by many points.

What the Dow does to-day has no impact on our real lives. It's a handful of speculators, mostly banks, trying electronically to out-guess each other. Who really should care? Does caring about it pay my rent? But it's front-page news – a bloody distraction.

The Mid-East burns. Let it. They've been doing this to each other for 6,000 years. What gives us the hubris to think we can fix that? And if you think the U.S. is without guilt there, visit what Kermit Roosevelt did in Iran when he organized the toppling of a duly elected president to install the Shah of Iran in the early 1950s, all to protect British oil interests. Thirty-some years later, we got the blow-back.

Good books and good movies are the way to go. In fiction, nobody lies.

First take

Something seemed likely to happen this year on the Boulder-White Clouds area, because of the pressure on for a presidential declaration of a national monument in the area if no congressional action happened. And, though not much mentioned this week, that prospect seems to have lit a fire under certain people associated with (or in opposition to) the Boulder-White Clouds wilderness bill long pushed by Representative Mike Simpson. That doesn't, of course, diminish the proper credit Simpson should get for the bill; it just helps explain why it slipped through the House and Senate this year when it failed in years previous, during times when it seemed to be forever stuck. Part of good legislating is persistence, and Simpson demonstrated that, keeping after the bill through good times and back, and skillfully striking when the opportunity arose. It was a demonstration of pure legislative skill and on a topic important to Idaho. A question: Has there been a congressional action specific to Idaho of greater significance since the designation of the River of No Return Wilderness (since renamed to include Frank Church) more than three decades ago? Passage of this bill may give Simpson the clear edge as the most consequential member of Congress for Idaho in the last generation. - rs (photo/"Alice Lake" by Fredlyfish4)"Alice Lake" by Fredlyfish4)

First take

Bert Marley seems to be on the surface a rational choice for chair of the Idaho Democratic Party, and a good choice for some less obvious reasons. He has plenty of personal political experience, going back to when his dad (also named Bert) was in the legislature. This Bert was in the legislature too, serving from an area where Democrats could win but could not take a win for granted. He also has run statewide, last year for lieutenant governor. Like his father he was an educator by profession, and he worked for the Idaho Education Association, and his experience there may have provided a useful lesson for the Democratic Party in Idaho. While Marley certainly should focus a good deal of attention on pure party-building (filling those precinct spots, strengthening the county organizations), it could also start to use ballot issues as a way to organize and draw distinctions with the Republicans. That happened in 2012 when educators, in three ballot issues, turned back a series of major education changes proposed by then-Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna. There hasn't been much ballot issue followup since, but Marley's experience with the IEA just might bring a few ideas to mind. - rs

Tom Boyd

stapiluslogo1

In 1986, Idaho politics was not frozen in ice as it is today. It was fluid, and no better case for that could be made than Tom Boyd’s election that year to the speakership of the Idaho House.

It was still the Reagan Era in Idaho, but late Reagan Era, and the results of the 1986 election were all over the place. Democrat Cecil Andrus was returned to the governorship, but just barely, and Republicans did well among the rest of the statewide offices. Republicans won a serious U.S. Senate race, but not by a lot, and a Democrat won in the 2nd district U.S. House seat. The election was a true mixed bag: The overall tilt was Republican, but nothing and no one could be taken for granted.

Especially the party thought to be dominant in Idaho, the Republicans. As majority Republican legislators prepared that year to choose their leaders, they had some decisions to make, especially in the House.

There, the speaker for the previous two terms had been Tom Stivers, a conservative with some rough edges – the kind of guy who often generated what we now call “viral” quotes and anecdotes, like the time he replied to an Idaho teacher planning to leave the state over complaints about state funding and treatment of teachers, with the single word: “Goodbye!”

Stivers had been buoyed to some extent by the 1984 Ronald Reagan landslide but he opted out in 1986, possibly sensing a shift in moods. Many of the Republican legislators of the incoming 1986 group sensed that change too, not any massive shift to the left but some dissatisfaction with what voters were seeing and hearing from the legislature. And – this part was important – many of them felt a need to respond to that.

Candidates emerged to replace Stivers, all with an easy-going style that contrasted with the outgoing speaker. The two main vote getters were Robert Geddes of Preston, who as assistant majority leader had been a part of Stivers’ leadership team, and Tom Boyd of Genesee, who was considered more moderate, part of a group calling itself the Steelheads, centrists who in the Idaho House could readily compare themselves to the fish that swims upstream.

The contest was a near-tie, and a break from the norm in the Idaho House where the more conservative candidate typically wins the race. Boyd emerged as speaker, and was re-elected twice to the post. Along the way he would turn back a challenge from now-U.S. Representative Mike Simpson.

Tom Boyd, who died July 28, was not a hard-charging politico, and never considered a run for higher office; he was a friendly, sociable, low-key farmer whose run for speaker surprised many people who knew him then, as uncharacteristically ambitious. He proved well up to the job, developing an unexpected toughness but also changing the face of the Idaho House.

He changed it in the direction most of his fellow legislators had wanted, as more open and welcoming to larger groups of people. He by no means shut out conservatives in key House spots; Geddes for one got a key seat on the budget committee (which he later would co-chair), but he expanded the dialogue in a number of ways.

Tom was missed when he left the legislature and will be missed now, as will be the kind of politics he thrived in.

First take

The Lewiston Tribune reports this morning about the Manning Crevice Bridge, in some ways the major remnant of the biggest highway project never finished in Idaho history. To get to the bridge, you travel east from Riggins (which is on Highway 95) about 14 miles; what you encounter is an 80-year-old bridge across the Salmon River badly in need of repair if it's to be continued in use. The bridge is the easternmost main development in what was intended to be a road running east along the Salmon River all the way to North Fork, just a few highway miles north of the city of Salmon - creating a highway link between the two parts of Idaho, west and east. It's a fascinating thought, and would likely have become a wonderful drive, had it been built. It might also have discouraged wilderness area designations in that in-between area. And there is this to consider: We don't necessarily need roads between everywhere. Not many people, only a few, really would have had much need of the Riggins-Salmon road. As a connector between Salmon (which isn't a large population center to start with), it would not have been an improvement on the current main route between the two, which runs through Idaho City, Stanley and Challis - the two routes would have taken about the same amount of time. It would have only a little quicker than the current route from Salmon to Lewiston over route 12, and no benefit at all headed to up Spokane and Coeur d'Alene. The story today used to phrase "road to nowhere," which isn't right; but "road to why" might be applicable. - rs

First take

The Idaho State Police on July 2 engaged in an unusually extensive and difficult high-speed pursuit in the Lewiston area. From a report by the state police:

On July 2, at about 9:43 a.m., the Idaho State Police initiated an enforcement contact on a 2002 Ford pickup on US-95 at MP 286, for speeding. It was determined the vehicle was stolen out of Gooding County, Idaho. The male driver fled the scene northbound and was pursued by ISP. The driver of the Ford operated the vehicle at high speeds and in a reckless manner. Assistance with the pursuit was provided by the Nez Perce Tribal Police.

Two unsuccessful attempts were made to stop the Ford utilizing spike strips. At MP 305 on US-95, the Ford began traveling recklessly northbound in the southbound lane almost striking a patrol vehicle and the motoring public at a high rate of speed.

At MP 308 on US-95, ISP utilized a pit maneuver to stop the Ford. The Ford lost control and rolled. The Ford stopped momentarily and as Troopers approached on foot, the driver then attempted to strike a Trooper with the Ford. The Trooper fired his duty weapon to protect himself and to stop the operation of the Ford without regard for the safety of others.
The Ford then traveled southbound on US-95 at a high rate of speed. At approximate MP 306, the Ford veered into a Historical site turnout, then over and down a steep embankment to the Clearwater Rivers' edge.

The male driver exited the Ford and jumped into the Clearwater River. The driver swam across the river and exited on the south bank then disappeared into the trees. The Idaho State Police, Nez Perce Tribal Police, Nez Perce County Sheriff's Office, and Nez Perce County Search & Rescue initiated a search for the driver. The Lewis County Sheriff K-9 assisted with the search. The Lewiston Police Department is conducting the investigation involving the discharge of the Trooper's duty weapon in accordance with the Critical Incident Task Force agreement.
The driver is identified as David R. Pegram, DOB 04/10/1984. Pegram is 5'9", 160 pounds, blue eyes and blond hair. Pegram was last wearing dark shorts, flip flops and no shirt. Pegram has a tattoo of a naked lady on his right chest area. At the time of this press release, Pegram is still at large.

(An update noted that Pegram had been captured.)