Friday, September 18, 2020
Smoking, Fire, Floating Restrictions Implemented. Phillips Creek Fire Contained
The number of firefighters working the Phillips Creek Fire has dropped from more than 400 to 233 as firefighters mop up smoldering embers.
Thursday, August 13, 2020


The City of Ketchum is implementing fire restrictions and the Sawtooth National Forest is implementing river restrictions as rivers and vegetation dry up under a hot August sun.

Ketchum Fire Chief Bill McLaughlin is implementing fire restrictions on all public and private lands, roads and trails situated within the boundaries of the city as the threat of wildfire danger increases.

Prohibited are open fires and campfires. Also, smoking except within an enclosed vehicle, building or area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of flammable materials.

Exemptions are granted for:

  • Persons with a written permit that authorizes the otherwise prohibited acts
  • People using fire-fueled solely by liquid petroleum or liquid petroleum gas within barren areas.
  • Federal, state or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force while performing an official duty.

For information, contact 208-726-7805.


Indian Riffles and Torrey’s Hole on the Upper Salmon River are closed to fishing beginning Saturday, Aug. 15. And the Buckhorn to Stanley, Mormon Bend to Yankee Fork and Torrey’s river access site to the eastern Sawtooth National Recreation Area boundary will close to float boating to protect spawning salmon as they lay their eggs in the gravels of the river.

On Sept. 3 the entire river will close to float boating and float fishing until Sept. 23.

From Aug. 29 through Sept. 2 boaters will be required to portage Indian Riffles and Torrey’s Hole.


The Great Basin Team fighting the Phillips Creek Fire near Fairfield will turn over command to a local Type 4 incident management team at 6 a.m. today.

The fire is now 100 percent contained. It has not expanded beyond its 2,112-acre footprint for a couple days.

Sparked by lightning on Aug. 5, it burnt through the Soldier Mountain Ski area but only burned a bridge, the Magic Carpet and a pickup truck with snowplow.

Gusty winds have continued to give firefighters fits—it could gust to 25 miles per hour today.  But the fire is not expected to spread further.

 Meanwhile a firefighter working the 438-Pumpkin Fire four miles northwest of Placerville has tested positive for COVID-19. Those working with the individual have been removed from the fire; two had symptoms but tested negative.

Contact tracing is being done among others on the fire.

COVID has been a big concern of firefighters since they started preparing for the wildfire season this spring. A model predicts up to 13 firefighters could die from COVID-19 during a large, long-duration fire, according to an article in “Wildfire Today.”

To mitigate that, firefighters are being isolated in their little pods, rather than mingling in a large wildfire camp as in the past.


Twin Falls School District announced Wednesday that it will start the school year on Aug. 19 with in-person classes. Students will be required to wear face coverings.

Many of the schools of the Treasure Valley are pushing classes back to the week of Aug. 24 or even Sept. 8, which is when Blaine County School District will start.


The Big Twelve conference, which includes Kansas State and the University of Kansas, has announced it will go ahead with football and other fall sports by testing athletes three times a week. This after the Mountain West, Pac-12, Mid-Atlantic Conference and the Big Ten cancelled fall sports.


Face masks are now mandated in Valley County in indoor and outdoor public places where social distancing can’t be maintained. The county, home to McCall and Cascade Lake, is a playground for residents of the Treasure Valley, a hotspot for the coronavirus.

Central District Health also is now restricting gatherings in Ada County to groups of 10 or fewer unless social distancing can be maintained.

The Treasure Valley continues to rack up ludicrous numbers of new coronavirus cases every day. Ada County, for instance, has had nearly 9,500 confirmed and probable cases and Canyon County, more than 6,000.


Idaho recorded 538 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday for a total of 26,133. The state has 246 deaths.

Idaho has lost 70 residents to COVID-19 since July 31. That’s a little over five deaths a day.

Butte County recorded its first confirmed COVID-19 case this week—a female over the age of 50. Lewis County is now the only one of Idaho’s 44 without a confirmed case.

Blaine County held steady with 578 cases.



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