Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Idaho Department of Lands discusses what kind of fire season is expected for summer 2015

Information from the Idaho Department of Lands

It's official: summer is here and weather and fuel conditions indicate 2015 will be an active fire season. The very hot temperatures and dry weather expected across Idaho this week will rapidly dry out both fine and heavy fuels, increasing fire potential. Fire managers are asking people to be extra careful in the outdoors so they do not accidentally start a fire. 

Most of the 74 fires that State of Idaho firefighters have put out so far this year have been caused by people, not lightning. Fires resulting from equipment, recreational shooting, and controlled burns that escaped make up most of the human-caused fires on lands protected by the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) and two timber protective associations.

As the Independence Day holiday approaches, Idahoans also are reminded that fireworks are prohibited on forest and range lands in Idaho during closed fire season (May 10 through October 20). 

Fire prevention and safety tips are available on the new web site,

Fire forecast

National fire weather forecasters told the Land Board last week they expect a near normal fire season in southern Idaho and an above normal fire season for northern Idaho, where the State of Idaho has much of the responsibility for fighting wildfire. 

Low snowpack and low soil moisture contributed to conditions in May and June that fire managers do not usually see until July. Tree stumps are burning three to four feet into the ground and bushes that usually stay green and absorb the fire to slow it down are actually burning and contributing to the spread of fire. The low subsoil moisture probably is the result of a cold snap last November prior to snowfall that did not allow winter rain to penetrate the soil, so fires likely will burn deep into the soil and will be difficult to mop up without water.

This year, Idaho forests are drought-stressed and more prone to insect and disease damage. Fine fuels such as grasses are more prevalent than would be expected in a typical drought situation thanks to well timed precipitation this year. A healthy snowpack usually will compact fine fuel vegetation from the previous season, but the limited snowpack this year left abundant standing fuels from last season to add to this growing season. 

Factors that affect the severity of a fire season are global weather patterns, temperature, precipitation (amount and timing), snowpack, drought, and vegetation development. 

Ten IDL forest protective districts and two timber protective associations together provide protection on more than 6.2 million acres of mostly State owned and privately owned timberlands in Idaho. Most of the lands we protect are located north of Grangeville. The other two fire agencies are the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Local fire districts and rangeland fire protection associations assist IDL, USFS, and BLM in our firefighting efforts. 

The goal is to keep 94 percent of fires that burn on State-protected lands to 10 acres or less in size.

Friday, June 19, 2015

From this Chair

By Cloann McNall

The tooth fairy still exists. At least the sweet tooth fairy is still around.

I received a call Monday morning from my long-time friend Judy Stewart Overberg, saying she had left an early birthday present on my front step. But it needs refrigerated right away she said.

Each year Judy brings me a fresh homemade coconut cake for my birthday. It’s the best ever, believe me. 

Judy and I have known each other since the 1970’s when she moved here from Mississippi. Our friendship has continued through the years even though she moved from Orofino in the 1980’s.

The first time I saw Judy was at the front counter of the Clearwater Tribune.

She and her husband Ka-role Overberg divide their time now between Clarkston and Arizona. 

Sunday the Tribune family said goodbye to a special acquaintance, Jeanette Gorman. Her memorial service was held at the Orofino City Park where a large crowd of family members and friends gathered to remember her. 

She died April 21 of pancreatic cancer at age 65.

She was the community relations coordinator for Clearwater Valley Hospital in Orofino and St. Mary’s Hospital in Cottonwood for the past 19 years.

During these years Jeanette became well-known by the news media, in the medical community and a host of other people whose lives she touched.

Her husband, Dave King and sons, Alex and Quinn were among those speaking at the service.

At the close of the service Kathy Hedberg, a reporter for the Lewiston Tribune surprised those in attendance by playing the guitar and singing two of Jeanette’s favorite songs.

We will miss you, Jeanette, and yes, we will keep you in our hearts.

Editor’s note: The latter words are from her requested song “Keep Me in Your Heart for a While” by Warren Zevan.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Fair booths, horse shows, and more

By Diana Colgan

The 68th Annual Clearwater County Fair dates are Sept. 17-20, and this year’s theme is “Red, White & Blue, This Fair’s for You.”

It’s time to do some planning if you would like to reserve a booth in the Exhibit Building during the Fair. Several sizes of booths are available: shallow walk-in, deep walk-in, shelf, and several double booths, and most have a power outlet. If you are interested in reserving a booth or would like more information, please contact Cynthia Hedden at 476-3234.

The annual 4-H Horse Show will be held July 25 at the arena in the Orofino City Park. Marie Armitage, at the Clearwater Extension Office, can be contacted regarding the 4-H Horse Show at 476-4434.

The weekend of Aug. 8-9 will be filled with fun and interesting events in the arena area of the Orofino City Park. The Welsh Pony Show will be Saturday, Aug. 8, at 9 a.m. Plans are being made for Saturday evening, which will include lights and music and activities for all horseback riders in our community. 

The Open Class Horse Show begins at 8 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 9, and is a judged event. Entry forms will be available at the Clearwater Extension Office at a later date. For information regarding the Open Class Horse Show, please contact Joyce Bird at 476-7861. For information regarding the Welsh Pony Show, please contact Sharon McHone at 435-4750 or Joyce Bird at 476-7861.

The annual 4-H and Open Class Dog Show will be Saturday, Aug. 22, at the Orofino City Park. The 4-H Dog Show begins at 9 a.m. and the Open Class Show will begin at 1 p.m. Entry forms will be available at the Clearwater Extension Office at a later date. For more information, Kathy Deyo can be contacted at 476-3228.

Volunteers are always needed to help with the entering of exhibits and during the judging of the exhibits in the Exhibit Building and Fair Barn during the Fair. Please contact Linda Weighall at 476-4996 if you are interested in volunteering.

Friday, June 5, 2015

I for one, want to keep the old school standing

Dear Editor:

With the community in mind, the big brick Orofino School was purchased by the Pippenger family.

Maniac pride, five generations.

The plan was to do what it would take to make it safe and usable for your community at no cost to you. Great idea!

Then the rules of government, both local and state started coming to light.

It appears to me, maybe you too, that your city government and your building inspector are very much against the community having the use of our old brick Orofino School full of history, mystery and memories.

Do you know your building inspector is not elected? He is hired by the city and had a very short training course some time back.

But he has power to make it miserable and costly for builders and remodeling. It appears to have the support of your city powers that be.

Something for you to think about.

For all those years and the many children who walked those halls, the “red fire extinguishers” were placed in strategic places throughout the building and persons were taught how to use them.

Now, the inspector (the law) wants a full sprinkler system throughout your dear old building. The expense would just be unreal for this situation.

That big book of rules, rules, rules.

Do you think the red extinguishers would be just fine? They were okay, up until the junior high moved to the big school (not that long ago).

I am left wondering if there is a way to solve this in a legal way.

This old brick school is a part of Orofino history.

Lots of rules! Is there a hidden agenda for the heavy pushing of the sprinkler rule? If so, there are other building spots in Orofino.

I am really hoping the old school will remain standing in the heart of Orofino.

Reuby Curfman