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California Weather Events Travel Through Idaho, Bringing Fire Risk


The same weather patterns that are making the Rim Fire a challenge for firefighters in California have been moving up through parts of the Northwest. Specifically, through central Idaho. Fire managers say the forests there are ripe for fire, and more lightning is in the forecast this week.

The fact that massive fires are raging both in California and in Idaho is no coincidence, according to Robyn Broyles. She's with the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.

Broyles says all summer, fire managers have been watching hot, dry air move across north-central California, skim the top of Nevada, and push up into Idaho. “Our areas of highest concern right now are in central California … and in central Idaho.”

Broyles says lightning this week across central Idaho could add to the tens of thousands of acres already burning around Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains.

But it's a different story elsewhere in the Northwest. National fire managers say many of the forests in Oregon and Washington have remained relatively moist, even in areas east of the Cascades.

Last weekend, for example, the Colville National Forest in northeast Washington got zapped with nearly 3,000 lightning strikes. But so far? Only one fire.