Pioneer Wildfire Recovery and Restoration


Photo of huge column of the Pioneer Fire


Pioneer Fire History

The Pioneer Fire began July 18, 2016. Smoke was detected 8 miles north of Idaho City on the Boise National Forest’s (Forest’s) Idaho City Ranger District. The area, located in central Idaho, drains into the Boise and Payette River basins. By Sept. 15, 2016, the fire had grown to over 180,000 acres, affecting 20 additional drainages within the Idaho City, Lowman, and Emmett Ranger Districts on the Forest. Naturally dry conditions were exacerbated by a lack of late-summer monsoonal moisture.  Hot temperatures and strong winds fueled the fire’s growth to more than 64,000 acres by Aug. 9, 2016, affecting the Bear River and Lower, Middle, and Upper Forks of the Crooked River, Rock Creek and Pikes Fork drainages. The Pioneer Fire burned with varying severity, leaving a mosaic of burn patterns on the landscape that ranged from unburned islands to areas where tree crowns were completely consumed.


a photo of a small red sold sign




A photo of a new culvert within a wildfire area

Pioneer Fire Video

Improving Aquatic Habitat for Bull Trout within Boise National Forest

Learn more about Aquatic Organism Passages (AOPs) by watching the NEW video:




A photo of a sign to link to Pioneer Story Map

Interactive Story Map

Boise National Forest - Pioneer Fire Recovery and Restoration

Provides a summary using photos & map of the 2016 Pioneer Fire. Initial activities and planned future actions are included.



News Releases regarding the Pioneer Wildfire: 


6-7-2017 - Boise Forest gets Chief's approval to move quickly on Pioneer Fire salvage and reforestation (Read News Release).

1-30-2017 - Public Comment Sought for North and South Pioneer Fire Salvage & Reforestation Projects (READ News Release).


Photo of employee taking notes in burned area with ground covered in mulch


Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER)

Boise National Forest Completes Monumental Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) efforts

Two teams of BAER specialists worked diligently through August and September 2016 completing two assessments within 189,032 acres of the Pioneer Wildfire. The teams identified emergency response actions to reduce imminent unacceptable risk to human life and safety, property, and critical natural and cultural resources on National Forest System lands due to post fire events. The evaluation of burned areas for post fire changes in watershed conditions identified potential threats such as flooding, debris flows, soil erosion and other hazards.

Most of the authorized BAER treatments were implemented in the fall of 2016 including: 900 acres of aerial mulching, 300 miles of road drainage reconstruction, and upsizing more than 60 culverts providing increased water flows. Close to 100 miles of recreation trails have been treated with water bars and tread shaping and hazard trees have been removed at 15 developed recreation sites.

Approximately 150 warning signs were posted on roads, trails and at recreation sites warning Forest visitors of the threats that exist within the burned area. Implementation was completed for the season, the remaining work will continue in the spring 2017 as weather conditions become favorable.

The Boise NF appreciates the support of over 60 BAER specialists from multiple forests within Regions 1 through 6 in completing the assessments and implementation efforts. (READ MORE)



Photo of equipment working moving logs in Pine Flats Salvage area


Salvage and Reforestation


In 2017 Boise National Forest (NF) salvage and reforestation efforts will continue consistent with the goals and objectives identified in the Forest plan.

Efforts include hazard tree removal through salvage sales to reduce risk to public health and safety along primary roads and trails will provide economic benefits to local communities and small businesses.

In the 2016 winter recreation season, hazard trees were removed at access entrances to popular groomed snowmobile routes and yurts hosted by Boise NF partner, Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR), were provided with easier access to areas north of Idaho City.

Two teams of specialists prepared the North and South Pioneer Fire salvage and reforestation projects. Each team releaseed detailed proposed actions for scoping in late January 2017, Environmental Assessments in the spring of 2017, NEPA decisions in early summer 2017 and project implementation beginning soon after NEPA completion.



Photo of smoke of Pioneer fire over sunset landscape


Land and Resource Management / Projects / Developing Proposals

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Documentation

North Pioneer Fire Salvage and Reforestation Project

Salvage hazard trees and other trees, mitigate threats to resources and reforest fire impacted areas in the northern portion of the 2016 Pioneer Fire Area.

South Pioneer Fire Salvage and Reforestation Project

This project proposes to salvage hazard trees and other trees to mitigate threats to resources and reforest fire impacted areas within the southern portion of the 2016 Pioneer Fire Area.



Photo of burned trees from the Pioneer Fire


Additional Information

Pioneer Fire Recovery & Restoration Links