PHOTOS: When black storm clouds gather on a hot summer night, Mountain Home rancher Charlie Lyons drives up to a high-point where he can watch for lightning strikes in the desert.
“When there’s lightning, we’re all out, and I go right up there to the towers is one of my spots, to sit and watch,” Lyons says.
Back in 2013, the Pony and Elk complex fires roared over the Mountain Home foothills and burned deep into Boise National Forest. Ranchers lost more than 100 cattle to the twin blazes, cabins burned in Featherville, and 281,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service land were charred in a matter of days.
Speeding up initial attack and stopping wildfires from growing into huge destructive blazes was a major motivating force in leading Mountain Home ranchers to form the first Rangeland Fire Protection Association in the state 10 years ago.