Panhandle IHC History
Since 1962, four Type I hotshot crews have been established in northern Idaho. Today, the Idaho Panhandle Hotshot Crew, formerly the St. Joe Interagency Hotshot Crew, is the sole survivor. Dale Jarrell organized the crew in 1967 and served as crew boss until 1970. The crew is based at the Idaho Panhandle National Forest's supervisor's office in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. This forest is an administrative combination of the Kaniksu, Coeur d'Alene, and St. Joe National Forests.
For 30 years, the hotshot crew worked out of the Clarkia Work Center on the St. Joe Ranger District. In 1998, they moved to the Coeur d'Alene Ranger District in Coeur d'Alene. This move was in response to national agency direction to position the crew closer to high priority fuels and restoration work that was being done in the wildland/urban interface and within the Coeur d'Alene Basin. In 2001, the name changed to Idaho Panhandle IHC to better represent the Forest.
1967 through 1979, the crew was housed in a tent camp. The large canvas
wall tents were set up on carpeted wooden platforms and furnished with
metal-frame beds and wood-burning stoves. Meals were prepared by a camp
cook for all the crews living at the work center. In addition to what
was then known as the Interregional Hotshot Crew, there were district
fire crews and brush disposal, silviculture, and timber crews based at
the work center. By 1978, the district's temporary workforce had been
reduced enough that a camp cook was no longer required, and by 1980, further
reductions in staff made it possible for the hotshot crew to move into
one of the three bunkhouses at the work center. Currently, there is no
Forest Service crew housing available, but numerous apartments and houses
are available for rent in the Coeur d'Alene area.