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Idaho 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 Idaho Panhandle Hotshots rig.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.

Crew spiked out.From 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.



Image of Idaho Panhandle Hotshots logo.

Idaho Panhandle Past Crew Superintendents
Dale Jarrell
1967 - 1969
Mike Cyrus
1970 - 1971
Dennis Johnson
1972 - 1973
Jim Preston
1974 - 1975
Dean Berger
1976 - 1979
John Myhre
1980 - 1987
Jim O"Dell
1988 - 1994
Lynn Bornitz
1994 - 1998
Hadley Hawkins
Rory Laws
Louis Hartjes
Terry Zufelt
Chris Smith

Crew member observing a helicopter with a bambi bucket on the Big Springs fire in New Mexico.