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An F-15 fighter capable of flying more than twice the speed of sound drops a 25-pound dummy bomb on a battered jeep. The hit is slightly right of target, raising a small cloud of dust and smoke.

A pronghorn antelope naps in a dirt patch 2,000 feet away. Four people standing on a metal observation deck and buffeted by the desert wind continue their conversation while another plane passes overhead. The antelope does not move. Birds chatter on."There, you can see it for yourself," says Lt. Col. Lynn Wheeless, a tanned, dark-haired Texan who commands the 366th Range Squadron. "The Air Force can train in Idaho with minimal disruption to man or wildlife."

But there is far more fire to the debate concerning Air Force activities in Idaho than there is at ground zero.

The 109,000-acre Saylor Creek range, located in the Owyhee desert 35 miles from Mountain Home Air Force Base, has been the site of Air Force training activities since B-24s trained here for World War II. The military also uses air space overhead - 6,853 square miles of southwestern Idaho, eastern Oregon and northern Nevada.

Now the Air Force wants more ground and more air to provide realistic training for fighters, tankers and bombers. The question is how much more Idahoans are willing to accept.

The Air Force says it does not and would not drop "live" bombs in the Owyhee area, and limits some of its other activities to try to balance its needs with Idaho's concerns.

But many citizens still worry about jet noise disrupting their desert solitude, scaring California bighorn sheep and shaking sleepy towns.

Members of the Shoshone-Paiute tribe, who live on northern Nevada's Duck Valley Reservation, do not want the Air Force over their homes or sacred grounds. Cattle ranchers who have made a living off the land for generations question what Air Force plans will cost them.

The service is making another pass at getting its needs met. It is soliciting public comments this summer on the fourth expansion proposal in seven years. Previous efforts died in the face of opposition from American Indians, ranchers and environmentalists.

Each time, the Air Force has come back with a plan leaving progressively smaller imprints on the Owyhee County desert lands. The latest calls for a 12,000-acre target area, where dummy bombs would be dropped; five smaller no-drop zones; 30 mobile emitter sites; and a wedge of sky that would increase military airspace about 7 percent.

Even this scaled-down plan has done little to relieve the distrust some Idahoans harbor for the federal government - whether it is the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service or the Air Force.

Rancher Bert Brackett holds a permit to graze cattle on one of the parcels proposed as a new target area. His family has had livestock on 100,000 acres of southern Idaho and northern Nevada sage and grassland for four generations. He is not sure what to think about the Air Force's pledge to be a good neighbor.

"I can't say they aren't and won't be, and I can't say they are and will be," Brackett said. "Individually, they are sincere and honorable people."

Lahsha Johnston, a member of the Owyhee Canyonlands Coalition, worries that the 30 emitter sites - though each may be an acre or less - will give the Air Force "a foot in the door" for more expansion.

She offers as proof an emitter site at Grasmere, which started out with mobile equipment about the size of a camper shell on the back of a pickup truck and ended up a complex complete with brick buildings, solar panels and diesel generators. The Air Force did not clear the expansion with the Bureau of Land Management first.

"The question is, `What happens with those other sites 10, 20, 30 years from now?' " she said.