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10 tips for hunters during fire season

Gregg Losinski - IDFG

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - With ideal conditions for wildfires to spread and with more hunters heading afield, hunters should pay close attention to fire closures and be prepared to alter their plans if necessary. They should also do their part to ensure they aren't contributing to the problem.

Here are 10 things every hunter can do during fire season:

1. Know before you go

Check your hunting area in advance of your hunt and see if there are fire closures or access restrictions due to fire danger. A great place to start is Idaho Fish and Game's Fire Page.

Currently, portions of south central and central Idaho, including the Salmon-Challis National Forest, is in Stage 1 Fire Restrictions. Know where the fire restrictions are and what they mean by using the Fire Restrictions Finder map.

2. Be patient

Most fires are typically extinguished or under control by October hunts. However, the Moose Fire which continues to burn near Salmon may potentially affect access this fall, as well as many other larger fires. If you know fires are burning in your hunting area, you may want to delay your hunts, or choose another area.

3. Be careful with all fires

Whether a campfire, gas lantern, cook stove, barbecue, etc., all can quickly start fires in tinder-dry forests and deserts. Each year, an increase in man-caused fires is usually observed during hunting season and is often accredited to warming fires not being properly extinguished. Firefighting resources are limited, and you don’t want to add to the problem. Know the current fire restrictions for the area you're hunting and abide by them. Even after rain or snow, forests can remain dry and flammable.

4. Be careful with vehicles and other motorized equipment

Parking vehicles on dry grass can ignite fires. Chainsaws, generators and other machines with gas engines can start fires. Use them wisely and within the rules of fire restrictions.

5. Be on the lookout for fires

If you spot a wildfire, report it immediately by calling 911. Hunters may want to carry a shovel and water jug in their vehicle and put out any campfires they see left unattended

6. Stay away from fire-fighting activities and abide by closures

Sometimes area closures seem to extend far beyond the actual fire, and hunters may be tempted to sneak into their favorite spot. It is illegal to enter a closed area. Wildfires can also move fast, and rescues require taking resources away from firefighting. Please remember that fires are often associated with Temporary Flight Restrictions that prohibit aircraft travel – including the use of drones/UAVs.

7. Avoid burned areas

They can be hazardous in many ways, including falling trees, holes, loose rocks, etc. They also aren't much fun to hunt. Give them a rest and let the land recover.

8. Beware of rainstorms

They will help put out any remaining fires, but rain can also cause flash flooding and landslides on newly burned areas.

9. Expect some closures even when the fires are out

Land managers are cautious with newly burned areas and may keep restrictions in place well into winter and possibly longer.

10. Understand fires aren't all bad

Fires can have tragic consequences, as we have seen with lost lives, burned homes and disrupted lives and livelihoods. But fires can also improve wildlife habitat, and in most wildlands, are part of the natural cycle.

Article Topic Follows: Outdoor Games

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