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Wildfire risk low in Southeast Idaho, Bannock County

Due to rain and cooler temperatures this spring, Bannock County’s risk of fire this season is relatively low, according to the Pocatello Fire Department.

“It’s shaping up for a pretty calm fire season, right now,” said Andy Holmes, the assistant chief of support and public safety for the Fire Department.

Despite the low-risk fire season, the Fire Department is still looking to improve its preparedness.

Bannock County was one of six communities in Idaho to host a daylong workshop to prepare for wildfire season.

“The more that we become educated, the less our communities get impacted by wildfires,” said Tyre Holfeltz, the fire prevention and risk mitigation program manager at the Idaho Department of Lands.

The University of Idaho, Idaho Smart Growth and Idaho Department of Lands have partnered to help communities improve their wildfire preparedness. The project is funded by the Idaho Department of Lands and the U.S. Forest Service.

Pocatello is the second city to host a workshop, and the next four cities are still to be determined. In addition to attendees from Pocatello and Bannock County, people from Bear Lake, Blaine, and Lincoln County learned about fire preparedness.

Some Pocatello City Council members came to learn about what they can do to help fire departments.

“I’m learning a lot about wildland fire prevention, but also some interesting numbers and statistics and facts that are sort of eye-opening,” said Linda Leeuwrik, a Pocatello City Council member.

Wildfires are often started by people– from campfires, debris burning, and cars, trucks, and trailers. Hauling boats and trailers with chains dragging on the road can cause a spark to ignite an unintentional fire, said Holfeltz.

“All you need is a fire in the wrong place at the right time, and then, you know, trouble happens,” Holmes said.

Here are some useful tips to prevent wildfires this season:

— Check tire pressure

— Make sure trailer safety chains aren’t dragging

— Watch for fluid leaks

— Never park or drive on dry grass

— For more tips, click here.

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