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Fireworks likely caused Pocatello fire, BLM urges caution for Independence Day

Pocatello 5 acre fire
Kirstton Tracy
Photo shared by Kirstton Tracy.

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The 8-acre fire that burned dangerously close to homes behind the Outback Golf Park was likely caused by fireworks, according to the Pocatello Fire Department.

The fire on Friday burned mostly grass and sagebrush before PFD and Idaho Fire put it out.

And with so many large fireworks shows canceled because of the coronavirus, the Bureau of Land Management is worried this will just be the start of firework-caused fires this year.

Ryan Ray and his family usually go to the Bannock County Fairgrounds to watch the show, but like the Bingham County show, it was canceled.

This year, he's buying loads of legal fireworks to light safely in his driveway.

“I mean it’s different, it’s not going to compare. We’re not Wyoming fireworks out here, nothing illegal,” Ray said.

Firefighters are asking people to keep their fireworks "safe and sane" and to leave them at home.

“Every summer around 4th of July we confiscate hundreds of fireworks,” said Kelsey Griffee with BLM Idaho Fire.

It's illegal to have any fireworks on public land, because it becomes too easy for fires to start.

“A lot of our fires happen in that grass country and that dries out quick and is easy to ignite,” Griffee said.

The Henry’s Creek Fire and Rapid Creek Fire in 2016 burned 53,000 acres in southeast Idaho and were both started by fireworks, according to Griffee.

Many of these fires are started by juveniles, Griffee said.

“And they got those fireworks from their parents. The reason why they’re lighting those fireworks off is they saw that behavior modeled by their parents,” Griffee said.

The BLM asks parents to set an example for their children by not purchasing illegal fireworks and lighting them responsibly.

Here are some tips from Pocatello firefighters:

  • Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks – instead soak them with water and throw them away.
  • Do not ignite fireworks in a container.
  • Do not give fireworks to small children and closely supervise older children. Make sure your pet has somewhere safe and secure to hide from fireworks.
  • Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from houses and flammable materials.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a water supply nearby for emergencies.
  • Light all fireworks with a long-handled lighter or jumbo punk.
  • Make sure all the fireworks are dead out and allow adequate time for the fireworks to cool or place in a bucket of water prior to disposing.
Idaho / Local News / Pocatello / Top Stories / Videos
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Emma Iannacone

Emma is a reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.

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