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East Idaho fires burned less acres, more started by humans

Aftermath from Monday's brush fire across from Alvin Ricken Drive
Aftermath from Monday's brush fire across from Alvin Ricken Drive

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - In a typical fire season, about 106 fires in east Idaho will burn about 80,000 acres.

“This year has been significantly lower,” said Sarah Wheeler with the US Forest Service and Eastern Idaho Interagency Fire Center.

This year, 120 fires have burned 18,000 acres, a significant decrease from previous years. Wheeler attributes this to a few things.

“First, is just pure luck, like where fires started, where they ignited and how fast we were able to respond,” Wheeler said.

However, only 19 fires were lightning caused so far. Normally, we see about twice as many.

“We didn’t see the lightning activity that we normally do in August,” Wheeler said.

The majority of fires--110 as of Wednesday--were caused by humans. In 2019, only 43 fires were human caused.

“It’s a little bit disappointing to be quite honest with you. I mean this is the stuff that can be prevented,” Wheeler said.

This week alone, 7 fires were started because hunters didn't put out their warming fires all the way, Wheeler said. Many other fires have been started by fireworks, chains dragging from towing boats and trailers, as well as exploding targets.

"I think a lot of the human caused fires we have had could have been prevented if people took the necessary precautions," Wheeler said.

Wheeler emphasized the fire season is not over and without a significant amount of moisture, there is no end in sight yet.

You can learn more about how to prevent wildfires from Smokey the Bear.

Article Topic Follows: News

Emma Iannacone

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


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