BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) – Right now, 80% of Idaho is in drought, which is nearly five times the drought area recorded at this time last year.
Idaho Department of Lands Fire (IDL Fire) is boosting fire resources this year with increased fire engine staff, additional use of drones for more efficient fire suppression, and has kept 90% of fires at 10 acres or less.
On Wednesday, Governor Brad Little visited the IDL office on State Street in Boise, home of one of 10 IDL Forest Protection Districts that provide fire suppression for state and private land. The visit comes after the State Board of Land Commissioners, which Governor Little chairs, heard IDL Fire’s report on wildfire readiness for the state.
“With extreme weather conditions upon us, Idaho Department of Lands resources are ready and stationed strategically to aggressively fight fires when they are first reported,” Governor Little said. “We are able to keep fires small because of our experienced staff and our use of aircraft, but also thanks to our partners who are often the first to report and respond to fires on state and private land. We all need to be smart and do our part to prevent wildfires this summer. While recreating and enjoying our public lands, I urge all Idahoans to be thoughtful in doing everything we can to prevent unnecessary fire starts.”
This year, the Governor recommended the Legislature appropriate a onetime transfer of $20 million to the Fire Suppression Deficiency Fund to ensure IDL has the resources necessary to combat fires on 6 million acres of private, state, and federal lands in Idaho. In addition, the Governor recommended and the Legislature appropriated $1.1 million in total funds and 11 new positions to augment the fire program and ensure the state is maximally prepared to respond to and investigate fires.
IDL Fire works in partnership with two Timber Protection Associations and with the support of rural volunteer fire departments, Rangeland Fire Protection Associations and other partners.
Other 2021 IDL Fire Facts
- 140 firefighters hired this year
- 29 fire engines are available with an increased engine staff
- 6 drones with infrared cameras and 9 pilots are ready to detect wildfire hot spots, making wildfire fighting more efficient
- IDL is using a water additive to make air drops more accurate and effective
- IDL Fire has already responded to 105 wildfires that burned 438 acres on state and private lands protected by the Idaho Department of Lands