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Fire officials urge caution as most of Idaho is under very high or extreme fire danger

Fire Danger sign at Very High
NPS / Jacob W. Frank
Fire Danger sign at Very High

BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) - Hot summer temperatures across the state have resulted in drier conditions and an increased fire danger, with nearly all lands under Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) fire protection now in V very high or extreme fire danger.

As of Tuesday, IDL crews have fought 166 fires with most being human-caused or investigated as possibly being human-caused. 

"IDL works hard to hold fires to 10 acres or less, and that becomes more challenging with very high and extreme conditions," IDL's Fire Management Bureau Chief Josh Harvey said.

Fire officials are asking the public and industry to increase their caution as a spark in dry conditions can start and carry a fire a long-distance, putting communities at greater risk for catastrophic fires.

State Burn Permits are not currently be issued except for agricultural field burning. State burn permits are required from May 10 – October 20 each year (Idaho Code § 38-115). Restrictions on issuing permits change as fire conditions change.

Currently only one area of the state is under fire restrictions. Central Idaho Fire Restrictions Area is currently in Stage 1 fire restrictions to include all lands managed by or are under the fire protection of Idaho Department of Lands, Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, or other tribal or federal agencies.

Fire Managers work together as fire conditions change to determine when and if fire restrictions will be put into place in regions. Other areas may have restrictions over the next few weeks, please check the Fire Restrictions Finder webpage for the most up to date information.

"Idahoans and tourists recreating in areas without fire restrictions need to use extra caution and avoid activities that could spark a fire," added Harvey. 

A bill for the full cost of fighting the fire may be sent to anyone who starts a wildfire due to negligence (Idaho Code § 38-107).

Those who feel the need to have a campfire should only use a fire ring and clear all debris away from the ring. All fires need to be dead out before going to bed or leaving the site and if fire restrictions are in place, they must be followed.

Remember, never park vehicles or ATV/UTVs over dry grass. Carry water and a shovel when hitting the trails.

Secure chains on trailers and make sure your tires are in good shape to avoid flat tires. Sparks along a roadway can start fires for several miles.

For more IDL Fire Information and Resources click HERE.

Idaho Department of Lands in partnership with two Timber Protection Associations and with the support of rural volunteer fire departments and other partners, provides fire suppression and prevention on more than 9 million acres of state and private forests and rangelands in Idaho. IDL focuses on initial attack with the goal of keeping fires at 10 acres or less. IDL protects and preserves important endowment timber assets that help fund Idaho schools and other beneficiaries, as well as millions of acres of private forestland.

Article Topic Follows: Idaho

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