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BLM Idaho, partners’ fuel breaks reduce I-84 wildfires 

Photo of I-84 MM83, MM86, and MM87.
Photo of I-84 MM83, MM86, and MM87.

BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) — The Bureau of Land Management firefighters and their partners recently suppressed a series of wildfires along Interstate 84 between Boise and Glenns Ferry.

This was done without damage to the habitat or injury to people in the area thanks to fuel breaks created by a network of groups, collectively called the Paradigm Project. Their aim is to keep Idahoans safe from wildfire.  

“These fires ranged from 0.1 to 4 acres and had the potential for significant growth and difficult suppression challenges due to dry vegetation and adverse weather conditions,” Acting Fire Management Officer for the BLM Boise District Lance Okeson said. “But because of the strategic placement of crucial fuel breaks, firefighters were able to easily contain the fires, ensuring the public’s safety as well as their own.” 

The Paradigm Project includes a mix of Federal and State agencies, local ranchers, wildlife groups and other organizations in the area. The Project’s goal is to stop the historic and destructive cycle of human and nature-caused fires, especially between Boise and Glenns Ferry. 

“This particular area is the worst in Idaho and perhaps the nation for the number of fire starts,” Boise District Fire Operations Specialist James Brummond said. “The fuel breaks that were created along I-84 played a pivotal role in reducing fire activity. Because of this well-thought-out approach, fire managers were able to allocate suppression resources effectively which resulted in swift containment, minimized burned acreage, reduced firefighter exposure, and ensured the safety of motorists.” 

Since 1980, more than 170,000 acres have burned within the 293,89-acre Paradigm project area. Most were started by human activities, such as a vehicle dragging chains that created sparks in these latest instances. Since roadside fires pose significant risks to firefighters and the public, the BLM, U.S. Forest Service, Idaho Department of Transportation, Idaho Department of Lands, Mountain Home Rangeland Fire Protection Association, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, Pheasants Forever, and private landowners (most of whom are ranchers who live in the area) created a network of self-sustaining and low-maintenance fuel breaks along existing roadways as part of the Paradigm Project. These fuel breaks modified vegetation to reduce fire intensity and provided firefighters with safer and more effective means to suppress wildfires.  

“The successful suppression of multiple fires near I-84 clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of fuel breaks as well as the importance of the motivated collaboration BLM has with our partners,” Okeson said.  

Article Topic Follows: Idaho

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