IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) – During the current COVID-19 pandemic, many Idahoans have flocked outdoors to enjoy public lands.
With the increase in use and recreation, the Bureau of Land Management is reporting a higher percentage of human-caused wildfires.
So far this year, more than 75% of Idaho BLM fires have been determined to be human-caused.
"For the benefit of everyone's safety and the wonderful public lands we all enjoy, I ask that all Idahoans be a part of the solution in reducing wildfires,” BLM Idaho State Fire Management Officer Dennis Strange said. “While we can't control lightning-caused fires, we can take an active role in reducing the total number of fires in Idaho. Please do you part in preventing wildfires."
Human-caused fires not only damage public lands and communities but increase exposure to wildland firefighters.
With the current COVID-19 mitigations, the BLM said it is more important than ever to do your part and prevent human-caused fires.
Wildfires can be caused in a multitude of ways. Below are some ways to make sure you do your part to prevent wildfires:
- Never leave your campfire unattended, and make sure it is cool to the touch before you leave.
- Check your tire pressure and your trailer chains before hitting the road.
- Avoid using items that have the potential to create a spark, like welders and grinders, when working in areas with dry fuel and during windy conditions.
- Be prepared! Carry water, a fire extinguisher and a shovel in case of an unintentional fire start.
John F. Ruhs, the BLM Idaho State Director, signed the annual Fire Prevention Order that is in place until Oct. 20, 2020. This order restricts the following actions on BLM-administered lands:
- Discharging, using, or possessing fireworks.
- Discharging a firearm using incendiary, tracer or steel component ammunition.
- Shooting at steel or ferrous material in an area with dry vegetation.
- Burning, igniting, or processing exploding targets.
- Burning, igniting, or causing to burn explosive material.
Any person who knowingly and willfully performs any act restricted by the Fire Prevention Order could be subject to a fine and held responsible for fire suppression and/or rehabilitation cost.