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INL Fire Department is preparing for an above normal fire potential season

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INL

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Last July, the Idaho National Laboratory fought the largest fire in the site's history with the help of 15 other agencies. The Sheep Fire burned an estimated 112,106 acres of vegetation but only caused limited damage to INL property.

Now, the INL Fire Department is practicing new tactics.

"One of the big things going into this season was really the rehabilitation of The Sheep Fire we did some aerial seeding of sagebrush, and we're focusing on a lot more things this year," INL Fire Chief Eric Gosswiller said.

Gosswiller says the department is getting ready for what is forecast to be an above normal fire potential season.

"There's a lot more fine fuel than we're used to seeing so we have to worry about that going into the season," he said. "We also have predictions of warmer, drier weather than normal. So you couple that with the fuel conditions and that kind of sets us up for above normal fire potential."

He says they are implementing processes that will make them more efficient, "We stood up a new dozer boss position with specialized equipment and we have some very experienced folks that are going to direct the dozer operations on future fires."

With COVID-19, the department is taking necessary safety precautions, and Chiefs Gosswiller says, the community should be to.

He says fire prevention should be on everyones radar, "A lot of smoke in the air will complicate our at risk community especially if they're struggling with the COVID problem. So, the more we can do to minimize fire occurrence, the better. So, fire prevention has to be on everybody's radar, especially as they get out in camp and are operating with fires."

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Jilliana Colina

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

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