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Monday, July 13, 2015

Wildfire Danger is Expected to Continue for North Idaho

Tuesday’s Stage II Fire Restrictions are planned to address long-term danger with regard to fire risk, long-term weather expectations, fire danger and fire behavior.  “This decision to go to Stage II was not made lightly, nor will it be rescinded without careful consideration,” stated Bob Lippincott, Forest Fire Management Officer for the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests.

The purpose of fire restrictions is to reduce the risk of human-caused fires during unusually high fire danger and/or burning conditions.  Fire Managers and Agency Administrators across Northern Idaho worked together to initiate and implement the Stage II Restrictions.  When this group agrees that the restrictions for our area can be removed, the entire area will rescind restrictions as a whole.

 This fire season is different from recent fire seasons because fire dangers are at a record high.  The extreme heat and dryness has not been experienced in 20 years.  According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, precipitation for the months of April through June across the northern half of Idaho was between 25 and 50 percent of normal.

The threat of wildfire danger is expected to continue throughout the rest of the summer and into the fall.  The Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for July and August lists all of North Idaho in ‘Above Normal’ potential indicating a higher than usual likelihood that wildland fires will occur and/or become significant events. To view the Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook map, please visit http://www.nifc.gov/nicc/predictive/outlooks/monthly_seasonal_outlook.pdf

Between Friday, July 10 and Saturday, July 11, the forest recorded 2,527 lightning occurrences, at least 84 of which reached the ground.  Amounts of recorded rainfall with these storms varied tremendously across the reporting area, from trace amounts to almost 2 inches over the last 48 hours. 

This moisture has not significantly reduced the long-term danger with regard to fire risk, long-term weather expectations, and fire danger/behavior.  Despite the rainfall, lightning associated with recent storm events resulted in several reported fires on the Forest with additional fires reported across the Grangeville Interagency Dispatch Zone.  As fuels dry out it is likely that fires could continue to be discovered.


For additional information, please call your local Land Management Agency.