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Monday, May 8, 2017

Fire season to start later due to winter snow pack and spring rains

Statewide, ID – Moisture from Idaho’s historically wet winter and the current spring rains will lessen the fire risk during the early summer months. Once vegetation and grasses dry out, however, fires may be larger than normal. 

The Wildland Fire Outlook, produced at the National Interagency Fire Center, projects that low to mid-elevation fuels should completely cure from south to north later in May through June. In May, as fuels begin to dry, there could be brief periods of increased fire potential with warm and windy conditions after a dry period. The outlook also reports elevated fire potential in July and August across the lower elevations of much of western and northern Nevada, and possibly into southwest Idaho.

The 2017 Fire Prevention Order, recently signed by the BLM Idaho State Director Tim Murphy, prohibits specific fire-related activities on public lands from May 10 to October 20. The order makes it illegal to burn explosive materials or use fireworks, exploding targets or tracer ammunition on BLM-managed lands in Idaho.

 “The goal of the annual fire prevention order is to reduce the number of wildfires," said Eric Franstead, Idaho BLM Deputy State Fire Management Officer.  "The BLM appreciates your efforts to protect our public lands, one of our nation’s greatest treasures.”

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. Historically, less than half of wildfires in Idaho are caused by humans. However, in 2016, almost 88 percent of fires on BLM-managed lands in Idaho were human-caused. Those 236 fires burned over 13,000 acres.

May has been designated Wildfire Awareness Month by eight Western governors including Idaho Governor Butch Otter. This campaign urges residents to better protect their homes and communities from wildfires. Simple steps like pruning trees, cleaning gutters and screening vents can protect a home against the threat of wildfire.

The BLM Idaho 2017 Fire Prevention Order, as well as the most recent information concerning wildfires, fire restrictions and fire prevention and education, can be found on the interagency Idaho Fire Info webpage, www.idahofireinfo.com. 

For tips on wildland fire prevention and community preparedness, visit www.idahofirewise.org or http://fireadapted.org/.