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Friday, August 4, 2017

BLM and ITD partner to prevent wildfires along highways


For Immediate Release: August 4, 2017

Contact: BLM-Kelsey Griffee, kgriffee@blm.gov, 208-521-8709
                ITD- Bruce King, Bruce.King@itd.idaho.gov, (208) 745-7781


BLM and ITD partner to prevent wildfires along highways
Twitter: @BLMIdahoFire & @IdahoITD(#IdahoEcilise2017 & BLMIFDFire)

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – As eastern Idaho counts down the days to the eclipse, the Bureau of Land Management and Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) are collaborating to prevent wildfires along the highways. With the potential influx of thousands of additional vehicles on the roads and August being prime wildfire season, the two agencies have initiated preventative measures. To reduce vehicle-caused wildfires, ITD has increased mowing frequency, height and depth on overgrown, highly flammable vegetation along Highway 33, 48 and 28.   

“There are three reasons why firefighters requested increased mowing from ITD,” said Kevin Conran, fire mitigation and education manager with the BLM Idaho Falls District. “The mowed areas can be used as a firebreak to slow down a wildfire, as an emergency lane for first responders or a pull-off area for stranded vehicles, and finally, can reduce the chance of ignitions by decreasing the height of combustible grasses.”

Eclipse watchers can become partners in wildfire prevention by: 

ü  Planning ahead and arriving at your destination at least a day before the eclipse. Otherwise, you may be caught in traffic during the shadow of the moon.

ü  Ensuring all parts of your vehicle are secure and not dragging. A loose safety chain or muffler striking a rock or pavement will send a shower of sparks into dry vegetation.

ü  Driving on established roads and avoiding driving or parking on dry grass.

ü  Following the 2017 Fire Prevention Order, which makes it illegal to burn explosive materials or use fireworks, exploding targets or tracer ammunition on BLM-managed lands in Idaho.

ü  Complying with BLM Stage 1 Fire Restrictions, which restrict campfires except in designated sites with metal campfire rings and pedestal grills installed by the BLM.

The BLM reminds you to have a fire extinguisher with you and know how to use it. Grasses burn at an accelerated rate and can be dangerous to firefighters and the public when ignited. If you do accidentally ignite the grass, call 911!

For breaking fire information, follow @BLMIdahoFire on Twitter and search for #BLMIFDFire for posts specifically related to eastern Idaho. For additional wildfire updates, Firewise information, and fire prevention tips visit www.IdahoFireInfo.com.  One less spark means one less Idaho wildfire.
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Photos provided by ITD