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Friday, June 29, 2018

Enjoy your public lands safely this Fourth of July

STATEWIDE, Idaho – With warm and dry temperatures predicted for the upcoming holiday, firefighters are asking for your help to prevent human-caused wildfires from spreading in Idaho.
In many places, the lush, thick grass of spring has dried out and has created extreme wildfire conditions, which is a real concern to firefighters.
“With the Fourth of July holiday, we typically suppress numerous wildfires caused by the misuse of fireworks or other careless actions,” said BLM Idaho State Fire Management Officer Michael Morcom. “These fires are preventable if people use caution.” 

On May 10, 2018, acting BLM Idaho State Director Peter J. Ditton issued a Fire Prevention Order making it a misdemeanor to carry, discharge or otherwise use fireworks on BLM-managed lands.  Violations of the order may bring fines and jail time, and violators who start wildfires can also be liable for the costs of damage and suppression. The safest way to enjoy fireworks this holiday is to attend a public display sponsored by your local community.
In addition to fireworks, the use of incendiary/tracer ammunition and exploding targets is prohibited.  In general, please be proactive and take precautionary measures while shooting by clearing all flammable materials and rocks away from the target area, and make sure to have fire safety equipment on hand (shovel, fire extinguisher and/or water). Studies has shown that sparks from steel core/steel jacketed fragments cause vegetation fires as much as lead core/copper jacketed and solid copper jackets fragments.
Before you depart on your adventure, make sure your vehicle and trailers are properly maintained by ensuring the safety chain is not dragging, wheel bearings are well greased, and tires are inflated to the proper level to help prevent a blown tire. Sparks thrown from an improperly maintained vehicle or trailer can cause roadside fires without knowledge of the driver.
Avoid driving your vehicle off the road surface and into tall grasses.  Catalytic converters and exhaust systems heat up to very high temperatures, easily igniting dry grasses and shrubs.  Performing routine maintenance on your vehicle – or having it done by a professional, can help you avoid most of the problems that might start a fire.  Be sure to carry extra water or a fire extinguisher with you when recreating outdoors.  Practice responsible use of OHVs and ATVs.
Finally, everyone enjoys a campfire, but the devastating effects of an escaped campfire when left unattended could last for many years. Please take the proper steps to completely extinguish your campfire before leaving your campsite.

For more information on current area wildfires and fire prevention information visit www.idahofireinfo.com, Idaho Fire Info on Facebook, and follow @BLMIdahoFire on Twitter.