Idaho Faces Potential for Worst Fire Season in Years

Boise, ID (STL.News) Governor Brad Little joined state and federal fire managers during a press conference today at the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise to urge Idahoans to be safe and smart in the outdoors to minimize the risk of wildfire during what could be the worst fire season Idaho has faced in years.

“Idaho has been fortunate in recent years to avoid the devastating kind of fire seasons other states have faced, but this year could be different,” Governor Little said.  “On top of extreme drought in many parts of Idaho, we are in the middle of a prolonged, regional excessive heat wave.  Fires burning in other states are putting strain on the availability of firefighting resources across the West.  Just last week, I signed an emergency declaration and mobilized Idaho National Guard firefighters and aircraft to assist the Idaho Department of Lands in the northern part of the state.”

“We are seeing unprecedented wildfire conditions in Idaho right now with no relief from extremely hot, dry conditions in the forecast,” Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) Director Dustin Miller said.  “The biggest issue we face right now is extremely limited resources to manage these fires, including a lack of aircraft and crews on the ground.  We typically tap into our shared resources during these times, but they have very limited availability due to fires in our neighboring states.  The public can help by avoiding any outdoor activity that could spark a human-caused fire.”

Portions of Idaho are under Stage I and Stage II fire restrictions, and fire managers expect to announce in the coming days that additional areas of Idaho will enter restrictions.  Governor Little said we all need to do our part to follow what fire managers are asking of us.

“Idaho entered the fire season prepared as we always are – with additional investments in the Idaho Department of Lands fire program – but Idaho will only get through this fire season if we all do our part not to unintentionally start fires,” Governor Little added.

The IDL just unveiled a new interactive tool this week to help the public better track and understand fire restrictions.  It is available at https://www.idl.idaho.gov/fire-management/fire-restrictions-finder/.

NIFC, located in Boise, is the nation’s support center for wildland firefighting. Eight different agencies and organizations are part of NIFC including, the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, National Weather Service, U.S. Fire Administration, and the National Association of State Foresters.