Response to field fires prompts Idaho Falls to issue reminder to refrain from open-burning
IDAHO FALLS — The Idaho Falls Fire Department has already fought two field fires this week despite officials request to refrain from burning.
On Wednesday, shortly after 12:30 p.m. someone called 911 reporting their controlled burn in the county getting out of control and burning towards a farmhouse, according to Idaho Falls Fire Department spokeswoman Kerry Hammon.
“The caller said it was moving quickly and approaching a large propane tank,” Hammon said.
Firefighters quickly responded and were able to get the fire under control. Hammon said the department also responded to an out of control burn Sunday.
Last week government officials from several agencies asked the public to refrain from nonessential outdoor burning, and they are reiterating that message again after the two fires this week.
In a joint statement, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, Idaho Department of Lands, and Idaho Department of Health and Welfare asked locals to refrain from all nonessential open burning activities as part of the response to COVID19. They said smoke from open burns potentially creates unneeded public health and safety concerns. Open burns also place strain on the already limited resources of first responders.
“The novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 affects the respiratory system (nose, throat, and lungs) and gastrointestinal system,” according to a Idaho Department of Lands news release. “It can cause asthma attacks and can lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory distress. People with asthma are recommended to avoid asthma triggers such as smoke from burning wood or other plants.”
Open burning includes destroying tree limbs, leaves, yard trimmings, garden waste with fire or burning in barrels and fire pits. While burning is not banned, health officials do ask people to take standard precautionary measures if they must burn.
“Inside City of Idaho falls limits it is always illegal to burn trash, hazardous material, construction debris, yard cleanup, etc,” Hammon said. “It is also illegal for people to use burn barrels.”
Hammon said bonfires and weed control are allowed under non-COVID19 circumstances with a permit. Recreational fires, like fire pits, are typically allowed as well, however, officials ask for people to refrain from the non-essential burns.
For more information about the DEQ’s request visit their website.