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Fire officials asking you to prevent wildfire as extreme heat conditions persist in eastern Idaho

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DRIGGS – In an urgent pre-holiday press conference hosted on Thursday, July 1, multiple federal and state agencies reported extreme fire conditions across the West with the state of Idaho seeing an uptick in drought conditions now hovering at 80% — 10 times above average last year at this time making this month feel like a tinderbox waiting for a match.

So far this year, the Eastern Idaho Interagency Fire personnel have responded to 32 fires, compared to just nine in 2020. All but one of these fires were human-caused.

“We are currently facing the most challenging wildfire conditions we’ve seen in Idaho in a long time,” said Dennis Strange, State Fire Management Officer for the Bureau of Land Management. “We really need the public to take all steps possible to prevent human-caused wildfires because with these conditions wildfires may spread very quickly and could be very difficult to control.”

The National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook predicts that the potential for significant wildland fires will be above normal in the entire state of Idaho in July and August, and forecasts it to remain above normal in southern and central Idaho through September. This is due primarily to expected continuing widespread drought and above-average temperatures.

Meteorologist Nick Nosler with the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise said at the press conference that 90% of the West is in a drought with 56% of that western area remaining in the two highest drought categories: extreme and exceptional drought.

The National Weather Service has indicated that hot and dry conditions will persist as the dominant trend in the coming weeks for eastern Idaho. These above-average conditions have stressed vegetation in the local area, accelerating seasonal drying. They have combined to increase the potential for fire activity across the Eastern Interagency Fire area.

The fire danger rating has been elevated to very high for the lowlands (desert area) and high for the highlands (higher elevations) in eastern Idaho. With record high temperatures across the area, conditions in the Eastern Idaho Interagency area are drying rapidly, and a fire may start easily, spread quickly and burn intensely.

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Did you know…

  • The BLM, USDA Forest Service, and Idaho Department of Lands remind members of the public that fireworks are prohibited on all lands managed by these agencies throughout the state of Idaho at all times. Individuals who ignite fireworks on lands managed by the BLM, USDA Forest Service, and Idaho Department of Lands could face fines and jail time as well as be responsible for paying the costs of suppressing wildfires the fireworks cause.
  • The BLM, USDA Forest Service, and Idaho Department of Lands urge members of the public who will be camping to ensure that they take the proper items with them, including a shovel and bucket, to ensure that they can put their wildfires “dead out” before leaving their campsites. Information about how to pick a campfire spot, prepare a campfire pit, build a campfire, and maintain and extinguish a campfire is available online.
  • In addition, the BLM, USDA Forest Service, and Idaho Department of Lands urge members of the public to take steps to use and maintain vehicles and outdoor equipment in ways that prevent sparking a wildfire. Information about vehicle safety and lawn care is available here.
  • Over the last 10 years, wildfires have burned a total of approximately 675 homes and other structures in Idaho. Information about how to make homes fire-resistant, how to create fire-resistant landscapes, and how to evacuate if needed during a wildfire is available on the Idaho Firewise website.
  • Information about current wildfire activity in Idaho is available here or InciWeb and on BLM, U.S. Forest Service, and Idaho Department of Lands websites and social media platforms.
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