Burley, ID --The Idaho Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Sawtooth National Forest have activated a National Fire Prevention Team to work in the south central Idaho area. These teams respond to areas throughout the United States that have an extreme potential for rapid fire growth and a pattern of human-caused fires.
“All of the drought trends that we measure show us to be at least three weeks ahead of a typical summer,” said BLM Twin Falls District Fire Management Officer Chris Simonson. “While we have not had much lightning, we have seen an alarming number of human-caused fires, a large majority of which were preventable. We need to get the public’s attention and share fire prevention information. We can’t do anything about the lightning, but these human-caused fires are easily preventable with citizen cooperation.”
The team will be in place until the end of July. Through focused public information campaigns the team will target the most frequent causes of wildfire, including vehicles, illegal or poorly managed campfires, and shooting.
The Sawtooth National Recreation Area (NRA) will receive special attention from the team, through increased visitor contact and education. “About half of the trees in the NRA have been killed by the beetle infestation,” said Sawtooth National Forest Fire Management Officer Nathan Lancaster. “The forest is at risk and any fire starts will be extremely dangerous and difficult to control. We want to give the public the information they need to be responsible forest users. We can eliminate much of the risk to public and firefighter safety, natural resources and public funds by engaging forest users in this discussion.”
The BLM and the Forest Service will put Level 1 fire restrictions in place on July 17 for portions of south central Idaho. For more information on how these restrictions affect forest users, please call the Sawtooth National Forest at 208-737-3200 or visit the Idaho Fire Information website at http://delivr.com/28wcm.