Fire dangers are at a record high with the continuation of very high temperatures and an already dry forest stemming from the below average and early snow pack melting.
“We are currently at an all-time record high for dry conditions in the Boise National Forest as of this date as measured by a model used to track conditions over the past 30 years,” said Bob Shindelar, Boise National Forest Fire Chief. “At the current fire danger level, we are well over the typical threshold for large fires.”
He added the current ratings equal what was in place in 2013 on July 15th when a nearly 3000 acre fire occurred near Idaho City which was a human caused fire.
Boise National Forest managers are urging recreationists to be very careful with campfires or any activity that might cause an ignition. It is illegal to possess or use fireworks on public lands. Law Enforcement Officers will strongly enforce this law, and will have extra patrols throughout the holiday period. Penalties are a $5000 fine and/or up to 6 months in jail. In addition, a person responsible for a fire may be liable for the suppression costs and restitution of the land burned which can involve thousands of dollars.
“When people leave their homes for the mountains, that situational awareness becomes important in a new environment to fully realize potential hazards for their personal and fire safety,” said David Olson, Boise National Forest Public Affairs Officer.
Fire prevention and safe recreation tips include:
- Any campfire should be TOTALLY drowned and NEVER left alone.
- Towing trailers have started fires in the past, so check safety chains that are not dragging, the tire pressure to prevent a blowout and the wheel bearing grease.
- Avoid areas with snag trees and keep a watchful eye if high winds occur.
- Ride motorized vehicles and ATV at a level commensurate with skills and other users. Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM) that show designated routes are available at Ranger District offices, the Boise Interagency Visitor Center or on the Boise National Forest webpage.
Olson added the Trinity Mountain Recreation Area remains closed until July 15th.
For additional information, call the Interagency Visitor Center at 208-373-4007, located at 1387 South Vinnell Way in Boise or contact the Ranger District offices.