NewsMagic Valley


Ensuring wildfire safety while off-roading

Posted at 4:59 PM, Jun 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-24 19:22:28-04

MAGIC VALLEY — the The Twin Falls Sheriff's Office and the Bureau of Land Management are urging Idahoans to plan and prepare before heading out camping or off-roading in the heat.

“First off, before they head anywhere, they need to do a check on both the vehicle and if they are hauling a trailer they need to ensure that no chains are dragging," said Becca Flicks, Fire Information Officer for the Bureau of Land Management.

A vehicle check is the most important thing before heading out as officials say a chain dragging or even a tire popping off could cause a spark that leads to a wildfire.

“The second thing is they need to make sure they are not driving on to dry grass or any dry vegetation. Especially if they have been driving for a long time, the undercarriage of their vehicle can be hot and that can cause a spark which can cause a wildfire," Flicks said.

In case someone doesn't take those steps and starts a wildfire, the Twin Falls Sheriff's Office says there's some equipment people can carry to prevent the fire from increasing in size.

“Take a shovel or a fire extinguisher with you so in the event you cause a fire or you see that somebody else has caused a fire you can act quickly and appropriately to get those flames extinguished before it becomes a big issue firefighters have to respond to extinguish those flames," said Ken Mencl, sergeant for the Twin Falls Sheriff's Office.

Having a shovel can allow people to put dirt on the fire and cut off the oxygen supply to that fire to prevent it from increasing. The Sheriff's Office says being prepared with the right equipment is vital to keep the fire from growing.

“If it does get so big we recommend that you get out of the area immediately. Try to go up one from the fire in a direction where you can get to safety and out of harm's way. Looking at the direction that fire is traveling and try to remove yourself from the flow that fire is traveling in," Mencl said.

The Twin Falls Sheriff's Office says it's important to follow these tips this year since the conditions have been so dry leaving us more vulnerable to wildfires.

“We are in more of drought than we were last year and a lot of our streams and river beds in the mountains that should still have water in them don’t. We see a significant reduction in flow in our rivers coming through the magic valley. The Snake River is extremely low," Mencl said.