KIMBERLY, Idaho — The men and women responsible for sustaining the health of public lands are training and practicing with power saws as a way to prepare for fire season.
Equipped with chainsaws, the Twin Falls District Bureau of Land Management began clearing out and reducing dry vegetation below the Oregon Trail Subdivision in Kimberly Friday.
“The chainsaws are used pretty frequently depending on the fuel type you are in,” said BLM Spokesperson Kelsey Brizendine
The Twin Falls BLM began clearing out this area after landowner Brenda Allen went to them for some help in managing the dry vegetation of thistles and Russian olive trees invading the land she had purchased.
“We did not realize that it was a fire threat until the BLM came and explained that,” said Allen.
Removing the vegetation in the area, which the BLM calls hazardous fuel, will help reduce the risk of a wildfire entering the Oregon Trail subdivision. The BLM is also using it as a way to give firefighters the opportunity to practice using a power saw ahead of a warm and dry summer.
“It does not matter if you are a first-year firefighter or a 20th-year firefighter, you are going to do training,” Brizendine said
The BLM said thinning the trees out and creating open spaces can make a big difference in preventing a wildfire spread, but there are also various other steps homeowners can take to protect themselves.
“Keeping your lawn watered, keeping the weeds away from your house, not putting wood beside your house, making sure your propane tanks are not right against the side of your house, making sure tree branches are not hanging over your roof,” Brizendine said.
One of the BLM’s biggest concerns for fire threats is the upcoming July 4th holiday and the use of fireworks.
“This stuff is dry and it will go right now,” Brizendine said. “Go to those local sponsored fireworks shows and don’t risk setting something on fire.”