FEMA briefing: Experts and agencies discuss wildfire readiness

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell speaks at press briefing
Posted at 1:56 PM, Jun 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-09 16:09:04-04

BOISE — Wildfire risk remains on the horizon and local agencies are preparing.

That was the consensus Tuesday night at a FEMA Wildfire Readiness Briefing at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.

"Fortunately, as we are here today there is no wildfires that are burning here in Idaho. However, that does not mean that we are without risk," Deanne Criswell, FEMA Administrator, said at the press conference.

Related: Boise Fire Department trains for wildland fire risk

Currently there are 16 active large fires burning in the U.S. — 10 are burning in Alaska, four in New Mexico, one in Colorado and one in Arizona. Only one of these fires is contained in New Mexico.

As of Wednesday, over two million acres have burned in the county, the second highest acreage burned in the past 10 years for this year-to-date.

Related: Areas of U.S. see fire season start early

"We know that wildfire is not seasonal any longer. They are a year round threat due to the increasing risks we are experiencing from climate change and we can not shy away from the work we need to do mitigate the future risk that we may be expecting," Criswell said.

In the southwestern valleys of Idaho, days that are hot, dry and windy — also known as fire weather days — have increased by about three weeks over the past five decades.

Related: Close to home: living a fire-safe lifestyle in Idaho's Wildland Urban Interface

Fire season has grown in SW Idaho over past five decades
Fire season has grown in SW Idaho over past five decades, according to data compiled by Climate Central

In this region, over 80% of wildfires are caused by human bevaior according to Bureau of Land Management Fire Mitigation Specialist Jared Jablonski.