Fire agencies: spectators interfering with suppression efforts

Posted at 5:07 PM, Jul 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-14 19:07:33-04

It's hard to ignore the smoke and the flames -- curiosity luring you in to get a better look -- but firefighters are asking onlookers to think twice, and stay away from the scene. 

"Any time you have a wildfire that's close to town in a wild land/urban interface area, you tend to get people who want to see what's going on, so it definitely can become an issue," said Jared Jablonski, Fire Information Officer with the Boise District Bureau of Land Management. 

Help, don't hinder -- that's the message fire agencies are sharing as onlookers flock to active fire scenes. 

Increased traffic and congested roadways prove problematic for crews, making it difficult for engines, water tenders, and other large machinery, to navigate through narrow roads and reach vital access points. 

"It creates a safety concern for not only the public when they're getting too close to the fire line, but also for the firefighters trying to move their equipment around," Jablonski said. 

Earlier this week, fire agencies also warned drone pilots to steer clear of active fires. Those caught piloting unauthorized drone flights could face thousands of dollars in fines.