Fire managers encourage people to use caution when outdoors

Posted at 5:09 PM, Aug 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-25 19:09:38-04

Two-thirds of fires fought by the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) this year have been caused by people, not lightning.

Since fire season is still in full swing and windy weather presents challenges for firefighters battling wildfires across the state, IDL fire managers caution the public to be extremely careful when working or playing outdoors.

Fire managers urge people who recreate outdoors to carry proper equipment to extinguish any accidental fires or to call 9-1-1 immediately.

The main human causes of wildfires in IDL districts statewide so far this year include escaped campfires (even in areas under fire restrictions where campfires are restricted); field burns and debris burns; farming and logging equipment failures; and car fires along roadways.

Ten IDL fire districts and two timber protective associations provide wildfire protection on 6.3 million acres of mostly state and privately-owned timberlands, mainly in north central and northern Idaho.

As of Thursday, IDL firefighters have battled 130 fires that have burned 631 acres so far. Eighty-seven of the 130 fires have been human-caused. Human-caused fires on IDL districts usually make up about half of the total fires on IDL districts in a year, but with fewer lightning-caused fires this year the portion of human-caused fires among total fire occurrences is greater.

The National Interagency Fire Center estimates approximately 245,500 acres have burned across Idaho so far this year.