Fire officials in the state of Idaho are getting ready to say farewell to the 2016 fire season, which brought much fewer fires to the Gem State than last year.
“We were expecting a little bit more of a severe fire season this year, and thankfully we had a normal to almost below normal fire season,” Jessica Gardetto with the National Interagency Fire Center said.
Last year in Idaho, 1,324 wildfires burned 804,094 acres, but this year the state saw just 583 wildfires which burned 370,180 acres – less than half the acreage burned in 2015.
“I think it was beneficial that we were so prepared for a big fire season even though we didn't have one and that’s very important for us to make sure we have enough resources so that if we do end up with an extreme fire season we can handle it to the best of our ability,” Gardetto said.
More good news for fire leaders in the state: wet, cooler weather is expected to move into the region mid-week to welcome the official start of Fall.
“We still have warm enough temperatures that fires still can start, but we are starting to reach that point where the temperatures are going down, we're having shorter days, humidity is coming up at night, and that usually helps us bring fire season to a close,” Gardetto said.
Now, officials are planning more than 7,000 acres of prescribed burns in Southwest Idaho.
“We do plan prescribed burns sometimes years in advance, and it's all very dependent on the weather,” Gardetto explained. “So if we get that perfect weather window where it's warm enough to still have a good prescribed burn, but still cool enough to keep it from moving beyond it's parameters, that's when we'll decide to conduct those prescribed burns.”