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Forest officials: " … the potential for wildfires is escalating and conditions are high."

Posted at 4:03 PM, Jun 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-28 18:03:00-04

Boise National Forest officials are reminding visitors and campers that use of all fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices is prohibited on National Forests lands, regardless of weather conditions or holidays.

“The forest is expecting large numbers of visitors to recreation areas over the Fourth of July weekend, and this increased activity could lead to human caused fires.

With the recent Banks Fire and other smaller starts, the potential for wildfires is escalating and conditions are high. Fire officials ask visitors to be especially careful when towing trailers or boats,” said Boise National Forest spokesperson Linda Steinhaus.

"If you plan to tow a boat or RV, please check your safety chains before heading to the forest or any major highway corridor," said Tony DeMasters, a member of the Boise National Forest fire staff. "The chains sometimes hang too low and have the potential to spark a wildfire if they drag on the ground while towing."

When building campfires, look for a place at least 15 feet from trees, shrubs, tents or other flammable objects; be aware of low hanging branches. Don't leave campfires unattended and make sure they are dead out when you leave.

Internal or external combustion engines, like those found on all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles, without a spark-arresting device properly installed and maintained, are strictly prohibited on National Forest lands -- along with the use of explosives and exploding targets. Forest officials say these devises are designed to explode when shot with a rifle. The resulting explosions have been known to cause wildfires.

“Campgrounds are expected to fill up rapidly and reservations are recommended. Reservations can be made at: www.recreation.gov. Motor Vehicle Use maps are available at Ranger District offices, the Boise Interagency Visitor Center or on the Boise National Forest webpage. The maps show designated routes for motorized recreation users,” Steinhaus added.

While the Banks Fire is 100 percent contained, visitor's traveling along Forest Highway 17 (the Banks/Lowman Road) and Idaho State Highway 55 may still see smoke as crews conduct burn out and mop-up operations.

For additional information,you can call the Interagency Visitor Center at 208-373-4007, located at 1387 South Vinnell Way in Boise or contact the Ranger District offices.