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Hot, dry weather prompts fire restrictions in parts of Idaho

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SOUTH BOISE, Idaho — 90 degree weather paired with dry brush and grass has led to an increase in vegetation fires across Idaho. Some areas of the state are seeing increased fire restrictions and burn bans in an effort to prevent wildfires this summer.

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

"I would see fire restrictions as a serious consideration this year," says Robbie Johnson, with the Idaho Department of Lands.

She says fire restrictions and burn bans are put into place when fire danger is considered extreme.

"We had a wet spring so that allowed these grasses and fine fuels, as we called them in wildfire, to really grow big and strong and in large amounts," says Johnson.

That build-up of fine fuels prompted portions of Idaho to put restrictions in place.

"And so when you see a fire restriction, you won't see that in the whole state they'll just be zones of sorts and portions," added Johnson.

Those zones can either be stage one or stage two of fire restrictions, though local agencies can issue other requirements.

"Stage one fire restrictions are the lower level and that mostly has to do with smoking outside…and also campfires, so there's different ways you can have campfires still but not in all ways," says Johnson.

Stage two comes with elevated concerns, increasing restrictions to include where you can use motorized vehicles while recreating.

Burn permits offer another way to check if it is safe to burn at your location.

"In May through October, we call that closed fire season, and basically if you just want to go out and burn some stuff, like out here you have to have a permit first," says Johnson.

Johnson tells me issuing formal fire restrictions is not something they take lightly.

"Fire restrictions are really something that we don't wanna have to do, but if we're seeing those human-caused fires, it's so dry, it's windy, it's extreme conditions. We have a lot of fires out there that are tasking our resources, that's where it's time to deeply consider them, and they are very much thoughtfully considered," added Johnson.

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect that the current restrictions have been put in place by the Department of Environmental Quality.