NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodSouth Boise


Large wildfires are burning across the West, NIFC helps coordinate firefighting resources

Posted at 9:26 PM, Jun 19, 2024

SOUTH BOISE, Idaho — With multiple large wildfires burning across the West, the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise is helping to coordinate firefighting resources. Fire season in Southern Idaho will ramp up as summer temperatures rise and grasses and brush begin to dry out.

  • NIFC is the central hub for coordinating national firefighting resources like air tankers and hotshot crews to fire incidents across the country.
  • States like Arizona, New Mexico, California, and Alaska are seeing significant fire activity.
  • Lighter fuels like dry grasses and brush can easily catch fire due to things like lightning storms and accidental human ignition, especially during the hot and dry summer season.

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

"We've got about 20 significant large fires nationally,” says Sean Peterson, the Center Manager at the National Interagency Coordination Center in Boise. "The most significant fires right now are the two fires burning outside of Ruidoso, New Mexico,”

He and his team help coordinate resources to help fight large fires in the west, like those burning right now in New Mexico.

"Here at the National Coordination Center, we're coordinating the movement of national resources. So air tankers, hotshot crews, and those types of resources and getting them to the geographic areas where we're seeing significant fire activity,” says Peterson.

Places like Arizona, New Mexico, California, and Alaska are seeing significant fire activity.

Sean tells me that the past two fire seasons have been relatively tame, which leads to large fuel loading of grass and brush, which could mean a more active fire season for us.

"In Idaho this year, we're expecting an average to a slightly above average fire season, and that's due to the significant grass and brush fuels that are built up here in the Great Basin," says Peterson.

That build-up of grass and brush can cause problems as summer temperatures start to rise.

"We anticipate that once we start to dry things out a little bit and start to get some lighting in the area, we'll see an uptick primarily in the lighter fuels for significant fire activity here in Southern Idaho,” added Peterson.

As for Boise resident Don Taylor, he's hoping for some more moisture to help combat the summer heat.

"We'll see how the year turns out, but that we had a little bit of moisture earlier in the year, of course, it's looking like it's starting to dry out now, getting pretty toasty. Hopefully, we'll get a little more water along the way,” says Taylor.

For people like Braden Marvin who is visiting Idaho, he tells me that wildfires can impact his ability to enjoy the outdoors.

"I am a very big outdoors person and so I just believe people should be careful about fire safety and stuff like that it's you know something that people need to be educated on a bit more I think, not everybody's super knowledgeable on what can even start a fire out there,” says Marvin