BOISE, Idaho — Here in Idaho, the risk of catastrophic wildfires s very high and the rest of the western United States is expecting a significant increase in fire activity this month.
Right now, the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) is at the next to the highest level of preparedness at level 4. This is the second earliest the country is hitting PL4 since 1990 and the first time in nine years.
This means much of the country is experiencing wildland fire activity and areas are competing for firefighting resources.
"People just need to be aware of the critically dry conditions we have in our wildlands and just within our communities," said Carrie Bilbao, NIFC Public Affairs Specialist. "And be very cautious on anything they can do that can start a fire because it can go big quick especially if you have winds and with the dry fuels."
Half of the nation's wildfire resources have already been committed. 47 large active fires are currently burning across 10 states. So far, more than 500,000 acres have burned.
"We may experience a lot of fire activity all at once, so people themselves need to prepare their properties, be looking at being more firewise," said Bilbao. "What can they do to create not just defensible space, but also survivable space if the resources aren't there."
All across the Treasure Valley, plenty of tall grasses are starting to dry out so fire officials are preparing for a potentially explosive fire season. Fireworks stands are open for business but Ada County Commissioners have a warning for revelers.
Remember, in many areas of Ada County it is illegal to set off anything from sparklers to firecrackers in the foothills and all aerial fireworks are illegal to set off in Idaho. Anybody who sparks a fire can expect a fine and a bill to fight it and to restore any damage the flames cause.
About 80% of wildfires in Idaho are human-caused.