IDAHO — Ahead of labor day, the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) and the Idaho Department of Lands are asking people to stay safe and take steps to prevent sparking a wildfire.
“Labor Day Weekend is hugely popular for outdoor recreation but it’s also incredibly dry out there still,” NIFC spokesperson Jessica Gardetto said.
Because of this, there are still fire restrictions in parts of Idaho. Southwest Idaho and parts of north-central Idaho are in stage one fire restrictions.
“We want to make sure that the public is building campfires in an established ring,” Director of the Idaho Department of Lands Dustin Miller said.
He said the rest of it is common sense.
“Make sure that you’re recreating responsibly and engaging in activities that are not going to cause a spark and thus create a wildfire situation for us to have to address,” Miller said.
As fire season gets longer, the Bureau of Land Management is transforming its workforce from mostly seasonal to mostly year-round employees. They said there’s a year-round need to manage and reduce fuels. To start they’ll be adding more than 70 firefighters and support personnel and converting more than 400 current positions from seasonal to year-round, but they said this transformation will happen over the next few years.
It’s not just about managing wildfires.
Last month the Biden administration raised federal wildland firefighter's pay to at least $15 an hour.
NIFC said the move to transform its workforce will have a similar outcome for firefighters.
“This is also about providing sustainable careers for wildland firefighters. A lot of people don’t want to work seasonal positions and thankfully there’s a need for year-round firefighting work right now,” Gardetto said.