Forest fire managers successfully launched their prescribed fire burn in Boise National Forest early Tuesday morning. After fighting wildfire all year here in Idaho and surrounding areas, you may wonder why wildland firefighters would intentionally set yet another fire in the forest. According to a Boise Hotshots squad leader, “if we probably had a little bit more time doing prescribed burns around the area during the summer we wouldn’t have so much smoke and stuff like that that lays into the valley”, Allison Lund.
While this burn was the first of the fall season, officials have spent months meticulously planning every detail of this fire and preparing for endless opportunities. When it comes to an event such as this safety is always first and no loopholes or shortcuts are allowed.
Today wildland firefighters chose part of the Cottonwood Drainage to burn because, “last time we had a fire in here was 2007 it was a prescribed burn” because it’s been 11 years since the last prescribed burn the area was “overdue for a fire”, “in this area typically we want to see fire in the Ponderosa pines about on average 10-13 years for our fire history in the area” says Ryan Jones, fuels program manager for Boise National Forest.
While maintaining and restoring the health of the forest is a major benefit of a prescribed burn, it also benefits wildlife in the area, “by coming through and doing this fire we’re burning away the old decadent brush which allows regeneration and new brush sprouts which has a lot more protein and a lot more beneficial for deer and elk”, says district wildlife biologist, Scott Bodle.
If the purpose of a prescribed burn still has you stumped, “if people would look at the bigger picture, in the long run, the more we do prescription burns in the spring and fall time the less we’re gonna have fires in our community in the summertime”, says squad leader from Boise Hotshots, Allison Lund.
Boise National Forest does urge hunters and visitors to be aware of any temporary closures in the Cottonwood Drainage. Closures begin today and will end October 25th. You can also visit their website.