Summer moisture made for a positive 2023 fire season

Posted at 4:03 PM, Sep 23, 2023

BOISE, Idaho — With September ending next week - it takes with it Idaho's wildfire season.

Dennis Strange, State Fire Management Officer for the Bureau of Land Management says “As conditions are changing, we find that we're having fires almost year round even in Idaho here.”

The fire season typically runs from the first of July through September. Since the area saw a wet spring and lush green foothills over Boise early on, there was talk that this summer could have been an active one for wildfires.

“We normally start to see fire season pick up around June to July and we had a pretty wet spring which is kind of one of the biggest factors whether or not we have an active fire season and we did have a pretty wet spring,” says Idaho News 6 forecaster Erik Johnson.

High temperatures and dry air increase the fire danger.

However, Idaho News 6 forecaster Erik Johnson explains that we had a below-average wildfire season due to above-average rainfall and snowfall in the mountains.

He says, “This is the water year of precipitation this goes from August first to September 30th so we're almost done with our water year here in a couple of days.”

In fact, we had a record-setting year for moisture in Idaho, which helped reduce fires.

The Bureau of Land Management says there were only about 150 fires in the state this summer which is a little less than the ten-year average of 181 fires.

“What was a big decrease is if you look at the amount of acres burned when a fire starts how much does it grow we burned about 26 thousand acres this year our ten year average is 166 thousand acres so big difference in that,” says Strange.

While we didn't have the weather that usually starts a lot of our fires, human interaction did play a big role in some of the fires we did have.

Strange continues, “There's easy things you know being very cognizant of where you're at. Whether you're doing fireworks whether you're driving out on wildland dirt roads whether you're enjoying your recreation areas responsibly. We want to make sure that fire is a part of the equation and part of what people are thinking about of how they can help with the situation out there.”

Of course, fires can happen in the winter. The BLM suggests you build defensible space around your house and be aware of where you're stacking firewood for the winter.