'We are going to have a big fire season': Gov. Brad Little declares emergency disaster declaration due to state wildfires

Gov. Brad Little declares emergency disaster declaration due to state wildfires
Posted at 1:33 PM, Jul 13, 2021

IDAHO — Gov. Brad Little announced an emergency disaster declaration has been declared due to wildfires within Idaho.

The emergency order applies to all lands protected by the Idaho Department of Lands, which enables the Idaho National Guard to assist in fire suppression, said Idaho Department of Lands Director Dustin Miller.

"Fighting wildfires across the west requires a well-coordinated effort among federal, state, local and tribal entities," Miller said.

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Little said it "is absolutely the right time" to make the declaration due to wildfires around the region and limited resources.

"We want the people of Idaho to know how important it is for them to do their prevention and to comply with these closures by these land managers," Little said.

Idaho Department of Lands Fire Management Chief Josh Harvey said the department has responded to 202 fires across its 10 districts, 221% of the all-time record. Harvey said a number of fires sparked after a recent round of lightning.

"All of our districts are at very high to extreme fire danger," Harvey said.

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The state is experiencing "unprecedented" fire conditions, and the state has met or exceeded all metrics available related to fire danger and potential for "significant" fire growth and spread for this year, Harvey said.

"Many of these indicators reflect conditions we would normally see in mid-to-late August, not only for Idaho but across the west," he said.

Harvey said there is a shortage of staff and crews to help with wildfires and coordination among agencies is ongoing.

"When the citizens of Idaho are out playing in the woods or out working in the woods, please use extreme caution. Think before you do, know before you act. If you want to protect our firefighters and take care of your neighbors, be extremely careful."

You can watch the full press conference with Gov. Little below:

Gov. Little Wildfire Press Conference