Wildfire risk has gone down but hasn't gone away

Posted at 4:44 PM, Oct 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-06 00:03:57-04

With temperatures beginning to cool down and Fall starting just a few weeks ago it’s only natural to assume we're out of fire season. Today, the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho spoke to 6 On Your Side about this past fire season and why fire season has been renamed “fire year”.

Fire season has been re-named “fire year” due to the fact fire weather can start in January and end approximately in December. The National Interagency Fire Center encourages Idahoans to adopt this new term. 

Currently, the National average for acres burned is 6 million. This year, 7.7 million acres were burned. In fact, our fire year was so active Idaho recruited its International partners from Australia and New Zealand to assist our firefighting efforts. 

While the risk for fires has gone down, officials say it hasn’t gone away. How does this affect Idahoans? For anyone recreating across the state keeps in mind that cooler temperatures do not mean lower fire risks, “those that are out hunting and recreating this time of year…still be careful with campfires or your recreation vehicles” because they can still pose a serious risk says the National Interagency Fire Center Public Affairs spokesperson, Christine Schuldheisz.

As of now, California, Southern Idaho, and Nevada are still experiencing above-average fire weather. Meaning firefighters who are dispatched nationwide could still find themselves on the front lines before the year is out.

This year nationally we were at “Preparedness Level 5” for 34 days. In 2017 nationally we were at a combined Preparedness Level 4 & 5 for approximately 70 days.  Preparedness levels range from 1-5, 5 being the most severe.