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Creating public awareness of the activities that commonly cause wildfires and providing resources for preventing them are the key components to successful fire prevention efforts. Use this page to learn about activities that present a wildfire risk and get the information you need to enjoy the outdoors responsibly. Click on the different tabs under each category to access a variety of resources. The information on this page is a collection of information from prevention partners. Links to those various agencies are provided.

Debris Burning


Many escaped fires are illegally started due to people violating burn restrictions enforced during high fire danger months.

Anyone starting a fire may be responsible for that fire until it is out. If your fire gets away, you can be held responsible and liable for any property damages and for fire suppression costs. In order to avoid costly fines and citations, make sure you know where and when burning is allowed.


Burn permits are required under Idaho law for any burning outside city limits statewide (excluding campfires) from May 10 to October 20. Fire safety burn permits are free and can be applied or renewed online.

Use our The Idaho Department of Lands Burn Permits website.

Remember, some cities and other jurisdictions – including local or county fire departments, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ), Tribal Reservations, and others – may have additional or alternate permit systems in place. If that’s true for your burn site and type of burning, then you will be provided instructions on how to apply for a permit from those entities.

Before You Burn

Before You Get Started

Obtain a burn permit and comply with the conditions of that permit. Voluntary premits are also available outside of closed fire season.

Be aware that you may be required to get a burn permit from your local fire station and local air district. After obtaining any necessary permits, ensure that burning is not currently restricted in your area.

Make sure you are compliant with local air quality regulations.

Burning may be conducted only on days designated by IDEQ as burn days. An acceptable burn day occurs when air quality is good and is expected to continue to be good, as indicated by pollutant levels.

Burning Safety

How to Safely Burn Landscape Debris

Landscape debris piles must be in small 4 feet by 4 feet piles.
Maximum pile size is 4 feet in diameter.
Clear all flammable material and vegetation within 10 feet of the outer edge of pile.

Keep a water supply and shovel close to the burning site.
A responsible adult is required by law to be in attendance until the fire is out.

No burning shall be undertaken unless weather conditions (particularly wind) are such that burning can be considered safe.

It is important for residents to stay mindful of current weather conditions when burning. If it’s windy and the surrounding vegetation is very dry, it may be best to wait and burn landscape debris another day.

Thank you Ready for Wildfire for this information.

Printable Brochure
Burn Permits DIY Video



Motorists are responsible for many of the wildfires sparked along roadways. Remember, dragging chains can throw sparks.

Driving on exposed wheel rims will throw sparks. Driving onto dry grass or brush can start fires.

Worn brakes may cause metal to metal contact and can spark.


It’s important for the safety of your home and nearby wildlands to learn how to use and maintain outdoor equipment and vehicles in ways that prevent sparking a wildfire. Remember to always keep a cell phone nearby and call 911 immediately in case of fire.

Be sure chains and other metal parts aren’t dragging from your vehicle-they throw sparks.

Check your tire pressure. Driving on an exposed wheel rim can cause sparks.

Be careful driving through or parking on dry grass or brush. Hot exhaust pipes can start the grass on fire. You may not even notice the fire until it’s too late.

Never let your brake pads wear too thin; metal on metal makes sparks.

Thank you Smokey Bear for these Guidelines.


How to Build

Select a level, open location away from heavy fuels such as logs, brush or decaying leaves and needles. Clear an area at least 10 feet in diameter. Scrape away grass, leaves or needles down to the mineral soil.

Scoop a depression in the center of the cleared area and put a ring of rocks around it. Cut wood in short lengths, pile within cleared area and light the fire.

Safety and Extinguishing Guidelines

The fire should be built no larger than necessary. Your fire must never be left unattended and the fire must be extinguished completely before leaving.

While the Fire is Burning/Open Fire Safety

Always keep a shovel and bucket of water nearby at all times. While the fire is burning, be sure there is a responsible person in attendance of the fire at all times. Never leave children around a fire unattended.

How to Completely Extinguish an Open Campfire

Use the “drown, stir and feel” method: drown the fire with water, then stir around the fire area with your shovel to wet any remaining embers and ash. Be sure to turn wood and coals over and wet all sides. Move some dirt onto the fire site and mix thoroughly to fully smother it. And finally, feel the area with the back of your hand to ensure nothing is still smoldering.

Thank you Ready for Wildfire for this information.

Campfire Infographic
Campfire Safety Video



Whether working to create defensible space around your home, mowing the lawn, or pulling your dirt bike over to the side of the road, if you live in a wildland area you need to use equipment responsibly.

Lawn mowers, weed-eaters, chain saws, grinders, welders, tractors, and trimmers can all spark a wildland fire.


Lawn Care

Sparks from lawnmowers and power equipment DO start wildfires. Be careful on hot, dry days, and be sure to get your equipment checked regularly.

Mow before 10 a.m., but never when it’s windy or excessively dry. Remember that lawn mowers are designed to mow lawns, not weeds or dry grass. Metal lawnmower blades striking rocks can create sparks and start fires.

In wildland areas, spark arresters are required on all portable, gasoline-powered equipment. A spark arrester is a mechanical device that traps or destroys hot exhaust particles that have been released from an internal combustion engine. They’re commonly required on tractors, harvesters, chainsaws, weed eaters and lawnmowers.

There are two types of spark arresters: multiposition small engine (MSE) and general purpose (GP). MSEs are for handheld equipment such as chainsaws and leaf blowers. GPs are for engines that remain in a single position, such as tractors and motorcycles. While spark arresters are not 100 percent effective, they greatly reduce the risk of starting a wildfire.

Keep the exhaust system, spark arresters and engine in proper working order and free of carbon buildup. Use the recommended grade of fuel and don’t fill to the point of overflowing.

When doing any yardwork or work outdoors with mechanical equipment, keep a shovel and a fire extinguisher handy.

In wildland areas, grinding and welding operations require a permit and 10 feet of clearance.

Thank you Smokey Bear for these Guidelines.

Video: Spark Arresters

Weather Conditions


Pay close attention to weather and drought conditions, which can affect the flammability of vegetation.

Avoid any activities that involve fire or sparks when it’s hot, dry and windy. If the conditions aren’t right, choose non-flammable options.

Remember, conditions and local restrictions should guide your decision for any fire-related activity such as building a campfire, operating equipment, off-roading on dry grass, or burning debris.


The National Weather Service provides detailed location maps that provide watches, warnings and advisories.

For those looking for more detailed fire weather resources, the National Weather Services has many fire weather products for the public.

Meet a National Weather Service fire weather forecaster and learn about one way fire weather is predicted.

Fire weather impacts active wildfires and is also a guide for your decisions about burning or other activities.

Wildfire and Wind Infographic
Wildfire and wind information

Hazardous Fuels

Lawn mower on lawn and long green grass

When vegetation, or fuels, accumulate, they allow fires to burn hotter, faster, and with higher flame lengths.

When fire encounters areas of continuous brush or small trees, it can burn these “ladder fuels” and may quickly move from a ground fire into the treetops, creating a crown fire.

The objective is to remove enough vegetation (fuel) so that when a wildfire burns, it is less severe and can be more easily managed.


Fuel reduction projects and vegetation treatments have been proven as a means of lessening wildfire hazards, catastrophic fire and its threat to public and firefighter safety, and damage to property.

The objective is to remove enough vegetation (fuel) so that when a wildfire burns, it is less severe and can be more easily managed.

Forestry and Fire Grants is a one-stop-shop for all grants administered by the Idaho Department of Lands. Here you will find the latest news about which grants are open and accepting proposals/applications, educational resources, recorded webinars, current events, and more.

Idaho is addressing more than 6 million acres of Idaho forestlands that are designated as high-risk for potential catastrophic wildfire and insect and disease outbreaks. Visit the No Boundaries Forestry website to learn about assistance for private landowners.

Video: Landowner Changes Property

“We need the help of the public to prevent unwanted human-caused fire. One way we can assist the public is to provide resources to help understand the risks and guidelines for enjoying outdoor activies safely.”

Idaho department of lands director dustin miller
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