Protect the Lands We Love From Fire by Recreating ResponsiblyFriday September 2, 2022
By Dustin Miller, Director Idaho Department of Lands
Boise, ID – For many, the Labor Day holiday weekend is the last opportunity of the summer to enjoy camping, fishing and recreating in the great outdoors.
While conditions remain extremely dry, Idaho has so far been spared from the kind of devastating wildfires that have wreaked havoc on other western states this summer, with a few exceptions, like the Moose and Four Corners fires. The Moose Fire has been determined to be human caused and is under investigation.
Part of the reason Idaho has been spared is the excellent response and effectiveness by Idaho Department of Lands firefighters, keeping more than 92% of wildfires on land it protects to 10 acres or less.
For the first time in many years, most of Idaho is free from fire restrictions. Because fire restrictions have not been widely implemented, unless restricted by local laws or landowners, we can sit around campfires enjoying time with family and friends, creating memories and instilling a love of Idaho in younger generations. This is a blessing.
But our job as recreating Idahoans isn’t finished yet. We must remain vigilant and remember that with the privilege of lighting a campfire comes the responsibility of putting it out, dead out.
Campfire safety and wildfire prevention are critical this weekend. The wet spring delayed the onslaught of fire season, but it also left an abundance of fine fuels that have become tinder dry. Expected record high temperatures coupled with the return of many wildland firefighters to college could set the stage for disaster if we aren’t careful. As a reminder, if someone is found negligent in starting a fire, they can be held liable for the entire cost of fighting that fire.
Never leave a campfire unattended - that includes when going to bed at night, or even when you expect to be gone from the campsite for just a short time. Dowse, stir, and repeat until your campfire is cold to the touch, every time, no exceptions.
If pulling a trailer, ensure your safety chains don’t drag and spark wildfires along roadways. When parking or making a roadside stop, remember a muffler is hot enough to ignite dry grasses, so please watch where you park.
Let’s make the most of this long weekend by recreating responsibly, ensuring we protect the lands and the Idaho that we all hold dear. You can learn about campfire safety and fire restrictions from the Idaho Department of Lands website at www.idl.idaho.gov. Know before you go!