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Be Smart About Fire Safety During 4th of July Weekend

BOISE – After a cool, wet spring, Summer 2022 is now in full swing with hot, dry weather and recreationists heading outdoors in potentially record numbers. Campers and outdoor recreationists should use extra care in Southern Idaho during the 4th of July holiday weekend. In a typical year, 80% of wildfires are caused by humans. Please do your part to prevent wildfires.

Each year, fire officials see a spike in human-caused wildfires, particularly around the Fourth of July  weekend, most often from unattended campfires, fireworks, dragging tow chains, driving on dry grass, and improper disposal of hot ashes and BBQ coals.

A wet spring in Idaho caused range grasses and plants to grow tall, creating a large amount of fine fuels. Now these range plants, including cheatgrass, are drying out, and they’re more likely to catch fire and spread quickly. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has already responded to a grass fire this week. The Sugarloaf Fire north of Twin Falls was estimated at 5,000 acres on Wednesday.

“Please remember that fireworks – and the possession of fireworks – are prohibited on federal public lands, regardless of weather conditions or holidays,” said Steve Stuebner, RRI campaign coordinator and outdoor expert. “Exploding targets and other pyrotechnic devices, such as Tannerite, are also prohibited on federal public lands in Idaho administered by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.”

Know before you go – Check the BLM Idaho Fire Information website at https://www.idahofireinfo.com/ and the Idaho Department of Lands Fire Information and Resources website at https://www.idl.idaho.gov/fire-management/ to see if there are any fire restrictions or closures before venturing out. 

Drown your campfire – Make sure your fire is “dead out” and cold to the touch before leaving your campsite or going to bed.  Keep your campfire small and use a designated campfire ring when available and permissible.

Leave fireworks at home – Fireworks are prohibited on federal public lands. During closed fire season (May 10 to October 20), it is illegal to throw away any lighted material, including fire crackers or fireworks on any forest or rangeland in the State of Idaho (Idaho Code 38-117). Starting a wildfire by the use of fireworks is considered negligence, and the person who started the fire will be billed for the cost of fighting the fire (Idaho Code 38-107).

Don’t be the spark – Do not drive or park on dry grass.  Hot exhaust pipes or sparks can start a fire. This applies to off-highway vehicles and personal vehicles.

Check your chains – When pulling a trailer, be sure safety chains and other metal parts aren’t hanging from your vehicle as these can drag and cause sparks.

More on RRI: The 2022 summer season is expected to put additional strain on Idaho’s outdoor recreation resources. To address the ongoing demand, state and federal agencies are operating the Recreate Responsibly Idaho campaign for the third year. RRI is a source of information for recreationists to help preserve and protect Idaho’s unique outdoor recreation opportunities for today and tomorrow.

The RRI outreach team includes the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, Idaho Department of Lands, Idaho Department of Commerce, and Idaho Rangeland Resources Commission.