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Idaho State News

Fire Danger Ratings Rising Quickly in Northern Idaho

Idaho Department of Lands

Idaho Department of Lands

COUER D’ALENE, ID – Fire conditions are rapidly changing in northern Idaho with a sudden increase in the number of wildfires.

Nearly 40 wildfires have been fought in northern Idaho since the last week of June. Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) has been dispatched to 16 fires and the Forest Service has fought 13 wildfires. Many of the fires under IDL protection were human-caused.

“Drier conditions in the higher elevations of the mountains have resulted in the fire rating increasing to Very High, with a forest-wide fire danger of High,” noted Brian Hicks, Fire Warden for the Pend Oreille Forest Protective District.

Fire officials are asking the public and industry to increase their caution as a spark in dry conditions can start and carry a fire a long distance very quickly.

Those wishing to enjoy a campfire need to use a fire ring and clear all debris away from around the ring. All fires need to be dead out before going to bed or leaving the site.

Remember not to park vehicles or ATVs/UTVs over dry grass. Carry water and a shovel when hitting the trails on ATVs/UTVs.

Secure chains on trailers and make sure your tires are in good shape to avoid flat tires. Sparks along a roadway can start fires for several miles.

“Now is the time for industrial landowners to check slash and burn piles to make sure they are not still smoldering, increasing the risk of sparking a larger fire as temperatures rise and the fire ratings increase,” added Hicks.

Most northern IDL supervisory areas are restricting state burn permits to small hand piles and burn barrels. State burn permits are required from May 10 – October 20 each year (Idaho Code § 38-115 ). Restrictions on issuing permits change as fire conditions change.

A bill for the full cost of fighting the fire may be sent to anyone who starts a wildfire due to negligence (Idaho Code § 38-107).

IDL is fully prepared and staffed for this fire season but we need the public and industry to help by taking extra precautions to protect the land and resources we all love.

For more IDL Fire Information and Resources go to

Idaho Department of Lands in partnership with two Timber Protection Associations and with the support of rural volunteer fire departments and other partners, provides fire suppression and prevention on more than 9 million acres of state and private forests and rangelands in Idaho. IDL focuses on initial attacks to keep fires at 10 acres or less. IDL protects and preserves important endowment timber assets that help fund Idaho schools and other beneficiaries, as well as millions of acres of private forestland.