IDAHO – As summer arrives, so does fire season. Idaho landscapes are becoming fire prone, so if you plan to enjoy the outdoors during the Fourth of July weekend and beyond, don’t use fireworks, and be cautious with campfires and anything else that can start a wildfire.
Idaho Fish and Game reminds users of its lands, federal forests and rangelands, state endowment lands, and other access sites, possessing and/or using fireworks on most public lands is strictly prohibited. That includes recreation access sites, such as boat launches and picnic areas, and lands leased or managed by Fish and Game. People can be cited and charged for damages if they illegally use fireworks and/or start wildfires.
During closed fire season (May 10 to October 20), it is illegal to throw away any lighted material on any forest or rangeland in the State of Idaho. Starting a wildfire with the use of fireworks is considered negligence, and the person who started the fire will be billed for the cost of fighting the fire.
“We are asking people to follow the rules and think before acting,” said Sal Palazzolo, Fish and Game’s Statewide Wildlife Habitat Manager for Fish and Game. “One person’s negligence can close down a large area for the year, destroy critical habitat for wildlife, recreational opportunities for sportsmen and sportswomen, and impact the livelihood of the property owners.”
The definition of explosives covers the use of explosive targets and incendiary rounds, such as tracers. Some individuals have also been known to shoot at propane and other fuel containers to watch them explode. Shooters should also avoid ammo with steel-core bullets, and shooting steel targets in areas with dry grass and other vegetation that could ignite.
Fish and Game urges all people recreating outdoors this summer to be responsible with campfires, vehicles, chainsaws, generators, or anything else that can ignite vegetation.
People being careless with fire is a leading cause of wildfires that burn thousands of acres in Idaho each year. Preventing those fires preserves valuable habitat, saves millions of dollars, and benefits wildlife.
When heading out camping or other recreation during fire season, here are a few things to remember:
- Leave fireworks at home.
- Park vehicles in areas clear of vegetation.
- Confine campfire to developed sites.
- Be careful with campfires and make sure they are completely out before you leave or go to bed.
- Make sure ATVs and motorcycles have spark arresters that are in good working order.
- Cigarettes and other smoking materials should be extinguished in appropriate disposal places and not thrown out of vehicle windows.
- If you see a fire left unattended, put it out, or report it to the local Sheriff’s office or land management agency.