KAMIAH – As firefighters and fire management officials for the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests continue training and preparing for the upcoming fire season in North-central Idaho, something is noticeably different this year compared to last year at this time, green grass and rain.
While the wet spring weather is a much welcome change from last year’s record droughts, fire management officials still urge everyone to take caution and educate themselves on how to better prepare for wildfires while the opportunity still exists.
There are many steps homeowners can take to help protect their property against the threat of wildfire. Wildfire preparedness tips (nfpa.org)
“Now is the time to be knocking back brush, pruning trees, and working to remove all combustible materials from around homes and infrastructure”, states Jim Wimer, Fire Information Specialist for the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests.
You can visit https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Wildfire/Firewise-USA for more information on how to better protect your home and property from potential wildfire impacts.
“We all witnessed last year’s dry spring directly contribute to an early start to our fire season on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests and surrounding areas,” says Wimer. “That early onset of critical fire conditions maintained its pace and carried all the way through September and even October in some areas. That long duration, coupled with large fires and similar conditions throughout the Western U.S. really challenged firefighting resources at every level”.
While the Clearwater Basin snowpack and most year-to-date precipitation totals are either at or above average, conditions can still change rapidly this time of year. The green grass and brush that is growing heartily right now will eventually dry out and become available to burn.
“We cannot simply rely on the calendar anymore to tell us when wildfires may impact our lives” stated Wimer. “We have to understand and track the real-time conditions that contribute to wildfire growth as they evolve with local weather patterns and conditions. Our local fire officials continually monitor fire conditions as they develop throughout the year and urge the public to always be cautious when working or recreating outdoors”.
Visit here for more information on current precipitation, snowpack, and drought data in Idaho: Current Conditions Maps | NRCS Idaho (usda.gov)
Here are a few good tips to follow when heading outside this time of year:
1. Burn Permits are required in Idaho from May 10–to October 20 annually. IDL Burn Permit Application (idaho.gov)
2. Check with your local county/state officials for questions about the permit processes and current fire conditions/restrictions.
3. Stay within the guidelines of these permits when issued.
4. If you plan on having a campfire for any reason, be prepared to put it out quickly!
- Utilize pre-established improved fire rings and pits that are cleared of combustibles.
- Have a shovel, bucket, and water source or small fire extinguisher on-site and ready at all times.
- Make sure all fires are completely out and cool to the touch before leaving.
Please report wildfires to Grangeville Interagency Dispatch Center (208) 983-6800 or call 911.
Be ready to give an accurate description/location.