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Staying safe from wildfires while recreating outdoors

When it comes to staying safe from wildfires while recreating, officials say step one should happen before your trip even starts.
Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 9:39 AM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Hundreds of wildfires have already been spotted this year in Idaho. As of last week, 202 fires have burned over 100,000 acres on public lands protected by the Idaho Department of Lands. The Bureau of Land Management also reported 95 wildfires have burned over 11,000 acres of public lands they manage.

Those fires can start quickly.

“One spark from anything can spread in seconds and create tens of thousands of acres burned by the afternoon,” said Bureau of Land Management Fire Information Officer Rebecca Flick.

When it comes to staying safe from wildfires while recreating, officials say step one should happen before your trip even starts.

“The first thing is prevention,” said Flick.

That means being knowledgeable on any fire restrictions in the area, and bringing supplies such as a fire extinguisher, water supply and hand tools like shovels with you on your trip.

Officials advised having a 10-foot diameter of no vegetation around a campfire, never leaving that fire unattended and not leaving the fire until it is cool to the touch.

But, what do you do if you are recreating outdoors and see a fire?

“If they can’t put it out safely or properly, they need to get to a safe area like a road or an area where there is little to no vegetation away from the fire,” said Flick.

Once you are in a safe location, it is important to report the fire.

“The best thing they can go is call 9-1-1. 9-1-1 is going to work anywhere in the state where there is service, and to get fire crews responding as quickly as possible,” said Idaho Department of Lands Fire Management Bureau Chief Josh Harvey.

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