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Officials: Idaho wildland fire risk currently normal, but could rise in August

As temperatures rise deeper into the summer, drying grass could ramp up the fire risk
A hotspot flares up on the North East side of the Bootleg Fire, Wednesday, July 14, 2021, near...
A hotspot flares up on the North East side of the Bootleg Fire, Wednesday, July 14, 2021, near Sprague River, Ore. (AP Photo/Nathan Howard)(Nathan Howard | AP)
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 2:23 PM MDT
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BOISE, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Southern Idaho’s wildfire risk is currently typical for this time of year, but that could change in the coming weeks and months.

Idaho State Forester Craig Foss provided the update during Tuesday’s Idaho Board of Land Commissioners meeting in Boise.

According to Foss, the wet and cooler spring weather has helped the fire potential outlook; but the concern in Southern Idaho going forward is heavy grass growth in some areas. As temperatures rise deeper into the summer, drying grass could ramp up the fire risk.

“Some of the grass growth we’ve seen in Southwest Idaho and portions of eastern Idaho [we’re] expecting above-normal potential once that grass finally started to cure as we get into late July, early August, as that grass cures and will be available to burn,” Foss said.

Also discussed were efforts state officials have made to educate the public on human-caused wildfire risks.

According to the Idaho Department of Lands, 80% of all wildland fires on Bureau of Land Management Public lands are human-caused.

Officials said last year they played public service announcements on gas station televisions, which allowed for their fire safety message to reach approximately 1.2 million people.

This year, they are offering information via QR codes. If individuals scan the QR code with their phone, they will be taken to the state’s burn permit website where the most up-to-date information will be available.

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