2022 Idaho fire season recap

With the end of fire season looming, officials say this year wasn’t as bad as they expected.
Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 11:27 AM MST
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — After an abundance of spring rain, much of Idaho’s terrain looked like this by mid-summer: full of dry fuels only needing a spark to start what could be a rather large fire. Because of this, concern was pretty high among those responsible for battling fires.

“We did have the fuel loading and it was fairly warm,” said Kelsey Brizendine, the Fire Information officer at the Twin Falls B.L.M. Office.

With the end of fire season looming, however, officials say this year wasn’t as bad as they expected.

“We actually had a lot milder of a fire season than we were anticipating,” Brizendine said.

In fact, in terms of acreage burned, Brizendine says we saw less than usual.

“I would say it’s below average,” she said. “It was a below average fore year, but not significantly below.”

Brizendine attributes this to a lack of thunderstorms this past summer - a large culprit behind many fires. There still were quite a few human-caused fires, however, especially in June and early September.

“We did have a little bit higher percentage of human cause fires this year, but not because of human negligence,” Brizendine said.

Unfortunately, a lot of those fires happened on very windy days. Many notable fires around the area, be it the Sugarloaf and Bray fires in June and July, to the Sheep and Eden 2 fires in September, were all started on days that made it difficult.

One firefighter we spoke to told us what goes through his mind on days like that.

“Anytime I know we’re going to have a windy day like that when it’s hot and dry, I’m always on pins and needles,” said B.L.M. Firefighter John Arie-Blom.

Now because of the hot, dry wind we saw, one little spark to a piece of grass like this turned into something much larger. Potentially leading to thousands of acres of charred land.

“I’ve been on fires on those days, and it always makes me cringe a little bit,” Arie-Blom said,

So, is fire season over yet? Actually, not quite, according to Brizendine.

“Unless we have snow on the ground, we can have a fire,” she said.

Arie-Blom is looking forward to seeing that blanket of snow.

“I don’t have to leave my phone on to be available for fires for 24 hours a day,” he said. “I can just leave it and go do something with my family and not have to worry about it for, you know, at least a month.”