Land Board gets update on fire cost to the state

Human caused fires are up by 30% in 2023.
Published: Sep. 24, 2023 at 10:48 PM MDT
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BOISE, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) —While this years fire season may be less eventful than compared to years past.

The total cost to fight wildfires that the state must pay for is still increasing. At the recent Idaho State Land, Board of Commissioners meeting the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) gave the most updated fire numbers and cost break down to the land board.

As of the middle of September, there’s been 271 fires on land managed by the IDL, which also includes state endowment land; 195 of the fires were found to have been human caused due to more recreational use. Human caused fires are up this year by about 30%, with 2600 acres burned so far in 2023.

There are no fires burning currently on IDL land, but a warmer and drier outlook is predicted for the next month, which could extend fire season into October. Land board members also got a breakdown of the costs so far to date for the state.

IDL Director Dustin Miller “The emergency fire suppression expenditures are estimated to be at nearly $16.8 million, $2.3 million of this are reimbursable costs that will be recovered by the state leaving the current net obligation of about $14.56 million.”

A final fire season report will be given by IDL at their meeting coming up in October. Due to increasing costs to fight wildfires around the state, the board has requested an almost five percent increase to their budget for the fiscal year of 2025

Some of the money with the increased budget proposal would be used for engines, technology and equipment.