Triple digit temps increase West's wildfire potential

Triple digit temps increase West's wildfire potential


by Andrea Lutz and KTVB.COM

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBandrealutz


Posted on July 1, 2013 at 10:47 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 8 at 4:02 PM

BOISE – July came to the Treasure Valley with record temperatures. Boise hit a whopping 110 degrees on Monday, just missing the all time record of 111 degrees. Temperatures in other parts of the state soaring into the upper 90s.

While people in the valley tried to find refuge from the heat, those in the business of fighting fire continued their message of caution.

‘Everything is extremely dry,” said Boise Fire Battalion Chief Steve Rasulo, echoing a sentiment we've heard all spring.

“Fires can start in just an instance,” cautioned Mallory Eils, fire information officer with the Bureau of Land Management Boise District.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, long term drought across the West along with hot and dry weather early in July should raise the fire danger.

“So the outlook is kind of grim in that respect,” said Rasulo.

Remember that rain we had a couple of weeks ago? Well, according to NIFC that isn’t going to make much of a difference either. Fire experts say, the conditions are just already too dry.

All of these ingredients, combined with triple digit temperatures for the first week of July makes for a fiery recipe for disaster, if folks aren’t careful.

“Most of our fires this year still have been human caused, so the potential for lighting fires is there but we want to reduce those fires as much as we can, and the public's help is important in reducing those human caused fires,” said Eils.

Rasulo echoes that sentiment. He says the deadly fire that killed 19 firefighters on Sunday in Arizona should underscore the importance of being cautious.

‘From a wild land perspective this 100 plus degree weather is going to take its toll on firefighters working the lines,” Rasulo said.

But really, who wants to be outside in 100 degree temperatures anyway? Could there be a lull in fire activity because of that?

“You know we will just wait and see,” said Rasulo. “I think a lot of people are staying indoors because of the heat, and as 4th of July rolls around that might change. So we will see what happens.”

The Boise District BLM and Boise Fire Department could have added staff during the 4th of July, and a reminder fireworks on public lands are illegal.