BLM: Human-caused fires down from last year

BOISE -- Moisture in the form of rain is heading for the Treasure Valley in the coming days but firefighters don't believe it will provide much relief to dry grasses.

Sunday afternoon, crews from Eagle, Middleton, Star, Meridian and the Boise District Bureau of Land Management met to fight a twenty acre grass fire that started off Idaho Highway 16 around noon.

Their fight was prompt and firefighters managed to get the grass fire under control in a matter of hours before it spread to any neighboring structures.

Kevin Moriarty, spokesperson with the Boise District BLM, told KTVB that so far this year, there has been a below average number of fires for their agency.

He also revealed that the cause for many of the fires we have seen is natural.

"There haven't been as many human starts this year," said Moriarty.

The Highway 16 fire was caused by humans though, but the two adults and one juvenile were shooting targets legally on BLM land. Moriarty said investigators believe a round likely ricocheted off a hard surface and sparked a flame.

MORE:BLM: Grass fire sparked by target shooters

However Moriarty hopes the fewer number of human starts could be because of their constant message of prevention.

"We try really hard for prevention efforts to limit the human start, human caused fires," he said. "We get a lot of fires starting from roadways and that has really gone down this year."

Moriarty also adds the number of fire starts from shooting targets or exploding targets is also down from previous years.

Still, there is one battle firefighters will never stop fighting; the one Mother Nature hands them. Rain is projected in the coming days and while many might think it will help give dried out grasses the added moisture they need, Moriarty sets us straight.

"One week of rain won't really change much," he said.

The grass will absorb some of that moisture, but fuels will dry back out just as fast.

"We work in what we call one hour fuels which is really light flashy fuels, it only takes an hour for them to dry out is kind of the rule of thumb," Moriarty explains.

So as we head into August firefighters urge people to keep a fire-wise mentality while on public lands and to remember that Stage One fire restrictions are in effect for the Treasure Valley.

RELATED:Stage One fire restrictions to go into effect

That means no fires are allowed on public lands, expect in a designated recreation site. It also means no outdoor burning.


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