BOISE -- Hundreds ofU.S. Forest Service firefighters are receiving critical training for what could be a busier wildfire season than the damaging summer of 2012.
That's because national predictions show an above-normal amount of fire activity throughout much of Idaho.
The 2012 fire season saw more than 1.75 million acres of wildland burned in Idaho. Fire supression costs soared over $214,000,000.
At one point, the destructive Trinity Ridge Fire was the biggest wildfire in the United States, burning more than 146,000 acres.
Boise National Forest Fire Chief Bob Shindelar says this summer could be worse.
We do still have folks who are tired from last year, Shindelar told KTVB. Last year was a very long year; this year is going to be the same, and could be even longer.
Shindelar says 270 firefighters from throughout the United States are now in critical training for the next two weeks, preparing to fight wildfires here in Idaho.
The damaging Trinity Ridge Wildfire
This year we're actually gearing up for what we're anticipating is going to be a very busy fire season because of the drought conditions we're faced with, a lack of snow and a lack of spring rains, Shindelar said, adding that the conditions were conducive to rapidly spreading wildfires.
Shindelar says firefighters have worked all winter to replace used and damaged equipment from last fire season, and are already anticipating needing extra resources later this summer.
We'll be staffing all of our fire engines, our helicopters, our hand crews, our fire prevention units on schedule, Shindelar said.
That means in two weeks, forest service fire crews will be on 24/7 standby.
Shindelar says the number one cause of wildfires is escaped campfires, and asks for extra caution for those venturing into the wilderness in 2013. He says anyone going into the backcountry should also avoid areas burned last year, since burned materials and dead trees could be dangerous.
Fire officials expect to see burning restrictions this summer, possibly by July. They're also concerned about the chance of a water shortage.