BOISE Independence Day is only two weeks away, and already fire officials in southern Idaho are warning about this year's fire conditions
We do put up extra brush rigs during the Fourth of July just because we know we are going to get the extra fire volume, said Boise Fire Department Battalion Chief David Cooper.
Cooper said extra equipment and more staff will be on hand during the holiday.
We always get an uptick around the Fourth of July, Cooper said. This year has been especially bad.
He said Idaho is about two to three weeks ahead of schedule in terms of moisture drying out. The early spring rains helped, but fuels have already dried out. That means grass and other fuels could be dangerously dry during the Fourth of July when ignited by a firework spark.
Almost every year there comes a point on the Fourth of July during the night when almost every fire apparatus in the city of Boise is out running around chasing down firework-related grass fire calls, and that takes away from our abilities to respond to the day-to-day emergencies that are going to happen, said Cooper.
That's why rules and regulations are put in place by the City of Boise, he said. Anything that soars into the air is deemed illegal inside city limits.
Cooper said there are other places revelers are barred from lighting off fireworks.
No fireworks are allowed above Hill Road and above Warm Springs, he said.
As fireworks stands open for business, most workers at the stand are already informed on what is legal inside city limits.
Riley Wiedmeier has been working at the Discount Fireworks stand on West Fairview Avenue for years, and Tuesday he showed us what is hot this year.
We have smoke balls, cracking balls, hen laying eggs, Wiedmeier said.
Each year there is something bigger and better to buy.
We have got a lot of new fountains this year, Wiedmeier said.
Wiedmeier also knows the rules.
People are always coming in and asking if we have any illegal stuff, and we are like 'no, sorry, you can t do that in city limits, he said. Things catch on fire easy, so that s not a good thing.
Officials with the Boise National Forest are also offering a word of caution: it's illegal to have fireworks on public lands.Anyone caught could face a $5,000 fine or up to six months in jail.
That means using the right kind of fireworks where they are allowed to be used and don t use fireworks where they are not allowed to be used, said Cooper.
When finished with a firework, douse it in a bucket of water before placing it in the trash.