BOISE -- Three large fires continue to burn in areas of the Boise National Forest. Hundreds of thousands of acres have already been blackened in 2012. Dozens of rural roads are closed. Smoke has hung thick in the air.

However, those factors won't stop avid outdoors enthusiasts and hunters from heading back outdoors this fall.


See where current fire areas intersect with your hunting zones by clicking on the IDFG Fire Map.

The Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game (IDFG) will not extend or close the hunting season because of these fires. However, they say hunters may want to plan for trips later in the season when fires are less intense. They're also asking folks to be careful as burned areas open back up.

Many Treasure Valley hunters and outdoor enthusiasts utilize areas in Boise, Camas, and Elmore counties. David Seesholtz with the Boise National Forest cautions those who plan to venture into this area to beware natural hazards caused by the 145,971 acre Trinity Ridge Fire, among others.

Seesholtz said dead, burned trees, known as snags, are a major risk in this area. We gotta eliminate or reduce the risk associated with those, Seesholtz said. So we try to keep those areas that are going to have the highest risk closed for a longer period of time.

Seesholtz added that high density areas of snags located near campgrounds, trail heads, and other trafficked areas is a worry for national forest personnel. Those areas are probably going to be closed even longer because of that risk, Seesholtz said.

Officials say fire crews and maintenance crews with the Boise National Forest have already started cutting down snags, or hazard trees, near campgrounds.


We are concerned about those fires, and especially hunters' access into those areas, said Mike Demick, with IDFG.

If faced with a closure due to fire, Demick says hunters can exchange general tags to hunt in a different area, or they can exchange special control tags for general tags. However, he cautions hunters to do so before their specific season opens.

What's more, Demick says despite the headaches fires can cause in regard to safety and access, flames are indeed good for the forest community. Fires are actually, in the long term, good for wildlife, especially big game because it creates more food for those big game animals, said Demick.

Demick also says that while forest areas are still blackened, the animals just move outside the fire area, adding that most animals, they've adapted to fire for a long time.

Another reminder for outdoors enthusiasts: officials say fire restrictions are still in place on the Boise National Forest. Campfires are limited to designated areas. Conditions are still very dry.

See where current fire areas intersect with your hunting zones by clicking on the IDFG Fire Map.

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