BOISE - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is enforcing fire restrictions for much of southwest Idaho. The restrictions have to do with campfires, camping stoves and smoking.
It's been at least five years since we've been in fire restrictions here in this part of the state, said Mallory Eils with BLM Boise District. For recent history, this is the most active we've been this early in a fire season.
BLM says the following areas are included in the Stage 1 Fire Restrictions:
- All State and BLM managed lands within Ada, Canyon, Elmore, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, and Washington Counties
- All Payette National Forest lands within Washington County
- All of the Mountain Home Ranger District in the Boise National Forest within Elmore County and a portion of Boise County and Ada County
BLM says the high danger for wildfire in southwest Idaho caused the ban on building a fire - campfire or stove fire - except within a designated recreation site or on private property, and only within an owner-provided structure.
Restrictions are going into effect due to a combination of factors. Different agencies get together to determine restrictions, Eils said. [Factors include] the very low critical fuel moistures in the area in the sage and grass combined with the high fire dangers that we've been having, and the fact that we've been having frequent fires and fires that have frequently been getting very large,
Also prohibited with the restrictions are smoking in any of these areas except within an enclosed vehicle, building, or designated recreation site. You may also smoke while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren.
The restrictions go into effect Tuesday at midnight and will be in place until further notice.
BLM says there are exceptions such as a written permit and propane campfires. Land within city boundaries also does not fall under these restrictions.
The restrictions will stay in place until fire managers determine they can ease the rules, or if things get worse, place even more restrictions.
It is an impact to people that are recreating, so we try to make it as minimal an impact as possible, yet while still trying to prevent those preventable fires, Eils said.
The south central part of the state is under the same restrictions. The BLM Twin Falls District placed Stage 1 Fire Restrictions in place on Monday, July 9.
If caught violating the restrictions, someone could face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Visit the BLM website to view a map and for more on the exemptions.