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Gov. Little issues emergency declaration to activate Idaho National Guard firefighters

With the number of wildfires burning across the West, there are fewer resources available to combat the fires burning in Idaho.

BOISE, Idaho — On Friday, Idaho Governor Brad Little signed an emergency declaration for wildfires and to mobilize the Idaho National Guard firefighters to help fire crews across the Gem State.

Idaho's extreme drought and a deadly heatwave are creating dangerous conditions for fire season. In North Idaho, multiple wildfires have burned thousands of acres.

"Wildfire is presenting an imminent threat to life, property, and the environment, and we need all hands on deck. I appreciate our firefighters and fire managers for working so hard under such challenging conditions, and I am grateful that our guardsmen are able to step in once again to support Idaho communities," Little said in a statement.

According to the governor's office, extreme fire conditions are at or exceeding maximum levels. With the number of wildfires burning across the West, there are fewer resources available to combat the fires.

The request for the emergency declaration and the use of the Idaho National Guard was made for the first time ever by the Idaho Department of Lands. Leading up to Friday's announcement, the IDL was working with the Idaho Office of Emergency Management to start activating guardsmen. Qualified personnel will work on wildfires and logistics support.

The declaration also activates National Guard aircraft and other resources.

The governor's office also said Idaho is anticipated to enter Stage 2 of fire restrictions in the coming days. Fire restrictions are meant to help curb human-caused wildfires.

Under Stage 2 fire restrictions for IDL land would ban the use of campfires and stove fires, the use of chainsaws or other small engine machines, and using motorized vehicles on roads and trails.

Fire managers at respective agencies and entities are given the authority to enact restrictions and are required to adhere to statewide-approved guidelines, according to the governor's office.

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