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Public urged to help prevent human-caused fires this summer

Officials say visitors can enjoy public lands safely and reduce wildfire risk.
Credit: KTVB
File photo of a wildfire burning in the Payette National Forest.

BOISE, Idaho — The arrival of summer and hot, dry weather conditions across the West should serve as important reminder to stay safe when enjoying the outdoors.

The Bureau of Land Management is urging the public to help prevent wildland fires, the majority of which are human-caused.

Fire activity is already picking up in some regions, including the Southwest and Alaska. Wildfire activity is expected increase significantly over the next few months. 

“Every year, human-caused wildfires comprise approximately 87% of all wildfire ignitions across the country, posing a considerable threat to public and firefighter safety,” said William Perry Pendley, BLM Deputy Director for Policy and Programs. “These wildfires are preventable and this year, more than ever, our wildland firefighters need the public’s help in reducing human-caused wildfire risk.”

The National Interagency Fire Center is predicting above-normal wildfire potential this year in areas of Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, Utah, Montana, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Hawaii.

High temperatures, dry vegetation and other weather factors, including high winds are expected to fuel the spread of wildfires.

Human-caused wildfire ignitions have the potential to quickly grow out of control and threaten lives, property and precious natural resources. 

The public is asked to help reduce ignitions from causes such as campfires, debris burning, equipment use or even from an automobile’s hot tailpipe scorching dry grass.

“We always encourage visitors to enjoy public lands,” added Pendley. “We just ask them to enjoy their public lands responsibly; with a few simple precautions, they can reduce human-caused wildfires throughout the country. Fewer human-caused wildfires will allow our wildland firefighters to focus more on lightning-caused wildfires, which we cannot prevent.”

BLM provides wildfire prevention tips, tools and techniques to reduce human-caused wildfires, including a recent video about how to prevent wildfires on public lands.

Visit www.blm.gov to find more information about possible fire prevention orders and fire restrictions in your area.

People who live near wildlands should prepare their homes and communities for wildfire. A few simple landscaping techniques can greatly improve a home’s survivability during a wildfire event, visit www.nfpa.org for more information.  

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