U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT NEWS RELEASE
|Release Date: 06/18/10|
Local Students to Study Foothills, Work to Prevent Wildfires
BOISE—On August 3, 2009, the Skate Park Fire burned in the foothills just north of Eagle, Idaho, near a local skate park, future Velodrome bicycle racing track, and the Ada County Landfill. The fire, likely started by fireworks, quickly burned through a valuable foothills recreation area, threatened nearby homes, and challenged firefighters before they stopped the blaze at 205 acres.
Now, almost one year later, high school students from this year’s F.I.R.E. Up for Summer course are going to study the area and examine nearby homes for their susceptibility to wildfire. The students will collect data on invasive weeds, soil erosion, and plant recovery to determine how the burned area is recovering from last summer’s burn. They will also examine a nearby neighborhood for its susceptibility to wildfire and will provide their findings to homeowners. Homeowners will be able to use the information to make their homes safe from wildfire.
“There will always be wildfire in the foothills because it’s a part of our ecosystem, so it’s important for all of us to work together to preserve this valuable landscape,” says Don Major, Fire Ecologist with the BLM. “These students will be able to provide some valuable data that we can use to make this area healthy again,” he adds.
What is F.I.R.E. Up?
This summer, the City of Eagle, Ada County, and the BLM, along with State Farm Insurance, have partnered to promote a Field Inquiry Research Education program called F.I.R.E. Up for Summer. F.I.R.E. Up enlists high school students to conduct valuable field research, as well as educate homeowners about how to protect their property from wildfire.
The F.I.R.E. Up program is now in its seventh year. Thanks to Northwest Nazarene University, F.I.R.E. Up allows high school students to earn college credits by collecting data and completing research projects about wildfire. F.I.R.E. Up Research projects help students learn about wildland fire behavior, its effect on natural ecosystems, and what can be done to minimize rural communities’ susceptibility to wildfire. The program also encourages students to get outside, learn about and enjoy Idaho’s beautiful outdoors.
State Farm Insurance became a partner in F.I.R.E. Up in 2008, because the program supports fire safety, youth, and the importance of education.
“State Farm is a proud supporter of the F.I.R.E. Up program; it empowers high schools students to make a real difference in their community by conducting research to limit the damages and hazards caused by wildfires,” adds Boise State Farm Agent Phil Drick.
The students will also work with the Healthy Hills Initiative, a group started by scientists from the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Ada County, Ada Soil & Water Conservation District, Environmental Conservation Services Incorporated (ECS Inc.), and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), along with the City of Eagle and Eagle Fire Department. The group was formed after the 2009 wildfire burned the popular recreation area. The scientists wanted to work together to restore the burned vegetation and implement fuels reduction projects that will allow firefighters to control future wildfires in the foothills and throughout Idaho.
“Ada County is happy to support the FIRE-Up program,” says Ada County Commissioner Rick Yzaguirre. “As a member of the Healthy Hills Initiative, preserving our foothills for wildlife, recreation and educational purposes is a high priority to Ada County.”
Important Dates - Media are welcome and encouraged to attend and cover the following events. Please direct questions to Jessica.
On June 22, at 11:00 a.m., Ada County Commissioner Rick Yzaguirre will join the students and representatives from the Healthy Hills Initiative, Ada County, BLM, and the F.I.R.E. Up teachers to talk about the students’ projects and Firewise in Ada County. Meet in the Idaho Velodrome Parking Lot.
Directions: From State Street, take Old Highway 55 North to the Idaho Velodrome Parking lot.
After completing their projects, the students will present their findings at 10:00 am on Friday, July 2, at 10:00 a.m. The presentations will be open to foothills residents, local educators, BLM employees, and anyone interested in the program.
Directions: From ID 44/West State Street, turn right at S. Edgewood Road, which will turn into East State Street. Turn left at South Plaza Drive, the fire station will be on the left.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, recreational and other activities on BLM-managed land contributed more than $130 billion to the U.S. economy and supported more than 600,000 American jobs. The Bureau is also one of a handful of agencies that collects more revenue than it spends. In FY 2012, nearly $5.7 billion will be generated on lands managed by the BLM, which operates on a $1.1 billion budget. The BLM's multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.
|Last updated: 03-02-2011|
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