U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT NEWS RELEASE
|Release Date: 07/03/12|
You can Help Prevent Wildfires on Your Public Lands
BOISE – Over the past few weeks, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Idaho has responded to nearly 75 human-caused fires. When people are careless, they risk the lives of the public and firefighters and destroy people’s homes, as well as our natural resources.
Last week, a human-caused fire in Pocatello burned 66 primary residences in a matter of hours. Another human-caused fire recently burned several houses near Mountain Home. The Jump Fire, started by fireworks south of Boise on Sunday, burned over 1,500 acres. Other human-caused fires have threatened numerous homes throughout Southern Idaho this fire season.
“The public often hears BLM asking them to use caution every summer, but we cannot be complacent,” said BLM Fire Prevention Specialist Kevin Knauth. “Human-caused fires have created a significant amount of damage so far this year, and we still have a few months left of Idaho’s fire season.”
On May 10, BLM Idaho State Director Steve Ellis issued a Fire Prevention Order making it a misdemeanor to carry, discharge or otherwise use fireworks on BLM-managed lands. Violations of the Order may bring fines and jail time, and violators who start wildfires can also be liable for the costs of damage and suppression.
In an effort to reduce the risk of new human-caused fires, Idaho BLM is coordinating with federal and state partners to consider Fire Restrictions throughout much of southern Idaho. These restrictions will apply to BLM lands and involve limiting campfires to designated metal fire rings in pre-established recreation sites. Other fire restrictions by state and/or federal agencies may be in place; it is recommended you check agency websites before camping on any public lands. As always, never leave a campfire unattended and make sure it is dead out before you leave.
Here in Idaho, humans are responsible for 60 percent of all wildfires. The cost of putting out a large wildfire can reach into hundreds of thousands of dollars and can bring criminal charges in some cases. By taking a few simple precautions, you can avoid starting a wildfire.
Roadside fires are extremely common this time of year, and three-quarters of these fires result from mechanical or electrical failures, including malfunctions. Be particularly cautious any time you pull a trailer; ensure your tires are inflated to the proper level; and check the grease on your wheel bearings to avoid a blown tire. A safety chain dragging too low will bounce off the road surface and produce sparks. These sparks will be difficult to see as you drive, which means you may start any number of fires as you drive several miles without ever knowing what destruction you leave behind.
Avoid driving your vehicle off the road surface and into tall grasses. Catalytic converters and exhaust systems heat up to very high temperatures, easily igniting dry grasses and shrubs. Ensure that your vehicle receives routine maintenance, as this can help you avoid most of the problems that might start a fire. Periodically conduct a thorough check on your own as well. Be sure to carry extra water or a fire extinguisher with you when recreating outdoors. Practice responsible use of OHVs and ATVs.
Be especially careful with all outdoor equipment use. This includes chain saws, welding equipment and portable generators. Use spark arrestors, and keep water handy in case you do start a fire.
It is important to prepare your home by clearing debris and removing dead plant material. Avoid stacking firewood directly against buildings. Plant fire-resistant flowers, trees and shrubs around your property. Visit www.idahofirewise.org for more tips on how to protect your home from wildfire damage and also for a list of fire-resistant plant species.
Think before you go outdoors this summer. Act to protect your home and property from wildfires. Prevent wildfires from starting on your public lands!
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: 07-03-2012|
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