2011 Fire Season: Idaho’s Turn

Aug 16, 2011

BOISE, ID. – Nearly half of all active large wildfires in the country are burning in Idaho.  This fire season could be the most destructive in several years. 

Big Hill and Blair are just two of the fires burning in Idaho that have scorched thousands of acres of grassland.  Ken Frederick is a spokesman with the National Interagency Fire Center.

Ken Frederick:  “We’re fairly normal actually a little lower than normal for mid-August, but for the year we’re well ahead of normal.  6.4 million acres burned so far this year.”

That’s nationwide.  If this trend continues, wildfires will consume more acres of land this year than in the past ten seasons.  Frederick has a simple explanation.

Ken Frederick:  “I can summarize that in two words:  La Nina.”

Frederick says La Nina dumped moisture in Northern states during winter, but dried out the Southwest.  Most of the land that burned this year happened in Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, and New Mexico.  But Frederick says fire season is almost over.

Ken Frederick:  “It doesn’t have a long way to go before we start seeing the seasonal changes – the days will get shorter, the relative humidities are going to be raising as temperatures moderate.  Those kind of factors put the brakes on fire season.”

Frederick says by the end of September fire season will be over for most of the U.S., except Southern California. 

Copyright 2011 Boise State Public Radio