Idaho's Fire Season Already A Busy One

Updated 5:15 PM:  There have been 31 area wildfires so far this year, according to spokeswoman Mallory Eils with the Boise District Bureau of Land Management.  That compares to less than a handful at this time for the past three years. She says nearly all the wildfires this year have been caused by people.    

There are no plans to place fire restrictions on public lands yet.  That would take some time given that state and federal agencies such as the BLM, U.S. Forest Service, and Idaho Department of Lands would all have to agree to those restrictions. 

It is illegal in Idaho to use exploding targets, incendiary ammunition and fireworks on BLM lands from May to October every year. Violators can be fined, jailed, and liable for damage and the costs to put out the fire. 

Tracer, incendiary ammunition, and fireworks are prohibited in national forests year-round. 

Originally Posted 12:00 PM:

Idaho's fire season is well underway and this weekend fire crews were busy battling more than half a dozen wildfires. These wildfires, ranging from 3 acres to more than 8,000 acres, were all likely caused by people.  Those causes range from smoldering campfires and cigarettes to gun shots and exploding targets.

It is illegal in Idaho to use exploding targets, incendiary ammunition and fireworks on Bureau of Land Management lands from May to October every year.  Firearms and fireworks are prohibited in National Forests year-round.  Violators can be fined, jailed, and liable for damage and the costs to put out the fire.    

Here's a breakdown of wildfires over the Father's Day weekend:

Friday, firefighters mopped up the Con Shea fire near Murphy.  That blaze was the largest in the area so far this season at nearly 9,000 acres. That same day crews fought two smaller fires:  one near Mountain Home; the other south of the Initial Point off Swan Falls Road.  Both were less than 100 acres each. 

Saturday, crews battled the Cole Fire near Kuna and the Idaho State Prison complex.  That burned 300 acres before firefighters knocked it down.  Crews then tackled a small three acre blaze off Highway 78 near Murphy.

On Father’s Day, crews were out again near Kuna and South Pleasant Valley Road.  The Sand Fire spread to 40 acres before firefighters managed to control it.  About 25 acres near Bruneau and C.J. Strike Reservoir also burned that day.  Firefighters got the upper hand on the Cove Fire several hours later. 

Also on Sunday, about 600 acres burned along a five-mile stretch of Interstate-84 near mile marker 86.  Mallory Eils with the Boise District Bureau of Land Management says this wildfire near Mountain View was caused by a vehicle, perhaps sparked by exhaust or wheel fragments.  That fire was contained early this morning and crews hope to have it completely out this afternoon. 

And up in the Sawtooth National Forest, firefighters hope to contain a 25-acre blaze north of Stanley later today.  A  U.S. Forest Service spokesman says that fire was likely caused by people. 

Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio