As of August 1, Idaho had already spent $9.1 million to fight wildfires this season. It's a cost sure to increase as fire season continues. The Idaho Department of Lands says the state pays on average $8.6 million each year to fight fires.
More than one million acres have burned in Idaho since the wildfire season launched into full swing earlier this summer. And many of those blazes will continue to burn until snow falls.
The intensity, and proximity of fires to homes prompted Governor Butch Otter to declare a state of emergency last week, which gives him the ability activate National Guard troops for support.
Otter has sent 101 guardsman to support efforts on the Trinity Ridge Fire burning near Featherville, at a cost of $25,000 per day. If the soldiers and airmen remain active through September 14, that will cost $675,000.
Ordinarily, the state pays a piece of that cost. In this case, because the federal government requested the National Guard’s support, they’ll pick up 100 percent of the tab.