BLM: Idaho Has Significant Potential for Wildland Fires This Summer
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – Fire officials say they expect to keep busy over the next couple of months.
There’s significant potential for wildland fires in southern Idaho this summer, said Ryan Berlin, spokesman for the Twin Falls District of the Bureau of Land Management. He said the busiest time for rangeland firefighters is July and August.
According to information provided by the BLM, Idaho’s fire outlook for July is listed as 'above normal.'
Berlin and spokeswoman Heather Tiel-Nelson met with local media Thursday morning to review the fire outlook and show journalists some of the equipment that fire crews use when battling flames.
News Radio 1310’s Benito Baeza tried out a protective fire tent and sat in a 2,000-gallon Type-3 engine. (See the above slideshow.)
Berlin said weather patterns and fuel content help predict the fire outlook. According to information provided by the BLM, Idaho’s fire outlook for July is listed as “above normal.”
Cheatgrass along Interstate 84 between Twin Falls and Boise is “very dry,” he said. “The South Hills are a little more green. … Fuel loading is substantially more right now. It’s pretty spooky but we’re getting prepared for it.”
Historically, he said, fires usually occur in the western region earlier in the season before flames ignite in other parts of the state. BLM crews currently are helping to fight blazes in Cedar City, Utah, and Battle Mountain.
The local BLM district, which works with “different crew configurations” to meet demand, has about 20 engines, three dozers, three water tenders and two planes that drop fire retardant. It also partners with rural and regional fire crews.
Depending on the blaze, firefighters can work up to 36-hour shifts.
“We won’t fly aircraft at night for obvious safety reasons,” Berlin said, “but we’ll use dozers and push on through the night.”
Nelson said the BLM works with rural fire districts and rangeland fire protection agencies, adding significantly to the manpower and equipment when fighting flames. She said the agency appreciates the extra help, especially as fire season gets busier.
“We cannot say enough good things about what a great partnership it has been,” she said.