Wildfire Threat Intensifies in Southern Idaho
We may see some rain next week. It's not enough to make any difference in our ongoing drought. The forecast I saw suggests there will be thunderstorms late next Wednesday afternoon. Thunder can also bring lightning. The cheat grass is a golden brown. You can put together a picture.
I haven’t yet seen a cause for the fire earlier this week in Jerome County, however. I was among the witnesses as we were just getting started. I could see smoke billowing from the median and on both sides of the Interstate. There was a light breeze blowing, which suggests even mild winds had blown sparks across the highway.
Sergeant Ken Mencl with the Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office has seen a number of cigarettes tossed from cars while on patrol. He says at night, you can really see how the sparks disperse and quickly spread if it’s windy. This isn’t suggesting cigarette butts have been responsible for any recent fires, but it’s a common cause. He explained that another is improperly installed chains between a truck and trailer. A chain bouncing on the pavement at 60 miles per hour kicks off a lot of sparks!
The Badger Fire came along two years ago, and deputies had to close wide swaths of the South Hills just as several hunting seasons were getting underway. The Sergeant said many people waited years for moose and elk tags and were then roundly disappointed.
While we don’t have control over lightning, we have much more when it comes to smoking, chains, and cooking fires. Conditions are ripe for a big burn.