(Idaho Department of Lands Press Release, May 8, 2023)
Boise, ID – Escaped debris burning is the number one cause of wildfires in Idaho. Preventing unwanted human caused fires is important to everyone because firefighting resources are limited.
Nearly 80% of the fires already suppressed by Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) so far this season were human caused and preventable.
To help curb unwanted human caused fires, Idaho’s closed fire season begins on May 10 and runs through October 20. Idahoans burning outside city limits must obtain a free state fire burn permit from IDL before burning debris.
“The burn permit system reduces the number of false alarms and allows fire crews to respond only when truly needed. Having a burn permit on record means fire managers can also respond more quickly to fires that escape,” said IDL Director Dustin Miller. “Obtaining a free burn permit can also potentially reduce the liability of the burner if their fire escapes.”
The burn permit is free of charge, good for 10 days, and can be obtained online at burnpermits.idaho.gov. Permits issued through the self- service website are available seven days a week and are immediately issued and valid. A permit may also be issued by calling or visiting an IDL office, phone numbers and addresses can be found at www.idl.idaho.gov/about-us/supervisory-areas/. Permits are not required for recreational campfires.
When burning in Idaho please follow these general burning guidelines:
- Obtain required permits for your location – when in doubt check with local fire officials.
- Burn only allowed materials.
- A responsible adult is required by law to be in attendance until the fire is out (cool to the touch).
- Clear all flammable material and vegetation within 10 feet of the outer edge of the pile.
- Keep a water supply and shovel close to the burning site.
- If it’s windy and the surrounding vegetation is dry, it may be best to wait and burn debris another day.
- Keep your pile at a manageable size, adding debris slowly as the pile burns down.
- Look around. Choose a safe site for burning away from power lines, overhanging limbs, and not within 25 feet of buildings, vehicles, or equipment.
IDL will not issue burn permits within districts where local burn bans are in effect. If there are other burning restrictions in effect or additional or alternate permits required, the burn permit website will provide instructions on how to contact those entities. Information on burn restrictions based on air quality can be found by calling Idaho Department of Environmental Quality at (800) 633-6247 or by visiting http://www2.deq.idaho.gov/air/AQIPublic/Map/OutdoorBurn.
During the closed fire season, Idaho Code § 38-115 requires that any person planning to burn outside city limits within Idaho, including crop residue burning, obtain a burn permit.
Find more information about fire prevention and burning safely at https://www.idl.idaho.gov/fire-management/fire-prevention-and-preparedness/prevent-unwanted-human-caused-wildfires/.