(Idaho Department of Lands Press Release, May 22, 2023)
Boise, ID – Idaho Governor Brad Little proclaimed May as Wildfire Awareness Month and today he brought attention to the biggest cause of wildfires by declaring the week of May 22 as Wildfire Prepare and Prevent Week.
An Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) education campaign launched this week will help address the biggest cause of wildfires, human behaviors.
“Unwanted, human caused fires are 100% preventable,” said IDL Director Dustin Miller. “But people must exercise common sense, think before acting, and know they are accountable for their actions.”
Common causes of wildfires include escaped debris burning, escaped campfires, sparks from dragging trailer safety chains, lighting fireworks in dry areas, throwing cigarettes on the ground or from moving vehicles, and driving or parking vehicles over dry grass.
“This week we’re dialing up our efforts to help people understand how they can be part of the solution,” said Miller.
Each day this week IDL will highlight ways you can be Firewise. The agency will release new information via its website and social media, including two new video series with tips for preventing wildfires and preparing your home before fire strikes.
Beyond protecting communities and families from wildfire, the focus of Wildfire Prepare and Prevent week is important for another reason. Fighting wildfires is expensive.
“The vast majority of wildfires on private and state land in Idaho are human caused,” said Governor Little. “During a mild fire season, Idaho may spend $20 million fighting fires. During a bad season, that cost can reach $70 million or more.”
“If we can reduce the number of wildfires, we can keep more of this money where it belongs – in the pockets of Idaho families.” he added.
Reducing the number of unwanted human caused wildfires serves another benefit. According to Miller, the nationwide shortage of firefighting resources is likely to worsen. Preventable, human caused wildfires tax a response system that’s already stretched thin.
“Stopping fires before they start means resources like engines, firefighters and aircraft will be available to suppress the fires mother nature throws at us, helping save lives and property by ensuring we can respond quickly and safely.”
Learn more about Wildfire Prepare and Prevent Week by visiting www.idl.idaho.gov.