Wildland Fire Update (August 30, 2000)
The fire situation in north central and southern Idaho is critical with northern Idaho not far behind. Many of Northwest Management, Inc.’s personnel are on the fires in the Inland Northwest. The Montana fires are burning in very dry fuels and many fires have joined together to make one large fire. The Valley Complex, south of Darby, Montana is over 200,000 acres. Several of the fires in Idaho are over 50,000 acres with many in the 3,000 to 5,000 acre size.
Fuel moistures are extremely low with the driest forest conditions seen in 50 years. Wildland fire behavior under these conditions can be erratic and very dangerous carrying through the forest quickly even in light fuels. Wind is a major factor and can change a small dormant fire into a wide spread, fast moving inferno that can damage forest resources and homes. Presently, fire fighting resources are stretched to the maximum and each landowner living in or adjacent to the forest must stay alert to potential fire starts, whether man caused or natural. Heavily traveled roads, camping areas, or lightning activity are areas or situations when landowners should look and smell for smoke. Notify local authorities, Idaho Department of Lands or rural fire districts so that the fire can be caught when it is small, as it becomes increasingly more difficult to control the fire as the heat builds up and the fire spreads.
Landowners can help protect their property by removing needles, branches and firewood around their buildings. Increasing the spacing between trees through thinning, and pruning the lower limbs and branches can reduce the chance of the fire getting into the crowns of the tree, which is the most difficult to control. Having an urban interface plan may help prevent wildfires from threatening your home. For more information contact the Idaho Department of Lands and Northwest Management, Inc. for more ideas on how to protect your property from wildfire.
Cooler weather and a chance of rain may make a difference in the coming weeks.