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Wood River Fire & Rescue has suspended burn permits for the day in its fire district area as weather forecasts anticipate thunder and lightening in the Wood River Valley. According to Wood River Chief Ron Bateman, there has been discussion of suspending burn permits in the district given the high volume of wildfire calls this month, but no temporary ban has been put in place in order to allow agricultural workers and those conducting essential burning to continue.

Since April 18, the day the fire south of Timmerman Junction ignited, Bateman said his department has responded to about 10 wildland fires, both for controlled burns that became uncontrolled, or random fires presumably started either from a still lit cigarette or trailer chains dragging and sending sparks into the brush on either side of the highway. At least three fires, including the April 18 incident, are suspected to have been ignited by either of these starters.

Ketchum Rural Fire District Chief Rich Bauer told the Mountain Express on Monday that they would be suspending burn permits at least until the district’s commissioners can meet on May 13 to discuss whether or not the burn ban should continue through the summer.

According to Bauer, current conditions are abnormal for this time of year due to remaining growth from last season, and a lack of snow pack to leave moisture in the ground.

“It could be a very active fire season,” Bauer said.

For the full story, read the Friday edition of the Idaho Mountain Express.

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