Phillips Creek Fire

The Sawtooth National Forest is implementing fire restrictions after several wildfires this summer. Most recently, the Phillips Creek Fire near Fairfield ravaged more than 2,000 acres before firefighters finally reached 100 percent containment over a week after the blaze ignited.

Beginning Thursday, campfires will be prohibited on the Sawtooth National Forest, the Bureau of Land Management’s Twin Falls District and state lands as part of Stage 1 fire restrictions.

Stage 1 fire restrictions will also be implemented on the Salmon-Challis National Forest beginning Friday. The restrictions will not apply to the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness and Jim McClure-Jerry Peak Wilderness.

Under Stage 1 restrictions, the following acts are prohibited:

• Fires, including campfires and stove fires, except within a designated recreation site and in a permanent concrete or metal fire ring, or on private land, and only within an owner-provided structure.

• Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle, building or designated recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.

The following are exemptions to the Stage 1 restrictions:

• Fires started with a written permit that specifically authorizes the otherwise prohibited act.

• Fires fueled solely by liquid petroleum or liquid petroleum gas (LPG) fuels. Such devices, including propane campfires, may be used only in an area cleared of flammable material.

• Activities in those designated areas where the activity is specifically authorized by written posted notice.

• Any activities conducted by a federal, state or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.

• Fires built within a city boundary.

• Other exemptions unique to each agency.

Anyone planning a visit to public lands in these areas is asked to obtain current information from the Sawtooth Ranger District offices at fs.usda.gov/sawtooth, the BLM Twin Falls District at blm.gov/idaho or the Idaho Department of Lands. Visitors can also find up-to-date fire information at idahofireinfo.com.

Violation of the fire restrictions is a federal offense carrying a maximum sentence of a $5,000 fine for individuals or $10,000 fine for organizations, six months in prison or both.

Email the writer: gmoore@mtexpress.com

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