The Idaho Department of Lands is reminding those who will celebrate Independence Day by recreating outdoors to please leave fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices at home and use extreme caution if they choose to have a campfire.
During closed fire season (May 10 to Oct. 20), it is illegal to throw away any lighted material, including firecrackers or fireworks on any forest or rangeland in Idaho. Starting a wildfire by the use of fireworks is considered negligence, and the person who started the fire will be billed for the cost of fighting the fire.
In the past two years, the Department of Lands has sent out multiple bills totaling $4.7 million for the cost of fires that investigators determined to be negligent. The negligent fire bills range from a few hundred dollars to more than $1 million.
Last year, about 80 percent of all fires that occurred on land protected by IDL were human caused and preventable. As people recreate throughout the summer, here are actions they can take to help prevent wildfires:
- If you plan to tow a boat or RV, please secure your safety chains. Dragging and sparking chains are a frequent cause of wildfire along Idaho’s highways.
- Don’t drive a vehicle over tall dry grasses in the heat of summer, and clear out vegetation before you park.
- Make sure your ATV, UTV or dirt bike has a properly working spark arrestor.
- If you target shoot, do not use tracer bullets or exploding targets; both have caused wildfires.
- Carry a shovel and water container in your vehicle.
- If you make a campfire, use a contained fire pit, never leave it unattended, keep water and a shovel nearby and make sure the remnants are cold to the touch before leaving it.