The Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior came to Boise today to talk about the upcoming fire season. They said above normal fire potential and less money in the budget will make for a difficult fire season in the West.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack described the wildfire outlook this way: “We’re going to be faced with a difficult fire season, make no mistake about that.”
The invasive plant Cheatgrass can increase the frequency and severity of range and fires. A new study out of Oregon State University suggests that overgrazing could be helping an invasive grass to flourish.
A new study out of Oregon State University suggests that overgrazing could be helping an invasive grass to flourish. That differs from previous studies that have found grazing can better manage that plant — cheatgrass — which threatens rangeland habitat.
Several forest fires are already burning in Western Washington and crews are mopping up a big one in central Oregon. There were also two grass fires that burned near Middleton, Idaho just west of Boise, this past weekend.
Dry winds and above average temperatures predicted this summer and fall, have fire managers preparing for an earlier than usual season.
A new program to spray along Interstate 84 ahead of wildfire season is aimed at reducing fires and costs.
Last year, 16 fires started along I-84 between milepost 60 and 110. Those fires burned more than 5,000 acres. The Bureau of Land Management spent more than $280,000 to fight them. That doesn’t include what other agencies spent helping to put those fires out.
The U-S Forest Service is reversing its policy to aggressively fight all wildfires. This change was announced in a letter from Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell last month.
In May 2012, Forest Service Deputy Chief Jim Hubbard issued a "fight all fire" directive. This may be why the feds spent more than $1 billion fighting fires last year. They came in $400 million over budget.
The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise has released aviation figures for the 2012 fire season. The numbers show that about half of the calls for air tankers to assist in fighting wildfires last summer went unfilled.