2017 Idaho Wildfire Season Has Been Less Intense Than Last Year (So Far)

Aug 10, 2017

At this time last year, a gigantic wildfire in the Boise National Forest held the record as the largest wildfire in the country.

The Pioneer Fire burned until the snow fell last October. It left almost 300 square miles of destruction in its path. The tiny town of Lowman was put on evacuation notice and a terrifying cloud full of ash and smoke hung over the wildfire – visible 60 miles away in Boise.

But according to Jennifer Smith with the National Interagency Fire Center, southwest Idaho forests are getting a bit of a break this year.

"[The forests are] not dry and primed and ready to burn like we’ve seen in the past," says Smith, "like even last year with the Pioneer Fire.”

That’s because of the wetter-than-normal winter. But all that snowpack has led to grassy underbrush that’s easy to ignite.

“But it is only August and Idaho can typically burn through September.”  

Smith says although Idaho has so far been luckier than states like Montana where lightning has caused large wildfires near population centers, the Gem State isn’t out of the woods yet.       

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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