The Boise National Forest has been a focal point of fire activity this year. The drought has increased the chance for extreme fires to act unpredictably. Sometimes, previously burned areas are the best way to stop the advance of these dangerous blazes – especially those that could endanger people and property.
The Ridge Fire is one of the blazes that’s benefited from previously burned areas. This fire has been burning for more than three weeks near the town of Lowman in the Boise National Forest.
According to forest manager Bob Shindelar, burn scars on the landscape create a natural barrier for fires. He says sometimes, firefighters will let big blazes like the Ridge Fire grow in size if it means it will move it into a burned out area.
“But it also gives us the greater probability of being able to stop that fire, and makes it safer for the firefighters on the ground. It reduces the amount of firefighting resources we would have to send, which in turn reduces our cost," says Shindelar.
When an intense fire comes up next to a burned area, the blaze has a tough time moving through without any fuel left to devour. That gives firefighters the opportunity to kill the flames.
Shindelar says the Ridge Fire stopped when it came to the burned areas left by the 2006 Red Mountain Fire, as well as two other fires. It’s now 46 percent contained, and has burned 5,270 acres.