Fire season may have started with a bang this weekend, as lightning struck across parts of south and central Idaho.
Lightning can hit forests thousands of times during storms like these, though resulting fires are often curbed by rain or may go out on their own. But if a fire created by lightning then spreads, it can be pretty challenging for firefighters.
“Lightning-ignited fires can be more difficult to suppress because in many cases they can be in more remote locations,” says Jessica Gardetto, a spokesperson for the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.
She says that while these fires can be harder to fight, most Idaho wildfires are actually caused by people. Human-caused fires are easier to access since they’re usually in more populated areas. But with that comes a pretty big downside.
"They can threaten lives and property much more extremely than lightning-caused fires,” Gardetto says.
About 80% of Idaho wildfires are caused by humans each year, so Gardetto says it’s best to focus prevention efforts there.
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