Forest Fires Rage in Idaho

Easton Larsen, Staff Writer

An unusually dry spring and intense heat waves have come back to bite Idaho this summer. Smoke has been prevalent throughout the summer as forest fires torch their way through Idaho. Many of these fires started because of natural factors such as lightning, while others were caused by humans. High temperatures, low humidity and powerful winds have made these fires difficult to fight and contain.

The biggest of these fires is the Moose Creek Fire near Salmon. The blaze has torched over 100,000 acres as of September 7th. The fire is the nation’s largest active fire. The human-caused fire has been burning for nearly two months and is 44% contained. Firefighters have faced many challenges in their efforts to put the fire out. The fire quickly jumped the river, forcing firefighters to fight it on both sides. Winds up to 50mph kept aircraft from aiding the effort, as well as helping to spread the fire. Two pilots were killed in a plane crash while aiding firefighters. No other injuries or deaths have occurred.

Other fires continue to burn throughout the state. Island Park has been threatened by the Sawtell Peak fire. Lighting caused the fire that has burned since the 31st of August. Crews have had better luck containing this fire, as it is currently 60% contained. Another fire started on the 7th and burned over 150 acres in just three hours, but is expected to be contained quickly. There are no current burn restrictions in the area, but several measures should be taken to prevent more. These include securing any tow chain, using safe tires and general fire safety.