I grew up in the trees and mountain lakes of Idaho. Camping, fishing, 4-wheeling in my dad’s International Scout 2 - I did it all. Going into this summer with the imminent arrival of an extreme heatwave looming over Southern Idaho, drought-like conditions already afflicting our land, and fire season just getting started, I feel a genuine responsibility to raise awareness on how careful we all need to be.
Recently, the City of Boise and Boise Fire Department released a series of precautions to help preserve our land from fire risk and keep Idahoans as safe as possible during the upcoming Fourth of July holiday until October.
While an extreme heatwave does not directly cause wildfires, it builds the “perfect storm” of conditions that mixed with our drought, holiday prominently featuring fireworks, and camping season could potentially put Idaho at a greater risk of larger fires than we’ve seen yet.
It is our direct obligation as residents of this beautiful land to do everything in our power to keep Idaho green and healthy for everyone.
Here’s what you can educate yourself on to help!
How to Help Prevent Grass and Forest Fires in Idaho
Idaho’s landscape was shaped and evolved over thousands of years by natural powers, one of the largest being wildland fires. Many plants and ecology throughout our state rely on fires to help them continue their life cycle. But as a result of Idaho’s increasing population, the fire season has grown longer than Idaho can endure. Year after year, we see large portions of forests, grasslands, and homes destroyed. Some residents and animals have been unfortunate to lose their lives in some cases as well.
Since I was a child, I’ve witnessed some powerful and devastating fires take parts of Idaho I once explored. As the Fourth of July approaches, we need to be at our utmost level of precaution. Humans cause 75% of Idaho fires.
Here is what has been implemented by the City of Boise and other helpful reminders as you celebrate or head out on your summer camping trips:
- ALL fireworks are banned in the shown area bordering the Boise Foothills. This is an effort to directly curb fires that could be unintentionally set in that area and cause serious harm to the land and residents there.
- Aerial fireworks are banned in Boise
- Purchase “safe and sane” fireworks provided at the several vendors around town
- Firework safety tips and rules from the City of Boise
- Responsible adults should be the ones to light fireworks
- Use outdoors only!
- Soak your fireworks after they have been lit
- Keep a hose or large bucket of water available
Photo Credit: Boise Fire Department
Read more about Boise’s firework codes and safety here:
Fireworks Safety Reminders
Smoke from the Idaho fire season can be a health concern for those afflicted by lung diseases and illness. Click here to get the latest updates on Boise’s Air Quality.
Air Quality in Boise| The Allergy Group
- The entire state of Idaho is projected to have a higher than average risk of fires this year.
It’s up to each of us to do our part to prevent forest fires this year in Idaho. To keep people, animals, and our ecosystem safe, stay vigilant and responsible with fireworks, campfires, and other potentially harmful fire-starting items. Idaho is too great to be lost to the flames started by a tossed cigarette butt, dragging trailer, or large campfire.
With an excessive heat wave making its way to the Treasure Valley, our health and safety are facing an increased risk of serious danger along with our natural spaces like the Foothills especially going into the holiday weekend.
How to Stay Cool and Conserve Energy in a Heatwave
On July 28th, 1934, Boise experienced its hottest recorded temperature ever. The National Weather Service predicts temperatures to reach up to 108 degrees. As a result, they've announced an excessive heat warning for Southern Idaho, Southern Oregon, the Central Idaho Mountains, and both the Treasure and Magic Valleys. It will be crucial to keep yourself and our community safe as we ride out the wave.
Idaho Power has begun alerting residents of the Treasure Valley and surrounding areas to begin limiting their power usage during the hours of 4 pm to 9 pm. Here’s their advice on how to do such:
- As comfort and safety allow, turn your thermostat up a few degrees so the A/C isn’t working quite so hard.
- Barbecue, microwave, or use a pressure cooker instead of using an electric range or oven.
- Close doors, windows, and blinds during the late afternoon when the sun is still heating up the house.
- Power down devices (computers, tablets, TVs, and gaming systems) and have a screen-free evening.
- Only use lights in occupied rooms (if needed) and keep the fridge and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
- Save the dishes and laundry for the morning.
- Avoid irrigating or running the sprinklers during these hours, shifting to morning or night if possible
Cooling Shelters in Boise:
- Boise Rescue
- Boise Public Library (downtown)
- Cathedral of The Rockies
- Interfaith Sanctuary
- Corpus Christi
Stay alert with Central District Health
People can also install window film to help prevent up to 55% of heat from entering your home and save up to 40% on utility bills.
Symptoms to monitor during the heatwave:
- Heat Cramps
- Heat Exhaustion
- Heat Stroke
These each are serious and potentially fatal effects of excessive heat. If you or someone you know is experiencing these, contact 911 or seek refuge in a cool location.
Learn more about how to stay safe here:
Extreme Heat | Ready.gov