In July 2022, an unextinguished campfire burning next to the Salmon River grew to become the Moose Fire, or 141,766 acres of scorched federal and private land. (Courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service)
With the Fourth of July right around the corner, energy providers and forest officials are reminding Idahoans to take caution to prevent power outages and forest fires.
In a press release Tuesday, Idaho Power asked its customers to stay safe and prevent power outages this Fourth of July that could be caused by wildfires sparked by fireworks.
To prevent power outages, Idaho Power recommends Idahoans:
- Keep a bucket of water nearby when lighting fireworks.
- Avoid using fireworks near dry vegetation and flammable materials.
- Consider using safer options like glow sticks instead of sparklers.
- Keep a safe distance from overhead power lines and electrical equipment — like the green transformer boxes in neighborhoods — when setting up fireworks.
For people who are camping or traveling for the holiday, Idaho Power said people can reduce the risk of wildfire if they:
- Monitor and obey fire restrictions.
- Use designated fire rings at campgrounds.
- Fully extinguish campfires after use.
- Never park or start vehicles on dry grass.
- Check trailer tires for proper air pressure and make sure the rubber is in good condition.
After last year’s Moose Fire, Salmon-Challis National Forest prepares to prevent fires
Like all national forests, the Salmon-Challis National Forest receives an influx of visitors each Fourth of July throughout its 87 campgrounds with fishing and hiking spots.
While most of the Salmon‐Challis National Forest campgrounds are available on a first come‐first served basis, some campgrounds may charge an overnight or day use fee where improved facilities and services are provided.
Depending on where campers choose to camp, potable water may not be available in spaces outside of a developed campground.
In a press release Monday, forest officials reminded visitors to take steps to prevent forest fires.
The Salmon-Challis National Forest has experienced multiple large fires in the last 10 years, and last year was no exception. Last summer, an unextinguished campfire burning next to the Salmon River grew to become the Moose Fire, or 141,766 acres of scorched federal and private land.
According to a report from the U.S. Forest Service, last year’s Moose Fire resulted in an increased risk of hillslope erosion, rockfall, hazard trees, high flows and debris flows for campers for the next three to five years. The Forest Service recommends visitors use caution when traveling to areas adjacent to burned areas, particularly Salmon River Road.
“While the Salmon‐Challis National Forest looks green, fire danger is a key concern,” the press release said. “Fires can start quickly and will burn in vegetation that seems green but is drying out, especially in the lower elevations. Remember, if it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave; pour water and add dirt to your campfire until it is cold.”
Fireworks are prohibited on all national forests year-round, regardless of weather conditions or holidays. Violators are subject to a citation and fine with a maximum penalty of $5,000 or up to six months in jail.
Anyone who starts a wildfire can be held liable for substantial suppression costs, according to the press release.
For information about the Salmon-Challis National Forest, visit the Forest Service website or call the Public Lands Center in Salmon at 208‐756‐5100.
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