Illegal campfires threaten an already difficult fire season
Boise National Forest officials are increasingly concerned with the high number of campfires found in violation of the Stage 1 fire restrictions currently in effect.
Illegal campfires have been discovered in widespread areas of the northern forest, particularly in the Middle Fork Payette River and South Fork Salmon River areas.
“With the forest experiencing record dry conditions and the large number of lightning-caused fires currently being fought in the region, we need to take human-caused fires off our plates,” said Cecilia Seesholtz, Boise National Forest Supervisor. “We can’t keep lightning from starting fires, but the public can really help us minimize human caused fires by following the fire restrictions.”
The restrictions, implemented August 1st, are intended to decrease the chance of any preventable fires within the designated lands.
Under the Stage 1 Fire Restrictions, the following acts are prohibited on the Boise National Forest and other specified state and federally managed lands, roads and trails:
- Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or stove fire except within an agency designated fee recreation site, and in those sites only within an agency provided structure, or on their own land, and only within an owner-provided structure.
- Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle, building or designated recreations site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.
“Metal fire rings often found at forest undeveloped recreation sites are not approved campfire locations since they are not within a designated fee campground. Neither are established campfire rock rings,” said Bob Shindelar, Boise NF Fire Chief. “Citizens think they are, but they are dangerous to use with our current extreme fire conditions and are actually illegal.”
Violations of the restrictions are punishable of a fine not more than $5000 for an individual, $10,000 for an organization, and/or imprisonment for not more than six months. In addition, persons found responsible for starting a fire may be required to pay the suppression and rehabilitation costs.