Fire restrictions lifted

By Cameron Rasmusson
Reader Staff

Just about everyone greeted the turn from blazing heat to cool, rainy weather this week with a sigh of relief. But forest firefighters aren’t out of the woods just yet, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

First, the good news: Fire restrictions have been lifted across North Idaho. That means campfires and off-road vehicle use are permissible once again and woodcutters can harvest firewood after 1 p.m. without any worries. According to Jason Kirchner of the U.S. Forest Service, the shift to consistent rain over the weekend significantly relaxed worries about new fire starts.

On the other hand, firefighters will likely be fighting fires for the near future, or at least until the weather shifts completely into new seasonal trends.

“We still have a lot of fire in the landscape,” Kirchner said. “It’s just not spreading.”

Kirchner estimates the number of fire personnel in the field hasn’t changed much this week. On the contrary, as some fires become more controlled, firefighters are likely just being shuffled to the next blaze.

“This goes to show that with a natural disaster, these things depend very heavily on the weather,” Kirchner said.

Indeed, the only thing that will stop fires is likely a complete shift in weather trend. Once low temperatures and higher precipitation become the norm for the region, Kirchner said North Idaho will finally be able to kiss a devastating 2015 fire season goodbye.

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