With fires already burning on the Boise National Forest, officials are increasing restrictions in an effort to keep even more from starting.
Forest officials announced earlier today that Phase II fire restrictions
are now in effect for the Boise, Payette and Sawtooth National Forests. Basically this means no open flames on the forest, including campfires, field burning or any open burning of any kind.
Additionally: Smoking is banned outside an enclosed vehicle or building; all motorized vehicles must be on designated roads and trails; all chainsaws or other motorized equipment must have spark arresters, and anyone using this equipment must patrol the are for at least an hour before leaving; and blasting and welding cannot be done between 1 p.m. and 1 a.m.
The whole point is to try to keep the firefighters working on the fires they have ... rather than jumping off them to deal with initial strikes on human-caused fires, said Kristy Bryner, fire information officer.
Campers are still allowed to cook with propane or white gas.
There are spotty closures
across all three forests, as well as across the state. Bryner said anyone still hoping to do some camping this weekend should head to the southern end of the forest (south of Idaho City). Currently, only the Boiling Springs and Stolle Meadows campgrounds are closed, although the threat of more dry lightning forecasted for Friday could change the situation quickly, Bryner said.
The Trapper Ridge Fire has burned 11,159 acres on the Boise National Forest, while the Cascade Complex is up to 11,981 acres and is only 2 percent contained. The Middle Fork Complex has burned 5,900 acres and is 20 percent contained.
The Murphy Complex fires, south of Twin Falls continues to be the largest in the nation, having burned 649,131 acres. The fire is now 37 percent contained.