Fire season is noticeably alive and well in the western United States. According to fire maps found online, there are presently close to 20 wildfires burning alone in the states of Idaho, Oregon, and California, and a large percentage of them have been caused by human beings.

Human actions cause the majority of fires in the world. Fireworks, guns, smoking, chains dragging from trucks, campfires, burn piles, and arson are all common starters of grassland and wildfires. When home and business owners prepare to burn debris on a city-mandated day, certain preparations must be made to avoid causing a fire.

In the Gem State, it's estimated that one in five (20%) fires are caused by Idahoans burning discarded waste, tree trimmings, and other materials found throughout a property, according to The careless handling of campfires and burn piles results in nearly half of the fires being caused by humans, which is ultimately responsible for millions of acres of loss, human casualties, and displaced homeowners.

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An illegal firework set off by someone weeks after the Fourth of July celebration is thought to have resulted in a Twin Falls fire that cost one of my neighbors their garage. The Polk Street fire earlier this week is still under investigation.

We need to be much more careful in Idaho when burning debris, and never start a burn pile near or under branches of trees. Having a hose nearby, clearing potential accelerants from the burn area, and preventing flames from getting too large are all recommendations by state fire officials.

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