Continued dry conditions and unseasonably high fire danger statewide have prompted State of Idaho fire managers to extend the period required under law to obtain a fire safety burn permit for certain controlled burn activities.

The Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) will extend “closed fire season” until further notice.

Closed fire season begins May 10 and usually extends through Oct. 20 every year. Idaho law (38-115) requires any person living outside city limits anywhere in Idaho who plans to burn anything – including crop residue burning and excluding recreational campfires – during closed fire season to obtain a fire safety burn permit.

“Even though it’s the middle of October, conditions are expected to be warm and dry enough across Idaho to ignite a wildfire that can easily escape initial attack,” State Forester David Groeschl said. “Requiring fire safety burn permits past Oct. 20 for certain controlled burn activities enables fire managers to set parameters for the types of burning allowed in certain areas that are still at risk for wildfire.”

By October, there also are fewer firefighters, equipment, and aircraft available to respond to a controlled burn if it escapes.

The fire safety burn permit system informs fire managers where burning activities are occurring, reducing the number of false runs to fires and saving firefighting resources for instances in which they are truly needed. It also enables fire managers to respond more quickly to fires that escape, potentially reducing the liability of the burner if their fire escapes.

Fire safety burn permits can be obtained online at http://www.burnpermits.idaho.gov or in person at IDL offices statewide. The fire safety burn permit is free of charge and good for 10 days after it is issued. Permits issued through the self-service web site are available seven days a week, issued immediately, and valid immediately.

If there are other burning restrictions in effect or additional or alternate permits required, the fire safety burn permit web site will provide instructions for Idahoans on how to contact those entities.

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