Idaho fire season ends better than 2021, despite September heat wave
By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports
Despite the September heat wave, the 2022 fire season nears an end with a significantly lower price tag than the previous summer, according to the Department of Lands.
In a State Board of Land Commissioners meeting on Tuesday morning, Idaho Department of Lands Director Dustin Miller said a late spring delayed the start of the fire season and moisture provided better conditions for firefighting.
As of Oct. 11, fire expenditures were set to come in at $25.7 million for 2022, down from 2021’s record-breaking $74.6 million price tag.
The Emergency Suppression Account will recover an estimated $8.5 million of reimbursable costs, leaving the state with an obligation of about $17.14 million.
This fire season, 414,997 acres burned across Idaho, but the majority of that was U.S. Forest Service land.
Idaho’s fire restrictions have been lifted and the fire danger is expected to remain average for the rest of the month, according to Miller.
Idaho’s fire occurrence in 2022 is 95% of the 20-year average, while the acres burned is 18% of the 20-year average.
Compared to the prior year, in the 2021 fire season, the number of wildfires in the state hit 131% above the 20-year average, while the number of acres burned was 565% above the 20-year average.
The largest fire of the summer was the Moose Fire, outside Salmon, burning more than 130,000 acres of public and private land.