By Ruth Brown, Idaho Reports
The Idaho Board of Land Commissioners heard the final fire season update on Tuesday, with 2023 proving to be an unremarkable fire year with 284 total wildfires in the state.
Of the 284 wildfires in 2023, all but 78 of them were human-caused, according to Idaho Department of Lands Director Dustin Miller. In total, 2,582 acres burned this year, most of which was on U.S. Forest Service land. That’s nearly half of the acreage burned in 2022, and only a fraction of the historic fire season in 2021, which burned 141,981 acres in Idaho.
As of Oct. 10, Miller said the estimated expense will be about $22 million, with $4.6 million of that being reimbursable. Expenses are reimbursable when IDL firefighters assist other agencies in outside districts or states. That leaves the state with an obligation of about $17.3 million in expenses.
The rate of fire occurrence in 2023 is within 99 percent of the state’s 20-year average, but the number of acres burned is only 10 percent of the 20-year average.