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Fire restrictions easing, caution still necessary

August 28, 2023

Recent precipitation and cooler temperatures have lowered fire danger across the Idaho panhandle, prompting public, state, and tribal land managers to move from Stage II to Stage I fire restrictions in the Coeur d’Alene Dispatch Zone at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, August 30. Fire restrictions are intended to decrease the chance of any preventable fires in the designated areas.

Under the Stage I Fire Restrictions, the following acts are prohibited until further notice:
  1. Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire except within a designated recreation site, or on their own land, and only within an owner-provided fire structure.
  2. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle, building or designated recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.

Stage I Exemptions: (An exemption does not absolve an individual or organization from liability or responsibility for any fire started by the exempted activity.)
  1. Persons with a written permit that specifically authorizes the otherwise prohibited act.
  2. Persons using a fire solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels. Such devices, including propane campfires, may be used only in an area cleared of flammable material.
  3. Persons using stove fires with a chimney of at least five feet in length and employing a spark arrester with a maximum mesh screen opening of ¼ inch.

The Coeur d’Alene Dispatch Zone is comprised of all state, state endowment, federal, tribal, and private forestland and rangeland in Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties. This also includes National Forest System lands in Washington and Montana that are administered by the Idaho Panhandle National Forests. Fire restrictions are coordinated by agencies managing lands or providing wildland fire protection in the area, including the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, Idaho Department of Lands (IDL), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).

Although several fires in the northern panhandle are still active, the recent precipitation and decreased temperatures have lowered fire danger and other indices that inform the need for restrictions. While campfires will now be allowed in permanent fire rings on designated recreation sites and private land, hunters, and recreationists are urged to continue to use caution. Never leave a campfire unattended, and make sure it is cold to the touch before walking away.

As a reminder, you should never use fireworks on state and private forestland and rangeland and on public lands, roads, and trails. Possession and/or use of fireworks is always prohibited on federal public lands. Burn permits are required for debris burning during closed fire season (May 10-October 20) and will be issued as conditions allow; currently, no burn permits are being issued for the Coeur d’Alene Fire Restriction Area.

Contact your local Idaho Department of Lands office for specific information, or see http://burnpermits.idaho.gov.

Questions or Comments? Send us an email!

Mike Weland, Publisher

6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 295-1016

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