Idaho avoids bad wildfire season with quick responses, luck

Idaho Governor Brad Little says the state appears to have avoided a tough wildfire season so far with a combination of quick responses by state and federal firefighters and good luck with weather.

The Republican governor said an early plan forced by the coronavirus pandemic to quickly attack all wildfires appears to have paid off. Avoiding large wildfires meant avoiding large accumulations of firefighters where the virus could spread.

Officials say wildfires that Idaho is responsible for fighting have burned about 6 square miles, only 18% of the 20-year average. The number of wildfires started is 217, which is 82% of the 20-year average.

Of those 217 wildfires, 169 were started by humans and 48 by lightning.

The National Interagency Fire Center says another 220 square miles of mostly U.S. Forest Service Land in Idaho have burned this year. Much of that is the Woodhead Fire burning in western Idaho, which has grown to about 110 square miles and is 32% contained.

State officials say wildfire-fighting expenses so far for the state are about $19 million. Idaho has about $45 million available to spend on firefighting costs. (AP)