Blazing Awareness: Wildfire Preparedness Month in Idaho

As Idaho braces itself for another wildfire season, Governor Brad Little has designated May as Wildfire Preparedness Month. This declaration aims to raise awareness and readiness among residents, emphasizing the importance of proactive measures to mitigate wildfire risks.

With communities expanding into the wildland-urban interface, more residents are exposed to wildfire impacts. In fact, there is no county in the state without a significant wildland fire hazard. Data from FEMA and NOAA show that Idaho experiences about seven wildfire events each year, with the possibility of increased frequency due to climate change impacts.

Given the longer and more intense wildfire seasons, the Idaho Office of Emergency Management (IOEM) offers preparedness tips and encourages all Idahoans to remain vigilant and ready.

“Wildfires are oftentimes unplanned fires that give little warning and can spread quickly devastating wildlife, land, and communities,” said IOEM Director Brad Richy. “It is important to be ready at a moment’s notice.”

Wildfire Preparedness Measures:

      • Making a Plan: Ensure household members understand evacuation procedures, develop evacuation plans for workplaces and schools, and practice evacuation drills regularly.

      • Strengthening Your Home: Utilize fire-resistant materials, identify outdoor water sources with hoses, establish a 30-foot fire-resistant zone around homes, and designate sealed rooms for smoky conditions.

      • Gathering Supplies: Stock up on essentials in a go bag, including a first aid kit, non-perishable food, water, phone charger, pet supplies, medication and N95 masks for smoke protection.

    Wildfire Preparedness Month Events:

    IOEM Wildfire Mitigation Actions

    IOEM implements several mitigation strategies that address wildfire hazards across the state. These strategies are designed to not only reduce the risk and impact of wildfires but also foster resilience within communities. Some key mitigation efforts include:

      • Promoting Statewide Consistency for Local Plans: IOEM works to promote consistency in the hazard mitigation planning process at the local level. By providing guidance and resources, IOEM ensures that local communities and jurisdictions develop mitigation plans that effectively address wildfire risks while adhering to statewide standards.

      • Developing a Statewide Approach to Modeling and Mapping: IOEM recognizes the importance of accurate modeling and mapping of wildfire hazards, both current and projected. By developing a statewide approach to this process, IOEM aims to provide communities with valuable data and insights to inform their mitigation efforts and land-use planning decisions.

      • Utilizing ArcGIS StoryMaps: To enhance communication and transparency, IOEM displays approved State Hazard Mitigation Plan (SHMP) and mitigation success stories on ArcGIS StoryMaps. This interactive platform allows stakeholders to access information about mitigation projects, their outcomes, and the overall progress of statewide mitigation efforts.

      • Providing Community Resilience Action Planning Assistance: IOEM offers assistance to communities in developing resilience action plans that promote cooperation, collaboration, and informed decision-making. These plans are interdisciplinary and solutions-oriented, taking into account the unique needs and challenges of each community. By creating equitable decision-making processes, IOEM ensures that stakeholders have a voice in shaping resilient communities that can withstand and recover from wildfire events.

    By staying informed, prepared, and vigilant, you can significantly reduce the risks associated with wildfires to reduce the risks associated with wildfires and protect themselves and their properties.

    For more information on preparing for a wildfire event, visit the following resources: