By ROBERT S. MERRILL
As Franklin County and the rest of Idaho enter into the “dog days of summer” grasses and shrubs both in the valleys and foothills are drying out.
There are no fire restrictions yet on National Forest ground in southeastern Idaho, even though there have been grass fires in the lowlands of Franklin County and several fires in Utah and surrounding states.
“We don’t have any fire restrictions yet on Forest Service land across southeastern Idaho, including Franklin County,” said Dave Duehren, with the regional office in Montpelier.
“But we are encouraging people to use common sense with fires. People in campgrounds need to keep fires small and make sure they are completely out.
“Forest Service lands are still quite green in most places. But in Franklin County, they are really starting to dry out,” he said.
“Folks need to check with our office in Montpelier on a frequent basis to see if there has been any change in the status. Our telephone number is 208-847-0375. This time of year, things can change in a hurry.”
Franklin County Fire Marshal Scott Martin also warned residents and people recreating in Franklin County to use care when building fires from now through the fall.
“We are still issuing burn permits in the county, but they are on a case-by-case basis. We’ve got dry conditions now and there is potential for fires. We had a four-acre grass fire in Clifton last week. We could impose a ban on any open burning at any time. We encourage farmers and others who may do any burning to make sure they have permits and use common sense. The sheriff’s office needs to be notified before a burn starts.”
Martin said those who want to build recreational fires need to do so in a cleared area with a fire ring. It would be a good idea to have a fire extinguisher close by,” he said.
Martin also said it is illegal now for residents of the county to use fireworks. Martin referred to Idaho Code which states, “Nonaerial common fireworks may be sold at retail and used beginning at midnight June 23 and ending at midnight on July 5 and beginning at midnight Dec. 26 and ending at midnight Jan. 1 …”
He also said target shooters need to be cautious because of the potential for fires started from ammunition when conditions are dry.
“Those in vehicles should be aware that hot exhaust systems can start fires, so be careful with vehicle parking. Motorized travel off of designated roads/ trails is prohibited,” he said.
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