Slow fire season start in Idaho Panhandle opens opportunity to prepare

Idaho Panhandle fire low
Courtesy: United States Department of Agriculture

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — Fire season is off to a slow start in the Idaho Panhandle, giving the opportunity to discuss ways to prepare and prevent wildfires in the area.

Above-average snowpack and the spring rain have led to a delay to fire season in the area, but that does not mean wildfires aren’t happening. Over the last week, The Idaho Panhandle National Forests has responded to 12 wildfire starts.

Most of those fires were started by lightning, but some have been from abandoned campfires. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that human-made wildfires make up 87 percent of total wildfires each year.

Many of these wildfires happen near roads, communities and recreational areas, which threatens public safety.

READ: ‘As prepared as we’re going to be’: Drier, hotter conditions could cause more fires this weekend

The USDA has some tips they want you to follow to help prevent wildfires.

Even in wet conditions, never leave a campfire by itself.

You can also follow the “drown, stir and feel” method. First, drown the fire with water and then stir around the fire area to wet any extra ambers and ash. While stirring, be sure to turn over wood and coals over and wet all sides. You should also move dirt on the site of the fire to fully smother it.

Lastly, feel the area of the fire with the back of your hand to make sure nothing else is smoldering.

To report a wildfire in the Idaho Panhandle area, you can call 208-772-3283 or 911. For information on current wildfires on the IPNF, you can call the Fire Info Line at 202-557-8813.

You can find more information and tips at

RELATED: Get wildfire alerts with 4 News Now’s ‘Fire Watch’ email newsletter