June 25, 2008

BLM: Fireworks Illegal on All Idaho Public Lands

By The Times-News, Twin Falls, Idaho

Jun. 25--Fireworks are once again illegal to use or possess on the nearly 12 million acres of Idaho public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the agency announced Tuesday.

The order, meant to protect the lands from human-caused wildfires, has been issued for several years in a row and supplements more permanent regulations on areas managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Idaho Department of Lands.

An above-normal snowpack and a mild spring have kept fire season in check so far. But BLM officials warned that vegetation is drying up quickly in the recent warm weather.

"We want to do everything possible to reduce the number of wildfires across the state of Idaho," BLM State Director Tom Dyer said.

The order also prohibits the use of incendiary or tracer ammunition and explosive materials, including exploding targets. Every year, both legal and illegal fireworks account for dozens of wildfires across Idaho. In some western states, all fireworks are illegal year-round.

Violation of the order is a Class A misdemeanor, and subjects can be cited and fined and can serve jail time. In addition, violators who start a wildfire can be held liable for all suppression and damage costs. The order will remain in effect until Oct. 20.

Unlike the Forest Service, the BLM ban is not written into its national regulations. BLM officials will evaluate the effectiveness of the order over the winter and, if appropriate, may issue it again next year.


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