It looks like we will be breathing smoke for the rest of the summer. According to our local news station, there are 17 major wildfires burning in the state. 850,000 acres already burned this year! This is more than double any other state in the country.
The Forest Service Active Fire Maps have all of the details. So far 5 Idaho counties have been declared disaster areas. A number of small towns and ranches are currently threatened, specifically by the Murphy Complex and the East Zone Complex fires.
If only it were humans who suffered the majority of the negative impacts of these fires of our creation. Unfortunately, two endangered species are becoming more endangered by the Murphy Complex fire. Both became endangered due to our over grazing practices, now they are becoming more endangered due to fire spurred on by global warming. Some are arguing that more grazing would help decrease the fire risk. This is a common argument in this area after any rangeland fire. Ralph's Wildlife News hosts a discussion on why this assumption is totally bogus.
All we can hope for now is cooler, more humid and wet weather in the short term, and a heavy winter/cool spring next year.