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A success story: Fire prevention along Interstate 84 in Idaho pays off nicely

by Bill Gabbert, Wildfire Today |

In order to deal with an increasing number of wildfires that were starting along Interstate 84 southeast of Boise, Idaho, the Bureau of Land Management worked with local cooperators to establish a fuel-modification program along the highway.

Their first action, during 2007 to 2012, was to reduce the existing vegetation by mowing, constructing fuel breaks, and establishing perennial grasses to reduce invasive annuals in the right of way adjacent to the interstate. It is a small sample size but during this period there was little significant change in the annual acres burned, average fire size, or the number of fires.

During 2013 to 2019, the treatment strategy also included reestablishment of the gravel apron along the edge of the pavement surface to a minimum of 12 feet. The implementation required years of adaptive management and hard work, but the effort is producing results: average fire size for the last seven years has been reduced 95 percent even though traffic flow increased by more than 30 percent.