New fire restrictions for campers

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - New fire restrictions are kicking in this week. Idaho's Bureau of Land Management says its restrictions will go into effect in southwest and central Idaho in popular camping areas like the Boise, Payette and Sawtooth National Forests.

Starting Thursday, you can only start a campfire in areas designated for camping or recreation. If you're at an actual campground, you can have a small campfire, but it has to be in a metal or concrete fire ring provided by the camp site. You cannot make or use your own fire pit.

BLM spokeswoman Mallory Eils says patrols will be out looking for illegal fires, so it's a good idea to plan ahead.

"The area descriptions can be a little vague, and you might not know exactly were you're going, so check with the area you're going first to check on restrictions," Eils said.

And even if your fire is legal, it's important to keep a close eye on it, because even designated areas are at risk of going up in flames.

"Abandoned campfires are a huge cause of wildfires every year," Eils said, "So make sure you have a shovel and bucket of water handy or a fire extinguisher...something to make sure your fire is dead out before you leave is the best way to prevent those kinds of fires"

BLM also recommends clearing out dry grass and brush within ten feet of your fire ring to keep embers from sparking.

Smoking will also be prohibited in restricted areas. People must smoke in their cars or in a designated area.

Violating any of the restrictions could result in a fine of up to $1,000 and even a year in prison.