Preparedness level drops as wildfires demand fewer resources

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - The national preparedness level dropped to three on the National Multi-Agency Coordination Group's five-point scale, meaning wildfires across the country are using fewer resources.

A few weeks ago, the number was raised to five at the same time crews were battling the Beaver Creek Fire. That was the highest level since 2008.

"The tempo of the fire season is starting to shift, it's starting to lessen a little bit," said National Interagency Fire Center spokesman Ken Frederick, "so we're seeing more crews freed up, fewer needs for air tankers and engines and helicopters and things like that."

About 11,000 firefighters were working wildfires nationwide on Labor Day. That's down from 20,000 at the peak of the fire season. Half of the 50 large fires tying up resources in August have been put out. Just 24 were burning Monday.

The hubbub of activity at NIFC, the federal agency headquartered in Boise that coordinates wildfire resources, has died down. Three air tankers were parked on the tarmack Monday afternoon even though those airplanes were in the air most afternoons last month.

There are still 1,200 firefighters working on Idaho's wildfires.