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Idaho Sends Bill To Family for White Bird WildFire

People do need to be held accountable.

Idaho Sends Bill To Family for White Bird WildFire

Idaho Sends Bill To Family for White Bird WildFire

by Shari Dovale

The Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) completed its investigation into the cause of the Whitebird Fire that started July 7 and burned more than 420 acres of grazing land and brush in the Idaho County town of White Bird.

Fire investigators determined a juvenile started the fire while igniting a mortar-style firework in very dry fuels.

Idaho law requires any person willfully or negligently igniting a fire on forest or range land in Idaho to be billed for the costs of suppressing the fire. (Idaho Code 38-107)

Lighting mortar shells and fireworks or throwing away lighted material such as cigarettes in forests or rangeland during the closed fire season constitutes negligent behavior (Idaho Code 38-117), so IDL sent a bill for the cost of suppressing the White bird Fire – amounting to $84,500 – to the parent of the juvenile.

“People, not lightning, have started more than two-thirds of the fires on lands protected by the Idaho Department of Lands so far this year,” State Forester David Groeschl said. “Fire managers strongly encourage Idahoans of all ages to be careful not to start needless wildfires that threaten lives, property, and resources.”

IDL fire investigations have resulted in a number of suppression bills sent to private individuals or businesses over the years.


Year Number of suppression bills
2013 10
2014 6
2015 4
2016 6

This brings to mind other fires, such as the Columbia River Gorge Wildfire that is believed to have been started by kids throwing firecrackers.

I felt like I was in a nightmare because these kids were not reacting the way I felt normal people would react. It was all very frustrating.” ~Portland resident Liz FitzGerald

The current mindset of the country indicates that the youth do not seem to understand the concept of consequences to their actions. And why should they, when they can sit back and be praised with a ‘participation trophy’ for just showing up to an event?

A society of handouts, of not having to work for your keep, of allowing the government to make your decisions for you, fosters this behavior by not setting boundaries and expected behavior for it’s citizens.

We are a nation of laws. There are boundaries. People do need to be held accountable. It is appropriate that these bills are sent out. They should be held liable for their actions, and that of the youth they are raising.


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5 Comments on Idaho Sends Bill To Family for White Bird WildFire

  1. Gee, Ms. Dovale. What you are describing is Big Government. An institution that 1) mobilizes the firefighting; 2) determines who set the fire; 3) sends the bill to the family responsible.
    Yet you write for a publication that hates big government.

      • Not to mention that paying taxes to have a Fire Department is itself like pooling money similar to insurance. What is the point of paying taxes to have a Fire Department if you are then billed if you have a fire?

        Communal response to fires has a very important history, both from a personal responsibility aspect and from fire fighting.

        Bucket brigades, church bell alarms, burned flesh as the men and women got to close to the fire trying to put it out,

        “The following February, Putnam and his Rangers were still on Roger’s Island when fire broke out in the row of barracks nearest the magazine. The danger of an explosion was imminent, but Putnam took a position on the roof and poured bucket after bucket of water upon the flames, only descending when the buildings fell only a few feet from the magazine. In spite of his severe wounds, he continued to fight the fire, dashing water upon the magazine until the fire was under control. He was laid up for a month due to burns and exposure.”

        The Mayflower almost blew up in London when a kid fired a black powder pistol in the same room where the powder barrels were and started a minor fire. No Mayflower means the whole Pilgrims saga would not have occurred.

        Usually, this quote is used as a warning against government…but in this case fire takes the lead:
        “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force. Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.” – George Washington

        Fire is indeed a dangerous servant and a fearful master…guarding against and fighting fires locally should be right up their with Militia duty.

  2. Shush! The Gubmint knows best and if you stand up too often well your just going to be made an example of as the terrorist you COULD be?
    The good book according to many preachers says to do everything Brother Gubmint says ( I think Romans 13 is what I hear most)or they’ll drive a tank through your house for a traffic statute or heaven forbid ! Take your I.R.S. program 501c-3 tax exemption away sciences or circumstances be damned.

  3. I agree about consequences; but I would expand that to include federal personnel responsible for fire damage. for example, a couple of years ago, a fire started in the Owyhee country, federal employees went out in the evening, looked at the fire and decided action could wait until morning. Of course, one of the unexpected Owyhee winds came up and by mornng thee fire was out of control and ended up burning hundreds of thousands of acreds. Now the winds are so unecpected that they have to be counted in to any reasoning as to fire fighting. So how about consequences for those people who misjudged and the country and its ranchers and we taxpayes paid the price.

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