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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