Letters from the West

Idaho taxpayers face high bill for firefighting

Idaho taxpayers face a $50 million bill for firefighting so far this year.

So far wildfires have burned 726,000 acres across ownerships and 69,000 acres burned within the 6.2 million acres where the state in responsible for fire protection. The overall cost for firefighting within this area was $67 million but the state expects to get gets reimbursed $17 million for fire on the federal lands within the area.

Wildfire burned 27,000 acres of Idaho endowment lands and 119,000 acres of private land. Wild fire burned 340,000 acres of national forest lands and 226,000 acres of public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

The largest of these fires, the Clearwater Complex around Kamiah, burned 47,000 acres and has cost $27 million so far.

"That's been our largest most expensive fire," said David Groeschl, Idaho State Forester in a report to the Land Board.