What to Expect
Wildfire is a natural part of the ecosystem in the Treasure Valley. Each summer you can expect smoke from nearby fires to affect air quality in the region. (Source) Nearby fires may also impact travel around the Treasure Valley, and to popular destinations like the Sawtooth Mountains.
Most people are not aware that wind-blown embers are the main cause of homes igniting during a wildfire. Dry, flammable debris like leaves in your gutters or branches on your roof can ignite long before the actual fire gets close. With some simple maintenance and regular clean-up around your home, these risks can be drastically reduced.
The foothills surrounding the Treasure Valley could catch fire and threaten people and property. In 2016, the Table Rock Fire burned nearly 2,500 acres and destroyed one home. It was started by an aerial firework. Read more about the fire here.
In 2008, the Oregon Trail Fire destroyed 20 homes and led to the death of Boise State University professor Mary Ellen Ryder. Read more about this fire here.
There is a heightened risk of floods and landslides after wildfire. Wildfire can cause significant vegetation loss and expose highly-erosive soil, creating the conditions for a landslide. Such landslides are also called post-fire debris flows. Several of these debris flows struck Boise in 1959. You can watch When the Pot Boiled Over to learn more. You can also hear local geomorphologist and BSU Professor Dr. Jen Pierce discuss these events and the risk of future debris flows in this conversation with Idaho Matters.