Idaho’s economy and population are heavily exposed to fires, both literally and figuratively. Numerous factors make the state exceptionally vulnerable to the effects of wildfire. In a literal sense, a large share of Idaho’s population lives in areas with no barriers against forested areas, giving a potential fire an easy conduit to burn from the forest to residential areas. According to analysis of U.S. Census data, this makes Idaho’s population the most vulnerable of any state when it comes to wildfires. In addition, the size and importance of Idaho’s recreation and logging industries make local economies susceptible to damage from wildfires.
2015 has been a severe year for forest fires. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (https://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/nfn.htm), fires across the nation in 2015 have burned three times the acreage as the 2014 fire season did. In fact, year-to-date, 2015 is the second worst fire season in the past decade.