Elected Officials Meet in Idaho Falls to Prepare for Wildfire Season

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Updated: 6/26/2014 3:28 pm

As we approach the two year anniversary of the Charlotte
Fire, agencies met in Idaho Falls to discuss lessons learned from that fire and
how they can best prepare themselves for a similar fast moving fire in the
Upper Valley.

“We don’t very often interact with federal agencies or other
state agencies,” said Tom Lenderink, Director of Emergency Management for
Bonneville County. “In a wildfire situation, it’s going to be a little
different and that interaction, that interplay will be key.”

That’s why a special conference was held in Bonneville
County for an exclusive club. The purpose of this is to make sure elected
officials can affectively work together during a wildfire crisis. And with the
recent growth along the foothills above Idaho Falls, the threat of a devastating
wildfire has never been greater.

“There’s a substantial area out in there that is in part of
that zone that looks just like open prairie and that’s really what it is, or
sagebrush,” said Lenderink. “It’s a lot of property that could burn very
rapidly and cause a serious problem for the area.”

While the purpose of the meeting was to make sure our
elected officials are all the same page, the best defense often starts with the

“They talk about defensible space and that is key for home
and business owners to develop a defensible space around your home and your
business,” continued Lenderink. “Everybody likes the wild land appearance and
the big trees and all that and it’s beautiful to look at but it’s a horrible
thing to look at when it’s burning next to your house or business.”  

On top of having defensible space, they are also encouraging
you to have a plan in case of evacuation.

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