TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Wildlife officials in Idaho have closed some forest areas statewide, affecting hunters and other recreationists during record-breaking fires across the West.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game announced closures south of Twin Falls in the Sawtooth National Forest, affecting big game hunts for hundreds with tags for deer, elk and pronghorn, the Boise State Public Radio reported.
More than 139 square miles (360 square kilometers) have burned in the region.
“Over the past decade, we’ve kind of learned to deal with it and adapt and go other places,” Backcountry Hunters and Anglers CEO Land Tawney said. The Montana-based outdoors organization focuses on protecting public lands for hunting and fishing.
“I think that’s one of the great things about public lands, in particular, is that you can pick up camp and go someplace else.”
Fires can improve landscapes and wildlife habitats but poor forest management and climate change have made fire behaviors unpredictable, Tawney said, adding that it could affect hunters even after the fire is out because of unstable trees.
“You have to worry about widowmakers from all the trees that are left,” he said, “so sometimes those have been shut down even after the fire is out.”
The U.S. Forest Service has also implemented closures this year in the Payette National Forest and the Boise National Forest because of nearby fires.
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