COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — Efforts aimed at cracking down on man-made fires on Tubbs Hill appear to be working.
According to the Coeur d'Alene Police Department, only one fire has been reported at the popular park near downtown recently. That compares to eight fires reported in 2015.
Jay Wilhelm, a CDAPD spokesman, said the recent fire was "juvenile" related.
"Additionally, there was extra and directed patrol in the downtown area throughout the summer. The extra patrol was a directed 'foot' patrol, hence the possible reason for the lack of unwanted activity," wrote Wilhelm in an email to KREM.
In 2016, city leaders vowed to crack down on both fires and illegal campsites on Tubbs Hill. Two of the 2015 fires were attributed to transient camps, the city said at the time.
"It is one of the jewels of our park system. It's 120 acres of pristine forest and we want to keep it that way," said then-deputy city administrator Sam Taylor in 2016.
City parks staff and police subsequently started routine patrols at the park in 2016. The move was also prompted by reports of illegal campers making shelters on Tubbs.
It's not entirely clear if the patrols have been effective in deterring campers.
Coeur d'Alene Parks and Recreation Director Bill Greenwood didn't immediately return a call seeking comment regarding Tubbs Hill on Friday.
Longtime Tubbs Hill walker Kim Ashbaugh, who also lives near the park, provided KREM with photos of campsites she found on Tubbs this year. One photo showed a couple of tents and trash in a shaded area of the forested park. Another photo depicted a bible that had been lit on fire. Ashbaugh said she had contacted authorities regarding the camps she had found.
"I think the response by the city has been much quicker than years past, but the amount of campsites are about the same," she said in a message to KREM.