Friday, August 2, 2013

Lightning ignites new fires

Lodgepole Fire grows to biggest in state

Express Staff Writer

On Wednesday, the same day that the Fir Grove Fire south of Fairfield was declared extinguished, five new fires were ignited by lighting not far south of the Wood River Valley.
    Spread of the Fir Grove Fire was stopped Tuesday evening after burning 7,143 acres of brush just west of state Highway 46 between Gooding and Fairfield. No buildings were damaged, though one power pole of an Idaho Power line to Hailey was partly burned. On Sunday, the day the fire began, power on the line was diverted to a second, redundant, line to the east that also serves the Wood River Valley. Idaho Power spokesman Brad Bowlin said the damaged pole was replaced and power was restored Monday afternoon.
    But lightning storms Wednesday evening ignited 14 new brushfires in south-central Idaho, including five near Shoshone. They are:
l The Millerd Fire, five miles east of Shoshone. It grew to 706 acres before it was declared contained Wednesday at midnight by the Shoshone Rural Fire Department
l The Three Well Fire, five miles southwest of Shoshone. It burned 684 acres before being declared contained Thursday morning.
l The Red Bridge Fire, eight miles southeast of Shoshone. It burned 81 acres before being declared contained Thursday morning.
l The Red Bridge 2 Fire, also eight miles southeast of Shoshone. It spread to 240 acres before being declared contained Thursday morning.
l The Southeast Red Bridge Fire, two miles southeast of Red Bridge. It burned 1,500 acres by Thursday, at which time the BLM had not issued an estimated containment date.
    Two major forest fires are still spreading in the mountains of central Idaho—the Lodgepole Fire 10 miles west of Challis and the Papoose Fire, burning along the western side of the lower Middle Fork of the Salmon River.
    The Lodgepole Fire grew to 20,080 acres by Thursday, though there was little spread on Wednesday. The lightning-caused fire is currently the biggest in Idaho and is estimated at being only 15 percent contained. Attack on the fire is being carried out by 770 firefighters, seven helicopters, 22 engines and three dozers.
    Fire activity and acreage gain was also minimal on the Papoose Fire on Wednesday, with an increase of just nine acres from the day before. The lightning-caused fire, detected July 8, has burned 9,448 acres of brush and small stands of timber in rugged, inaccessible terrain above the river downstream from Big Creek.
    Thunderstorms with gusty winds were forecast for central Idaho on Thursday.

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