Blaine fires consume 4,500 acres
Mop-up planned for completion Tuesday
"It was seven hours of pretty tough
fire fighting. It was light, flashy fuels. No timber. There was some sagebrush."
— BART LASSMAN, Wood River Fire and
By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer
Two human-caused wildfires exploded Sunday
afternoon in southern Blaine County, singeing 4,500 acres of sagebrush and
Bureau of Land Management fire crews
tackle a wildfire Sunday afternoon along Highway 75, southeast of Timmerman
Junction. Express photo by Willy Cook
No buildings or homes were claimed, and
both fires were anticipated to be completely out by the evening of Tuesday, Aug.
The 3,000-acre Timmerman Fire started
along Highway 75 southeast of the highway’s intersection with U.S. 20. It is
believed to have been started by an automobile, said Bureau of Land Management
Fire Information Officer Sky Huffaker. The fire began around 3:30 Sunday.
The 1,500-acre Foothills Fire began near
Queen’s Crown, west of Carey, around 4 p.m., and was believed to have been
started by a power line or transformer failure, Huffaker said.
Fire crews from the BLM, Wood River Fire
and Rescue, Bellevue and Carey Rural Fire Department helped quell the flames,
and both fires were considered contained by early Tuesday morning. Remaining
mop-up crews were expected to leave the scenes Tuesday night.
"It was seven hours of pretty tough fire
fighting," said Wood River Fire and Rescue Chief Bart Lassman. "It was light,
flashy fuels. No timber. There was some sagebrush."
A wildfire on the back side of Queen’s
Crown Butte forced the temporary closure Sunday afternoon of U.S. 20 between
Picabo and Carey when authorities feared the blaze might cross the butte and
leap the highway. Express photo by Ken Retallic
Wood River and Carey fire crews helped
protect homes and buildings in the vicinity of the fires, while the BLM dropped
fire retardant from the air and used fire crews to light a back-fire on the
Huffaker said that while fire danger
across Idaho is still very high, this has been a moderate fire year in the South
Central Idaho Fire District.
"We’ve actually had a really good season,"
The 10-year average in the fire management
area indicates that, over a year, 150 fires burning 90,000 acres is the norm.
This year, fewer than 10,000 acres have burned in 40 to 50 fires. Many of those
have been small.
"We do have a very high fire danger rating
right now," Huffaker said. "But with this weather, we expect it to lower.
Nonetheless, we expect to be burning through Labor Day."