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Recent weather patterns have left much of Idaho in danger of wildfires.

A small wildfire that ignited three miles west of Stanley Lake late Monday afternoon was fully controlled Wednesday afternoon, Sawtooth National Forest spokeswoman Julie Thomas reported.

The wildfire was estimated at one acre on Tuesday morning and had contracted to 0.75 acres the following morning. Fire personnel from the Sawtooth National Forest and a helicopter crew from the Salmon-Challis National Forest were able to contain the fire around 6 p.m. Tuesday, Thomas said. No local fire departments were dispatched.

On Wednesday morning, the Forest Service confirmed that the wildfire was human-caused. The likely ignition source was an abandoned or improperly extinguished campfire, it said.

The wildfire coincided with a red flag warning issued on Tuesday for the Wood River Valley, Sawtooth National Forest and much of southern Idaho. The warning—in effect for most of Wednesday—indicated the threat of critical fire conditions, according to the National Weather Service, and was triggered by possible lightning strikes and wind gusts up to 55 miles per hour.

“Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly,” the service stated Wednesday.

With fire danger peaking in the Sawtooth National Forest, the Forest Service has urged campers to properly extinguish their campfires with four simple steps:

• Drown the fire and stir the coals with a metal shovel, then drown a second time.

• Feel the coals with the back of your hand and make sure the fire is not smoldering.

• Shovel dirt or sand onto the fire to fully smother it.

• Turn wood and coals to wet all sides.

Email the writer: ejones@mtexpress.com

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