The lightning storm that whipped through the Treasure Valley Monday afternoon offered a bit of relief from a record 108-degree temperature, but caused spotty havoc.
Interstate 84 was closed shortly after 6:30 p.m. as crews battled the 12,000-acre Benwalk fire that began on the north side of the highway and jumped to the south, said Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Mallory Eiles. The highway remained closed until shortly before midnight.
I-84 was closed to traffic for over four hours as firefighters worked to protect the travel service center at Exit 95 in Mountain Home at the junction of I-84 and U.S. 20, which includes gas stations, a motel and restaurants.
Elmore County dispatchers said Tuesday morning none of those building sustained any significant fire damage and were open for business.
The Benwalk fire began north of Glenns Ferry near Bennett Mountain Road and jumped I-84 near mile post 100, Eiles said. The fire was one of at least 11 new wildfires in the BLMs Boise District caused by afternoon storms Sunday and Monday.
Benwalk was BLMs No. 1 priority, followed by the 5,000-acre South Indian fire east of Bruneau, which prompted the evacuation of Bruneau Dunes State Park.
I-84 was closed on the west at Exit 90 in Mountain Home and on the east at Exit 112 in Hammett.
The power outages began about 3:30 p.m., killing electricity in parts of Boise, Nampa, Eagle, Star, Horseshoe Bend, Garden Valley, Crouch, Lowman, Glenns Ferry, Hammett and King Hill. By 8 p.m., power was restored to all but about 400 of 4,600 customers in the first wave.
In the evening, however, new outages were reported in McCall, where about 150 customers were powerless and Bruneau, where the company shut down lines because of the South Indian fire. Some 545 customers were affected in the Bruneau area, said Idaho Power spokeswoman Anne Alenskis.