Heres some good news for motorists from the Treasure Valley that have to get to McCall Thursday a four-mile portion of Idaho 55 near Banks that has been closed since Tuesday is now open to traffic.
That potion of Idaho 55 has been closed because the 3,100 acre Springs Fire burning nearby destabilized the soil on the ridges above the highway and sent rocks down on the road.
Fire crews are still battling the blaze. Motorists can also expect traffic delays on the Banks-to-Lowman Highway near where the fire was lit by Skinnydipper Hot Springs on Sunday. Motorists should be on the lookout for rocks and other debris on that portion of the road, officials say.
Idaho 55 was reopened to traffic at 8 a.m. Thursday.
Fire crews battling the Springs Fire were aided Wednesday by cloud cover that kept temperatures out of the triple digit range and lower winds than earlier in the week. The fire advanced north, crossing the Zimmer Creek area, which is about five miles north of Banks. That area will be the focus of firefighting efforts Thursday
Fire crews also plan to work on building a fireline on the ridge above Idaho 55 Thursday.
The Springs Fire jumped the South Fork of the Payette late Tuesday night, and that fire continues to actively burn up the ridge. Hot Shot crews, taken across the river by a helicopter Wednesday, will work on that south flank.
On the north side of the river, firefighters continued to work the southeast flank of the Springs Fire, which burned about half a mile from the 18-home Frazier Creek subdivision. As of Thursday morning, no structures had burned.
The fire has now burned through grass, brush and timber over the mountain and down to Idaho 55.
About 240 firefighters are working the blaze, establishing firelines in the steep terrain. They are supported by helicopters dropping water and planes dropping retardant.