A thunderstorm passing through the Treasure Valley Sunday morning brought something residents haven’t seen in a while: rain.
Not very much — but it was the first measureable precipitation in 56 days, according to the National Weather Service.
Unfortunately, Sunday’s scattered thunderstorms also ignited new wildfires in Boise and Elmore counties.
About 200 lightning strikes pummeled the northern part of the Boise National Forest, between Schafer Butte and the Elk Creek guard station, according to a public information officer.
The strikes ignited 15 new wildfires. The largest fire was about 5 acres Sunday night, and it was burning about seven miles northeast of Lowman.
“Four fires are giving us a little bit of a problem, but the other 11 we’re doing well on,” Boise National Forest spokesman David Seesholtz said.
Windy conditions and low humidity associated with the storms prompted evacuations near large wildfires burning in other parts of the state.
Rain began falling at the Boise Airport at 9:46 a.m. Sunday, and that continued on and off for 48 minutes. Total rainfall: .01 inches.
The storm cooled things down a bit Sunday morning, after a record-tying high Saturday of 95. Things will cool off significantly on Monday, when the high may reach just near 80, Weather Service meteorologists say.
The middle of the week will be even cooler, with highs in the 70s. Overnight lows will be in the 40s and 50s.
MUSTANG FIRE FORCES MORE EVACUATIONS
The 408-square-mile Mustang Complex of fires on the Montana boarder is about two miles from the community of North Fork, fire officials said Sunday.
The Lehmi County Sheriff issued an evacuation order early Sunday for residents along U.S. Highway 93 from Quartz Creek to North Fork. Law enforcement officials Sunday morning were going door to door notifying residents of about 400 homes.
Winds of more than 25 mph combined with low humidity Sunday were expected to channel through canyons. The lightning-caused fire started July 30 and is 16 percent contained. More than 1,100 personnel are assigned to the blaze.
One firefighter was injured on Saturday and was taken to a hospital by ambulance, but no other details were available.
SHEEP FIRE PROMPTS EVACUATIONS
The human-caused Sheep fire started Thursday and had grown to 40 square miles by Sunday afternoon. The fire is now about seven miles north of Riggins.
Officials advised residents in the vicinity of Florence to evacuate as well as residents and recreationists along U.S. Forest Service Roads 221 and 441.
About 150 personnel are assigned to the blaze but officials said firefighters have been pulled off fire lines to protect buildings.
She said the U.S. Forest Service has closed some roads in the area and is making sweeps to get recreationists out.
Katy Moeller: 377-6413 The Associated Press contributed