Firefighters get handle on Idaho, Oregon fires

Idaho StatesmanJuly 5, 2013 

APTOPIX Idaho Wildfires

Members of private contractor Flame Catchers work during a back burn Wednesday on the 2,000-acre Bray Lake fire north of Bliss. Much of Southern Idaho is under a red-flag warning with a half-dozen wildfires burning.

ASHLEY SMITH — (AP Photo/Times-News)

Oregon’s Lake Owyhee State Park reopened Friday after firefighters were able to extinguish flames from a lightning-caused fire near the Idaho border. Southwest of Adrian, Ore., the flames since Monday consumed 73 square miles of land — 46,501 acres.

Campers are allowed to stay overnight but potable water and electricity will not be available for several days, said Tim Johnson, spokesman for the federal Bureau of Land Management, which is fighting the fire. Visitors are asked to bring their own water or boil water for drinking and cooking.

With the flames out, the fire was reported Friday afternoon as being 85 percent contained. Crews that numbered 260 were being reassigned with those remaining tending to hot spots, Johnson said. The fire was expected to be 100 percent contained on Saturday.

The fire began near Succor Creek and jumped the stream below the Owyhee Dam. The blaze, spread toward Owyhee Reservoir, forcing the evacuation of campsites at the state park earlier in the week. The lake and the road leading to it are now both open.

“The fire never crossed the state line but it came less than four miles from Idaho,” Johnson said.

Adrian is located 11 miles southwest of Parma.

Two other fires in southeastern Oregon were contained Friday. The Crooked Creek Complex Fire near Burns Junction consumed 73 square miles, 10,124 acres, since Monday, while the Shumway Fire near Juntura consumed nearly one square mile, 580 acres, since Tuesday.

Both fires were caused by lightning and burned grass and brush.

In Idaho, BLM fire crews got a handle on a number of blazes, including two grass fires near Hammett — just off of Interstate 84 southeast of Mountain Home.

BLM spokeswoman Mallory Eils said the fires were expected to be under control by 6 p.m. Friday.

The largest fire, near Milepost 111, was estimated at 330 acres, she said. The second blaze, at Milepost 113, was only 25 acres.

The fires were both believed to have been ignited by lightning strikes, Eils said. Heavy rains from a storm front passing over the area proved helpful to the fire crews, she said. Four engines remained at the location Friday afternoon. No houses or other structures were damaged in the fire.

Investigators believe a fire north of Emmett was human-caused. The Hidden Hollow Fire started at 11:30 p.m. Thursday and was contained Friday, burning five to nine acres, Eils said. Its cause is still under investigation.

Crews expected a fire that began Friday afternoon north of CJ Strike Reservoir to be contained later that day. Another lightning strike was likely to blame, Eils said.

Several fires in south-central Idaho were contained Thursday night, and the two largest were under full control Friday. The Jim Brown Fire six miles southeast of Richfield burned across 14,000 acres, while the Bray Lake Fire covered about 2,400 acres eight miles north of Bliss.

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