Update on wildfires across Idaho and the West

August 24, 2013 

OWYHEE FIRES

Six of the 10 blazes ignited in the grasslands of southwestern Idaho from thunderstorms that struck the area Thursday evening have been contained by Bureau of Land Management crews.

The Chance Fire in the Owyhee River Wilderness burned 300 acres before it was contained Friday. Crews remain at the scene to mop up.

The Rough Fire south of Juniper Mountain, the Potter Fire farther south, and the Jump Fire, about 5 miles south of Jump Creek Recreation Area, burned a total of 55 acres.

The Juni Fire 32 miles south of Jordan Valley, Ore., held at 2,226 acres and is now 80 percent contained, up from 40 percent a day earlier.

LITTLE QUEENS FIRE

This fire in the Boise National Forest has burned 12,787 acres of timber, including subalpine fir, Douglas fir and pine.

“The main emphasis is the community of Atlanta,” fire spokesman Glenn Bell.

The fire, which began Aug. 17 of undetermined origin, has burned within a mile north of Atlanta, Bell said. Work has focused on improving and widening the fire line to protect the unincorporated town in Elmore County, which is under a mandatory evacuation.

A lightning storm that passed through early Friday did not appear to start any new fires, Bell said.

INCENDIARY CREEK FIRE

Thirteen residences remain evacuated around Lolo Creek, ahead of this fire, which has burned 1,000 acres southwest of Weippe.

The fire has burned timber and a grass understory and is considered just 10 percent contained. The blaze ignited Aug. 18 from a lightning strike.

OUGHT-7 FIRE

Ignited early Thursday along Idaho 12, about 13 miles east of Kooskia in Idaho County, the Ought-7 Fire has burned 300 acres. A total of 65 firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service, the Nez Perce tribe, Kooskia Rural Fire District, the Ridgerunner Rural Fire District and the Kamiah Rural Fire District are assisting the Idaho Department of Lands.

The cause is under investigation.

YOSEMITE

A giant wildfire raging out of control spread into Yosemite National Park on Friday as authorities urged more evacuations in nearby communities.

Late Friday, California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for San Francisco, which is 150 miles away but has power stations in the fire area, so its utilities are threatened.

The fire hit the park at the height of summer season, as officials geared up for a busy Labor Day weekend. It has closed some backcountry hiking but was not threatening the Yosemite Valley region, one of California's most popular tourist destinations.

The spectacular valley carved by glaciers offers visitors such iconic sights as the Half Dome and El Capitan rock formations and Yosemite falls.

The weeklong blaze has spread to more than 165 square miles and is only 2 percent contained. It continued to grow in several directions, although “most of the fire activity is pushing to the east right into Yosemite,” said Daniel Berlant, spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Smoke blowing into the state of Nevada forced officials in several counties to cancel outdoor school activities and issue health advisories, especially for people with respiratory problems.

YELLOWSTONE

Five wildfires are burning in the national park, but not nearly as vigorously since portions of the park in northwest Wyoming got half an inch or more of rain Wednesday.

Statesman staff and wire services

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