Fires

Wildfires in Idaho: More road closures set in Blaine County as the Sharps Fire grows

Boise doctor advises to stay indoors on smoky days

Dr. Kate Sutherland, a pulmonologist at Saint Alphonsus Medical Group in Boise, explains the first four air quality indexes and precautions people should take when heavy smoke looms in the air.
Up Next
Dr. Kate Sutherland, a pulmonologist at Saint Alphonsus Medical Group in Boise, explains the first four air quality indexes and precautions people should take when heavy smoke looms in the air.

Blaine County residents faced more evacuations and road closures on Tuesday afternoon, as the Sharps Fire stretched to 34,726 acres, burning across heavy timber.

The wildfire was ignited by humans and terrain around the Sharps Fire, near Bellevue, Idaho, has made it especially challenging for firefighters, who had 20 percent containment Tuesday evening, according to the BLM. Multiple roads were closed to allow crews full access to the blaze.

The Idaho Transportation Department has advised travelers to keep gas tanks filled, pack water and refreshments, and be prepared for potential delays if traveling in the areas of these wildfires.

Updates continue to be made about all wildfires in Idaho at inciweb.nwcg.gov.

Sharps Fire

The Sharps Fire, which began on Sunday, is threatening structures and is reportedly burning six miles east of Bellevue on Sharps Canyon Road.

Mandatory evacuations were in place Tuesday for the Little Wood Recreation Area campground and all homes on Little Wood Reservoir Road and Flat Top Road, north of the reservoir.

A pre-evacuation notice was put in place for Fish Creek Road. The BLM reports that a “pre-evacuation” notice means residents should prepare to leave at a moment’s notice.

Quigley Road was closed and Muldoon Canyon Road was closed from the EE-DA-HO Ranch entrance to Hunt Road. High Five, Baugh Creek, Bay Horse and Hunt roads are all also closed. Both the Little Wood River Reservoir and the High Five Creek Recreation area have been evacuated and are closed to the public.

By Tuesday afternoon, the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office closed Slaughterhouse Creek Road, where the pavement ends, to restrict access into the fire area where crews are working. The Forest Service also closed Cove Creek Road 1.5 miles from East Fork Road.

So far, 142,000 gallons of water and retardant have been dropped on the fire, according to the BLM. There is no estimated date of containment.

Grassy Ridge Fire

As of Tuesday night, the Grassy Ridge Fire, near Dubois, Idaho, is now 97 percent contained and just under 100,000 acres.

Ignited by lighting on July 26, the fire is burning about 15 miles northwest of St. Anthony. Officials hope to have the entire fire contained by Aug. 3 and are working to protect structures in Dubois, a town of about 600 people. There are about 243 firefighters on scene.

Any road closures in the area around the Grassy Ridge Fire were lifted by Monday evening.

Grassy Ridge Fire 2.JPG
Nearly 3,000 cows were transported on July 29, 2018, from Red Road north, near the Grassy Ridge Fire. Ranchers spent the day shipping out any cattle near the fire. So far, Grassy Ridge has burned about 100,000 acres in East Idaho. Provided by BLM, inciweb.nwcg.gov


Mesa Fire

In Adams County, the Mesa Fire, located four miles south of Council, had grown to 29,885 acres as of Tuesday morning. It was 16 percent contained.

The Mesa Fire was determined to be human caused due to a flat tire that must have got down to the rim and threw off sparks.

No mandatory evacuations are in place, but a pre-evacuation notice was issued for North Grays Creek, as of Tuesday.

One structure was lost.

Keithly Fire

The Keithly Fire has grown to 17,600 acres as of Tuesday morning. It started July 25. Ignited by lightning, the fire is 4 miles outside Midvale and is now 97 percent contained. Full containment is expected by the end of the week.

All evacuations were lifted.

Keithly fire.jpeg
The Keithly Fire started July 25 and has grown to 7,500 acres. Ignited by lightning, the fire is 4 miles outside Midvale with 53 firefighters on scene. From InciWeb, though the National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Rattlesnake Creek Fire

The Rattlesnake Creek Fire, west of U.S. Highway 95 at mile marker 184, has grown to 3,789 acres and 25 percent contained, as of Tuesday morning. It’s located near Pollock in Idaho County on the Nez Perce-Clearwater and Payette National Forests, according to Inciweb.

There are more than 534 firefighters on scene. There is no anticipated containment date.

The Lodgepole Fire

Resources are being scaled back for the Lodgepole Fire, near Crouch, which was declared a wildfire on July 14. As of Monday afternoon, it was at 1,616 acres and 80 percent contained.

“Firefighters are feeling good about the progress made and that the fire will remain in the box we have around it, but predicted temperature increases and winds associated with passing storm cells will test our containment lines,” said Emmett District Ranger Richard Newton in a press release. “Although resources have been reduced to match our progress, fire personnel will continue to patrol and monitor the fireline. I anticipate that we will be monitoring this incident until we receive enough moisture to completely extinguish the fire.”

The blaze, which is about 16 miles northeast of Garden Valley, started after a prescribed burn.

An area closure remains in place for public and firefighter safety. The road to Silver Creek Plunge remains open, as does the Plunge itself and area Forest Service campgrounds.

Full containment is expected by Aug. 20.

Mile Marker 73 & Highway 55 Fire

By Monday, the Mile Marker 73 & Highway 55 Fire, near Gardena, had burned around 4,653 acres but was fully contained. It was about 25 miles north of Boise.

The fire started July 25, and 105 personnel were still on scene Monday while the cause is under investigation. Fire crews will continue to monitor the fire’s perimeter and extinguish hotspots, according to the Department of Lands.

Travelers are asked to avoid the area.

U.S. 95 Midvale Hill.JPG
The Idaho Transportation Department’s cameras on Friday morning captured a section of U.S. Highway 95, near Midvale, that is closed due to a wildfire. In the background, the hillside is seen charred. Idaho Transportation Department

Bruneau Fire

By Friday afternoon, the Bruneau Fire, sparked by thunderstorms passing through last week, had burned 61,000 acres near Murphy Hot Springs, according to Idaho Bureau of Land Management.

Murphy Hot Springs is in southern Owyhee County, along the Nevada border. The fire is burning five miles northwest of Murphy Hot Springs.

Structures in the area are not immediately threatened, the BLM said Friday.

The Bureau of Land Management released a video Friday of firefighters' first attempts at containing the Bruneau Fire on Monday.

Resources on the fire: three dozers, 13 engines, one fuel truck, one camp crew, Three Creek Rangeland Fire Protection Association, three water tenders.

The Bruneau Fire was 30 percent contained on Thursday.

This is a breaking news story that the Idaho Statesman will continue to update.

Related stories from Idaho Statesman

  Comments