Gov. Brad Little flies over Lucky Fire, warns Idahoans of the coming wildfire season
The last and largest of a trio of suspicious wildfires that ignited near Lucky Peak Reservoir on Thursday has been contained, and a marina that lost power has reopened.
The 104-acre Lucky Fire, which burned prime elk and deer grazing terrain near Spring Shores Road/Arrowrock Road and Idaho 21, was contained at 8 p.m. Thursday, Boise National Forest Fire Chief Bob Shindelar told the Statesman on Friday.
He said it probably would take a couple of days for the fire to be deemed controlled, but it could happen sooner. Shindelar on Thursday called the Lucky Fire and two other smaller fires that started burning around the same time as “highly suspicious.”
On Friday, Shindelar said fire investigators from the Bureau of Land Management are taking the lead in determining the cause of the blazes. One possible natural cause for the fires — lightning — has been ruled out.
“We do know it’s probably a human-caused fire, but we don’t know the source,” Shindelar said.
Human-caused wildfires often are more accident than arson, though a woman was charged with setting a 700-acre fire at Lucky Peak in July last year. Sara D. Schaeffer reached a plea agreement with prosecutors, and she’s scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 16 in Boise County Court, according to online court records.
Vehicle equipment is a common culprit for many human-caused wildfires: catalytic converter breakdown, tire failures, vehicle fires, dragging chains and mechanical breakdown.
“People need to be extra careful where they park vehicles and make sure safety chains are secured,” Shindelar said. “A simple spark can start a fire, and sparks can come from a variety of things. If people could take time to inspect their own vehicles and make sure that everything is being maintained properly, we can reduce the potential ignition sources.”
The first fire was reported at 11:40 p.m. Wednesday in the area of Highland Valley Road and Idaho 21, near Hilltop Station. That one burned about 20 acres. The Lucky Fire and the Shores Fire near the Spring Shores Marina started around 1 a.m. Thursday. The Shores Fire burned only a tenth of an acre.
Spring Shores Road, which turns into Arrowrock Road east of the marina, was closed while firefighters were battling the blaze Thursday. In the late afternoon, one lane of the road was reopened, and motorists were shepherded through with a pilot car.
An Idaho Power spokesman said Friday that the Lucky Fire burned six utility poles and downed some power lines, but that affected just one customer: Spring Shores Marina.
The marina is part of the Idaho parks system but is operated by a private concessionaire. It was closed Thursday but reopened Friday, according to Jennifer Okerlund, a spokeswoman for Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation.
Those traveling on Spring Shores Road should use “extreme caution,” as fire crews are still working in the area and along the road, the marina manager told Okerlund.