Idaho Statesman

Wildfires in Idaho: Evacuations ordered for fire in Adams County, ITD issues travel advisory

By July 27, 2018No Comments

The Mesa Fire, located four miles south of Council in Adams County, has forced evacuations in the Cottonwood Road and south Exeter Lane areas, according to a Facebook post from the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.

A Level 3 evacuation, which signifies the most urgent form of alert, was called for the Cottonwood area while a Level 2 evacuation was issued for the South Exeter area.

The fire has burned 1,500 acres so far, according to the Idaho fire map.

One of the largest fires in Idaho, the Keithly Fire, is burning outside Midvale and some residents have been asked to evacuate the area because the blaze now stretches across 11,500 acres.

Other wildfires led to sections of U.S. Highway 95 and State Highway 55 reopening Friday after temporarily closing as fires around Idaho continued to burn thousands of acres throughout the state, and hundreds of firefighters have responded to battle the blazes.

The Idaho Transportation Department on Friday afternoon issued a travel advisory for motorists planning to travel into the Boise Mountains this weekend due to active fires throughout the area.

ITD said given the unpredictable nature of wildfires, conditions can change rapidly and may result in restrictions to the highway for the safety of the traveling public and emergency responders. ITD is advising motorists planning to travel from the Treasure Valley north into the mountains this weekend to plan ahead. The department advised travelers to keep gas tanks filled, pack water and refreshments, and be prepared for potential delays.

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

The National Fire Preparedness Level was raised to its highest level Friday afternoon (5) by the National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group. Level 5 signifies “very high activity” across the country.

Keithly Fire

The Keithly Fire, which started July 25, has now grown to 11,500 acres and evacuations in place. Ignited by lightning, the fire is 4 miles outside Midvale and no containment is listed.

Residents on Mann Creek Road were asked to evacuate on Thursday, and more residents were evacuated from Deer Creek on Friday morning.

An evacuation center for residents is located at Vendome Events Center, at 309 State St., in Weiser.

Due to smoke, the Midvale Rest Stop has been closed as the fire is burning in some steep, rocky terrain and more than 100 firefighters are on scene.

A community meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday at Weiser High School about the Keithly Fire.

Related stories from Idaho Statesman

Keithly fire.jpeg

The Keithly Fire started July 29 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 3,043 acres and is at 0 percent containment. It’s located near Pollock in Idaho County on the Nez Perce-Clearwater and Payette National Forests, according to Inciweb. As of Thursday night, 423 firefighters were on scene.

The Idaho Transportation Department reported that a section of Highway 95 in Washington County was closed Friday afternoon as of 3:32 p.m. from milepost 93 to milepost 105, near Midvale, due to the blaze. It had closed and reopened earlier in the day.

A pre-evacuation notice for nearby residents in Pollock and Whitewater that was sent out Tuesday is still in place.

As of Friday afternoon, the Mile Marker 73 & Highway 55 Fire, near Gardena, had burned around 3,500 acres. The fire started July 25 and currently has 160 firefighters on scene. It isn’t expected to be contained until Aug. 7. The cause is under investigation. Travelers are asked to avoid the area.

Highway 55 is now open in both directions but fire crews will be in the area and helicopters may use the Payette River for water dipping to cool the fire perimeter, according to the Department of Lands.

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

The Lodgepole Fire

The Lodgepole Fire, near Crouch, was declared a wildfire on July 14, which started after a prescribed burn. As of Friday afternoon, it was at 1,616 acres and 75 percent contained. It’s about 16 miles northeast of Garden Valley.

Campgrounds along east side of National Forest Service road 671, including Silver Creek Plunge, are open. The 671 and 698 roads are open for motorized travel, and the trails along the west boundary of the closure are open. Firefighters are being supported with helicopter water drops and operations continue with mop-up and patrol tactics.

Bruneau Fire

The Bruneau Fire, sparked by thunderstorms passing through southern Idaho late Tuesday afternoon, has burned 57,300 acres northwest of Murphy Hot Springs, according to Idaho Bureau of Land Management.

Murphy Hot Springs is in southern Owyhee County, along the Nevada border.

Structures are not immediately threatened but are near the fire area, the BLM said Thursday.

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

The Bruneau Fire was 30 percent contained on Thursday.

Cat Fire

Burning about 13 miles east of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation, the Cat Fire is sharing resources with the Bruneau Fire. As of Friday, the Cat Fire had grown to 26,522 acres and was sharing air attacks with Bruneau.

The Cat Fire was started by lightning and there’s no estimated containment date, according to the Bureau of Land Management.

Reynolds Lake Fire

Lightning sparked the Reynolds Lake Fire, which has burned 1,068 acres since July 17. The fire was 60 percent contained Thursday, according to inciweb.

It is burning in heavy timber in the Bitterroot and Salmon-Challis national forests, about 35 miles southwest of Darby, Montana. No structures are threatened.

On Thursday, 113 firefighters were working the fire,including four crews, two engines and two helicopters.

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


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