Early in the morning of Aug. 4, more than 30 lightning strikes touched down in the southern area of the Boise National Forest. Four wildfires sparked from the storm—three of which are still burning.
The Grayback Fire is currently fire officials' greatest concern, according to a news release from the Boise National Forest because of its proximity to Idaho City. Though it's only 15-20 acres in size, it's also only two-and-a-half miles south of Idaho City between Grayback Gulch and Shaw Creek. The fire is burning in a densely forested area where the crowns of the trees touch each other.
Access to the fire is difficult because of the rough and broken terrain, and the Sawtooth Interagency Hot Shot Crew, along with a type II crew and a fire engine crew from the Idaho Department of Lands constructed a hand line around the fire overnight. The fire is burning directly downhill from a microwave communication tower that provides phone service and 911 dispatch services to Idaho City. Other than that, no structures are threatened.
The Mores Fire west of Mores Summit on Highway 21 didn't grow from 50 acres overnight. On the afternoon of Aug. 4, gusting winds pushed the fire uphill. It burned to the top of Pilot Peak, but it didn't damage the nearby communication site. The fire is burning in a "spotting fashion," according to the news release, meaning that it's jumping from one clump of trees to another, leaving unburned fuel in-between.
Because of that—coupled with the high elevation—this fire poses challenges to fire crews, which dug a hand line overnight and established hose lines across parts of the fire. Cloud cover is helping fire fighters more, but it could take several days to fully contain.
Lastly, the Grape Fire, which is northwest of Prairie and south of Arrowrock Reservoir, is burning at approximately 80 acres. It's burning in an area that caught fire more than 20 years ago as part of the 1992 Foothill Fire. It's consuming mostly grass and shrubs, as well as downed trees killed in the 1992 fire. No structures are threatened, but the steep terrain of the area has been hampering firefighting efforts, and 16 smokejumpers have been assigned to the fire, with more crews are on the way.
Another fire started in the Boise National Forest on Aug. 4, called the Eldorado Fire, but it only burned one-tenth of an acre before fire crews had it contained.
Fire officials are prepared for hectic week, according to a statement from the Boise National Forest Fire Chief Bob Shindelar.
"We are anticipating a busy day today and likely tomorrow. With the multiple new starts ... we have ordered additional crews and fire engines to support these fires and any new starts," he said. "Much of southwestern Idaho is likely to experience high winds and possible lightning over the next couple of days."