FAIRFIELD • Firefighters are battling multiple fires in Idaho after lightning sparked several blazes across the southern half of the state.
The town of Prairie, almost two hours north of Mountain Home, is under a mandatory evacuation order due to a wildfire burning near the town.
The Elmore County Sheriff’s Office began evacuations Friday afternoon, dispatchers said.
U.S. Highway 20 near Mountain Home reopened Friday afternoon. The Milemarker 111 fire was estimated at 12,000 acres, a BLM spokeswoman said. Including other fires, An estimated 25,000 acres are burning in the area.
A lightning storm that passed through the area Thursday night sparked at least 10 other fires, some of which are threatening structures. Ten outbuildings, and possibly cabins, have been destroyed in the fire, according to the Boise National Forest. A BLM spokeswoman said none of the burned buildings are believed to be homes.
According to the BLM, there is currently no count on how many more buildings are in danger.
Smoke columns from the Lodgepole Fire 10 miles west of Challis were visible Thursday evening along the west side of the fire.
In the evening, a weather inversion pushed the smoke lower into the valley, making for hazardous driving along U.S. Highway 93 between Challis and Salmon.
The air quality in Challis has been lowered from good to moderate Thursday, according to Interagency Real Time Smoke Monitoring.
The fire moved into an area Thursday that is slightly more advantageous for firefighters. Firefighters planned to continue scouting within Pats Creek, White Valley Creek and Bear Creek to develop a more direct action alternative to fight the fire. However, trigger points have been identified in case the fire decides to push out of the White Creek area, north, and the indirect operation plan must be put into action.
Growth on the 9,500 acre Papoose Fire west of Salmon was limited Thursday.