TWIN FALLS — The last of the previous week’s lightning-caused fires were contained — just in time for more thunderstorms to roll in.
The Twin Falls District of the Bureau of Land Management had barely contained the North Heglar Fire in Cassia County on Tuesday morning when the red flag warning came in. The National Weather Service in Boise was predicting lightning storms for much of southern Idaho, including for Magic Valley communities just south of the Snake River Canyon.
The storms were expected to continue until 11 p.m. Tuesday.
“There’s definitely a possibility of lightning-caused fires today,” BLM spokeswoman Kelsey Brizendine had said late that morning.
Sure enough, the first fire popped up north of Jackpot, Nev., around 1 p.m. It reached 6 acres before it was knocked down, she said.
As lightning continued to flash across the area, two more reports of fire came in for the Murphy Hot Springs area. The Bruneau Fire northwest of the hot springs was estimated at 1,200 acres and was moving quickly as of 8 p.m. There were six engines, one dozer and multiple aircraft responding.
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The National Weather Service’s red flag warning indicated a lightning activity level of 4 — out of 6 possible levels. Under this classification, lightning strikes about every 5 minutes with scattered thunderstorms.
BLM firefighters were notified of the warning over their radios, and BLM engine captains went over lightning safety with their crews, Brizendine said. Fire behavior can also become more erratic during a lightning storm with wind.
The North Heglar Fire was the last of more than a dozen lightning-caused fires that started last week, burning more than 52,000 acres in the district.
“There is still some interior heat,” Brizendine said of the fire, which burned in brush and timber.
The Sawtooth National Forest has closed the Mill Flat Campground area and North Heglar Road.