BOISE, Idaho – Dozens of people were ordered to evacuate two small central Idaho towns on Tuesday as an 88-square-mile group of fires moved in their direction.
Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter ordered the mandatory evacuations of Yellow Pine and Johnson Creek at the request of Valley County Sheriff Patti Bolen.
Across Idaho, hundreds of homes were threatened by wildfires that have blackened more than 500,000 acres or 781 square miles, the National Interagency Fire Center said.
Although the National Weather Service said temperatures in the 70s and light wind were expected Tuesday, thunderstorms also were forecast in central Idaho with only a 20 percent chance of rain.
A caravan was being organized to lead residents of Yellow Pine and Johnson Creek over a closed road to McCall, about 30 miles to the west, dispatcher Stacie Branum said. That road had been closed because of fire danger but was passable at times, said fire information officer Susan Marzec.
Residents also had been evacuated from around the central Idaho towns of Warm Lake in the Boise National Forest and Secesh, Warren and South Fork in the Payette National Forest, where more than 150 homes, five commercial properties and nearly 390 other structures were threatened by a 95-square-mile complex of fires, spokeswoman Kris Eriksen said.
Another group of fires southeast of McCall in the Boise National Forest had spread across more than 134 square miles, fire managers said. Officials were forced to shut off power lines between Scott Valley and Yellow Pine, leaving hundreds of people without power.
In north-central Idaho, the community of Comstock was threatened by a 94-square-mile fire in the Nez Perce National Forest, officials said.
Neighboring Montana still had 19 large wildfires active Tuesday.
Residents of about 300 homes who were evacuated for a second time during the weekend remained out of their homes because of a blaze near the community of Seeley Lake, Mont., northeast of Missoula. That wildfire had charred more than 21,000 acres, or about 33 square miles.
Residents of more than 150 homes in a section of Bend, Ore., were told to flee because of a small range fire Monday, but crews quickly suppressed the flames after wind died, city fire officials said.
In Hawaii, meanwhile, while the Big Island of Hawaii waited to see if Hurricane Flossie would strike, firefighters on the island of Oahu faced a wildfire that had covered more than 3 square miles on the North Shore, damaging farm equipment and power lines. Several homes were evacuated for a time on Monday.