Idaho, Western Wildfires Are Weeks From Being Fully Contained

Published August 17, 2013

| AccuWeather

As severe drought continues across much of the West, several large wildfires continue to threaten homes and communities.

Some of the hardest hit areas over the last few days are located in Idaho where several massive lightning-sparked fires have burned hundreds of thousands of acres combined.

While the largest of the fires, the Pony Complex, has been 90 percent contained, multiple other fires continue to burn out of control.

The Elk Complex fire was started by lightning on Thursday, August 8. It has burned over 125,000 acres and is only 50% contained according to InciWeb.

This fire continues to threaten several communities with mandatory evacuations in place for Pine and Featherville, Idaho. which both lie along the Boise River.

The Idaho Forest Service estimates that full containment of this fire won't occur until Tuesday, October 1.

Another fire, the Beaver Creek Fire located northwest of Hailey, Idaho in the Sawtooth National Forest began on August 7 by lightning.

This fire has burned over 64,000 acres thus far and is only 6 percent contained according to InciWeb. Evacuations of several subdivisions near Hailey and Ketchum, Idaho along Highway 75 are ongoing with pre-evacuation notices elsewhere in the vicinity of the fire.

The weather across southern Idaho doesn't look to favor firefighters anytime soon.

Hot weather with afternoon high temperatures in the 90s will continue for at least the next week. Afternoon relative humidity values below 25 percent combined with 10-20 mph wind gusts could lead to the development of new fires or rapid spreading of ongoing ones.

Some good news is that the threat for rainfall will increase slightly early next week as a pocket of cooler air aloft lifts into the West. This will cause a few thunderstorms to bubble up each afternoon from Monday through Wednesday.

However, the isolated nature of the storms means that some places won't pick up any rainfall and the additional lightning could spark new fires at anytime.

Farther to the south, the Rockport Fire just northeast of Park City, Utah has burned nearly 2,000 acres and is only 58 percent contained as of Saturday morning.

While the acreage of this fire isn't nearly as big as the ones in Utah, this one does threaten several communities and has already burned at least a dozen homes.

Evacuation orders are in place for Rockport Estates and Rockport Ranches until further notice.

Dozens of other fires stretch from Washington down through Arizona and New Mexico and with continued dry conditions, more fires are likely to develop in the coming weeks.

Keep checking back with AccuWeather.com over the next few weeks as we continue to update the wildfires across the West and the forecast for firefighters.

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/weather/2013/08/17/idaho-western-wildfires-are-weeks-from-being-fully-contained/