A Boise County firefighter is behind bars, charged with starting the Karney Fire that has burned more than 100 acres and is threatening up to 100 homes.
Nathaniel Fay Bartholomew, 18, is charged with felony arson in connection with the blaze that threatens the Wilderness Ranch area, northeast of Robie Creek.
"We believe that the suspect was trying to get a relative's attention by starting the fire," Boise County Undersheriff Dale Rogers told Citydesk. Rogers confirmed that the suspect's father is also a Boise County firefighter.
"Last night, we ordered the suspect to stand down as a firefighter and later, through an interrogation, he offered a confession," said Rogers, who drove Bartholomew to the Ada County Jail, which also serves as a lockup for Boise County suspects.
Rogers said that witnesses saw a small fire being started near milepost 5.6 of Robie Creek Road at approximately 4:30 p.m. Sept. 17, triggering an investigation. Rogers told Citydesk that there is one more "person of interest" as a possible suspect.
"This fire was intentional," said Rogers. "We believe the fire was started with a small pile of pine cones."
Thus far, residents of 20 homes have been evacuated from the Mitchell Gulch area.
"We have more than 100 fire personnel on the scene," said Emily Anderson, spokesperson for the Idaho Department of Lands, the lead agency. "Two structures were saved overnight by the quick work of firefighters."
Anderson said three separate 20-person teams were working on the ground to build fire lines. Two more 20-person teams are expected to arrive on the scene Wednesday.
The Karney Fire is currently 15 percent contained.