Thousands of Acres Torched, Red Flag Warning Posted


The largest wildfire in the nation continues to burn in Southwest Idaho Thursday morning, while firefighters face a dire three-word forecast: red flag warning, which means dangerous fire conditions are happening or about to happen.

The Long Butte fire has now scorched more than 306,000 acres, or more than 500 square miles, of rangeland in the desert south of Glenns Ferry. The blaze was ignited Saturday when a lightning strike, fueled by strong winds quickly burned 20 square miles near Hagerman.

The Bureau of Land Management said the blaze has also swept through a range used by the Saylor Creek wild horse herd, but officials don't think any of the 180 to 200 horses have been injured.

North of Boise, a Level 1 evacuation has been ordered in some subdivisions of Valley County. Nearly 650 people are assigned to the Hurd Fire, which has been burning since Saturday, Aug. 21. More than 20 crews and 10 helicopters are working to secure the 550-acre perimeter of the blaze bounded by Hurd Creek and Poison Creek.

Meanwhile the National Weather Service has posted the Red Flag Warning from 10 a.m. Thursday until early Friday morning. The warning for high winds and low humidity is posted for the Treasure Valley, Boise BLM, Boise National Forest, the western Payette National Forest and the Owyhee Mountains.