Firefighters Busy Throughout Southern Idaho


Interstate 84 near Mountain Home is open again this morning after being shut down in both directions for a few hours Monday night as firefighters evacuated homes and diverted traffic because of the Benwalk Fire, just east of Mountain Home.

Fire officials said the Benwalk Fire was sparked by lightning late Monday afternoon, seven miles north of Glenn's Ferry. As of this morning, more than 15,000 acres were burned by the fire, but no structures were lost in the blaze.

Eighteen engines, five crews, six dozers, two water tenders and air support have all been on the scene. The Red Cross set up a temporary shelter for those whose homes and businesses had been evacuated.

Meanwhile, firefighters continue to battle the nation's largest wildfire, west of Twin Falls, which has scorched nearly 300 square miles of sagebrush and dry grass and threatened homes in the Castleford area. The Bureau of Land Management reports that the blaze is about 50 percent contained.

Other fires have been reported throughout southern Idaho, including a blaze at the Bruneau Dunes State Park, which has burned 5,000 acres, the Chimney Fire near Triangle, which has burned 9 acres, the Mile Marker 43 Fire near Oreana, which has burned 400 acres, and the Jack Fire, which has consumed 200 acres on the south edge of Little Jacks Creek Wilderness.