Wildfire cuts power in Idaho

Thursday, July 26, 2018

GARDENA, Idaho (AP) — A wildfire in southwestern Idaho about 35 miles (56 kilometers) north of Boise is causing problems for motorists on a heavily-traveled north-south route and knocked out power to nearly 3,000 customers.

The fire along Idaho Highway 55 near Gardena on Thursday grew to 3 square miles (8 square kilometers). Idaho Power crews are working to repair damaged power poles to restore electricity.

Multiple aircraft are fighting the fire along with 120 firefighters. A top-level incident team is scheduled on Friday to take over management of the fire that’s burning in timber and grass.

“There are towns in the direction the fire is moving, and they want to make sure they get on top of it,” said fire spokesman Randall Phelps of the Idaho Department of Lands.

Temperatures expected in the triple digits on Thursday combined with dry conditions were expected to make firefighting conditions challenging. The fire is burning in rugged terrain on Idaho endowment land and land administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Drivers are asked to take alternate routes. Motorists who take Highway 55 can expect delays as a pilot car leads traffic through the area using one lane and alternating directions. The fire was reported Wednesday, and its cause is under investigation.