GARDEN VALLEY, Idaho -- A wildfire continues to burn along the Banks to Lowman Road (Highway 17), about five miles east of Banks, but could be contained by Tuesday night.
About 130 firefighters are working hard to keep the Fraiser Fire away from around 40 homes in the nearby Frazier Creek subdivision. Crews made good progress thanks to cooler temps overnight and cloud cover during the day. Two helicopters made water drops on the fire throughout the day. So far, the fire has consumed about 270 acres of brush and timber.
The fire now has a "scratch line" around it, but officials say that line is not strong enough to call it fully contained. Full containment is estimated for 8 p.m. Tuesday.
The Forest Service believes the fire was human-caused, and they had investigators out Monday looking for more clues as to how it started.
The Fraiser Fire started sometime Sunday and spread quickly along the Banks to Lowman Road, which had to be closed for hours. And while Highway 17 is open again, driving along it remains somewhat hazardous.
"With the fire, there could be rocks or rolling debris coming down, but they've got a snow plow and other tractors and stuff with a road crew ready to move stuff out of the way. They just ask drivers to use caution," said Kristen Miller, public information officer for the U.S. Forest Service.
Firefighters spent most of Sunday working to keep the fire away from homes just a half mile away.
Jody Waltman, whose husband is a volunteer firefighter, chose to take their six kids and stay the night in Crouch.
"We've got six kids and it takes a while to get them all together, and we have a daughter with special needs, so to get her things together. So we just wanted to be up and out of the way. It takes us a while to gather ourselves together with that many people," said Waltman.
This isn't the first time Waltman and others have seen a fire around Garden Valley.
"Last year, the fires happened further down at the hot springs, so we were able to get a little more prepared and a lot more crew on scene before it got up our way." Waltman said.
Firefighters were able to keep this fire away from the houses, and those in the neighborhood recognized their work with a big banner in the trees.
As fire season rolls on and crews continue working on this human-caused fire, those living in the forest like Waltman hope people will think of them and use caution.
"We love to have people come visit up and stuff like that, but just realize people live up here, so if you're doing fires and you're not paying attention to your fires and maintaining them and taking care of them, there's a chain reaction up here, especially this time of year," said Waltman. "The weather conditions, how dry it is. Just be aware of your surroundings. There's people that live up here. This is their home and their livelihood."
The Forest Service just told us they plan to keep the Banks to Lowman Road open tonight and Tuesday unless conditions change. Again, travelers are advised to use caution and be on the lookout for rocks falling onto the road.