BOISE -- More than nine significant wildfires are burning throughout the state of Idaho in what could be the most destructive fire season in more than a decade.
National Interagency Fire Center officials say temperatures in the high 90s, along with gusty winds and possible lightning strikes, are expected to fuel fire growth in many locations.
NIFC spokesman Don Smurthwaite says there's a good possibility that lightning strikes will plague the central and southern parts of the state on Saturday and Sunday.
According to Ed Delgado, NIFC meteorologist, the chance of lightning will increase Saturday night and into Sunday. "We have high confidence that we're going to get lightning over the weekend," Delgado said.
"This has been a tough wildfire season; it's been very challenging," Smurthwaite added, saying that many of the region's largest fires are now burning at high elevations, and in heavy timber. "We need some rain; we need some snow before these fires are going to be controlled."
Fires with significant human impact include the Halstead Fire, the Trinity Ridge Fire, the Springs Fire, and the Minidoka Complex fires. On Wednesday, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter signed an emergency declaration and activated that national guard to help with fire fighting efforts.
For those interested in the lives of wilderness firefighters in Idaho, check out our photo gallery "An inside look at the fire lines."
To see how smoke from several of the state's large fires is drifting in the atmosphere, check out NASA's satellite photos of Idaho wildfires.
Location: Salmon-Challis National Forest, 18 miles north of Stanley, Idaho
Size: 83,857 acres
Percent Contained: 3%
Estimated Containment Date: Tuesday, October 16th
Notes: A 24-hour evacuation notice has been issued to residents and campers from Sunbeam Store to, and including, Custer town and Jordan Creek to Loon Creek summit. The fire has passed the confluence of Hay Creek and is moving down East Basin Creek. The Main Salmon River and the Middle Fork of the Salmon River remain open although some of the access points have been closed. Most Forest Service roads are closed throughout this area. For more information, see the Inciweb Halstead Fire website.
Trinity Ridge Fire
Location: 45 miles east of Boise, near the communities of Atlanta, Featherville, and Pine.
Size: 72,594 acres
Percent Contained: 3%
Estimated Containment Date: Monday, October 1st.
Notes: The fire is currently burning five miles west of Featherville, 15 miles from Pine, and five miles east of Atlanta. Authorities expect the fire to reach the town of Featherville on Saturday or Sunday. The Elmore County Sheriff's Office will reopen area roads to residents and homeowners from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday. All other non-emergency incoming traffic is prohibited.
On Friday, Gov. Butch Otter announced he would assign members of the Idaho National Guard to assist in firefighting efforts. Also on Friday, the Idaho Red Cross announced volunteers would be serving meals and offering shelter for evacuees at the Pine Senior Center. Fire officials will stage a community meeting at 6 p.m. Friday at the Idaho City community center to talk about further evacuation plans. For more information, see the Inciweb Trinity Ridge Fire website.
Location: West of Ketchum on Red Warrior Creek Ridge
Size: 350 acres
Percent contained: 0
Estimated containment: N/A
Notes: The Enclosure Fire started on August 16th, 2012 on Red Warrior Creek Ridge. Local resources, as well as 3 firefighting aircraft have responded to the fire. The fire is burning in heavy timber. For more information, see the Inciweb Enclosure Fire website.
Location: Five miles west of Garden Valley, Idaho
Size: 6,150 acres
Percent Contained: 75%
Estimated Containment Date: Monday August 20th
Notes: The fire is successfully being fought at this time. Crews plan to start moving heavy equipment away from the fire lines. A fire update meeting has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at the Garden Valley incident command center.
The public is asked to use caution when traveling on Highway 55 and Banks Lowman Road due to the heavy fire traffic. For more information, see the Inciweb Springs Fire website.
Mustang Complex fires
Location: Wilderness terrain approximately 50 miles west of Salmon, Idaho
Size: 79,807 acres
Percent Contained: 3%
Estimated Containment Date: Not available
Notes: Managers of the Mustang Complex Fire are keeping the Salmon River Road open to Colson Creek residents and jet boaters leaving Corn Creek and Middle Fork, along with river rafters taking out at Stoddard, Cache Bar and Corn Creek.
River recreationists should check in at the North Fork Ranger Station at the intersection of U.S. 93 and Salmon River Road for the latest updates on closures and road conditions in this area. For general fire information, contact the fire information center at 877-356-8984. Visit the Mustang Complex Fire InciWeb homepage here.
Minidoka Complex Fire
(Cave Canyon Fire, Hot Well Fire, Deer Hollow Fire, 8 Mile Fire)
Location: Oakley, Idaho
Size: 97,616 acres
Percent Contained: 97%
Estimated Containment Date: Saturday August 18th, 2012
Notes: The Eight Mile and Hot Well fires are both in monitor status. The Cave Canyon Fire is 88,909 acres and 100 percent contained. The Deer Hollow Fire is 5,440 acres and 95 percent contained. Evacuation orders have been lifted near the community of Rock Creek Canyon. However, the area is closed to the public until further notice. For more information, see the Inciweb Minidoka Complex Fire website.