Fire crews worried about storms bringing strong winds

The Martin Canyon Fire is burning just 3 miles from Bellevue.

Some homes in the central Idaho town of Bellevue had been threatened by a wildfire that broke out Sunday afternoon, just three miles away from the town.

The Martin Canyon Fire had grown to about 3,500 acres Monday evening. Just three miles east of Bellevue, the hills are charred black.

“That's why we have so many resources on scene and additional resources ordered as needed,” said Kelsey Brizendine with the Bureau of Land Management. “We're going to do everything we can to make sure it doesn't head that way.”

The BLM says 150 personnel are battling the fire from both the ground and air.

Firefighters were concerned Monday about thunderstorms that were forecasted and were expected to bring some very strong winds. So they spent the day really attacking this fire.

“That's the biggest concern is that the wind is going to shift as that thunderstorm passes and that causes a lot of, a lot of wind shifting,” said Brizendine. “It can make the wind come out of the west and then turn around and all of a sudden it will blow out of the east, pushing the fire back to the west.“

Anything that's picked up in fire, whirls or dust devils that's hot, can spread the fire quickly.

“Crews have been very aggressively approving containment lines,” said Brizendine. “They're monitoring the lines that are less active to make sure that nothing hot gets across those lines.”

The BLM said a passing thunderstorm pushed the fire into Muldoon Canyon Monday afternoon. Crews were able to slow the fire's progress and secure the southern flank.

The northeast side of the fire burned aggressively for a few hours during the storm, but officials said the flames calmed back down after the storm passed.

Access to Muldoon Canyon Road is restricted, and Muldoon Canyon is closed to recreation and camping.

The BLM said although there are structures in the area, there was no immediate threat to them as of around 7 p.m.

Fire investigators have been able to determine that this fire was human caused by some individuals that were doing some target shooting out in this area. The BLM says as of right now it is unsure if they'll have to pay for suppression costs.

The fire is expected to be contained by 6 p.m. Wednesday and controlled by 6 p.m. Friday.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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