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BOISE A forest fire in Boise County has grown to more than 250 acres and continues to threaten homes near the Clear Creek subdivision in the Boise National Forest.

On Wednesday, Boise County Sheriff Ben Roeber issued a voluntary evacuation notice for those living within one-mile of the perimeter of what officials are calling The Avalene Fire.

Dave Olson, spokesman for the Boise National Forest, says the fire was initially three smaller fires that were reported around 2:30 p.m Tuesday near the junction of Grimes Creek Road and State Highway 21.

Officials estimate the fire is currently 50 percent contained. Firefighters say no buildings have been reported damaged so far; however, the fire is reported to be within an eighth-of-a mile from nearby homes.

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Officials say by 9 p.m. Tuesday two of the initial fires were about three-to-five acres in size, while the third was about 10 acres. By Wednesday morning the fires had burned together and blackened an estimated 200 to 300 acres.

On Tuesday, the Clear Creek Rural Fire Department called for a voluntary evacuation for homes in the Turner and Big Springs Road area. Olson says about 100 homes are still threatened and fire crews are prepping areas around 20 homes to keep the fire away. Residents are urged to be ready to get out.

Since the three fires started around the same time, in the same area Tuesday, officials say they could be considered suspicious in nature. An investigation is underway to determine how they started.

The Idaho Department of Lands, Boise National Forest, Clear Creek Rural Fire Department and Wilderness Ranch Fire Department all have crews assisting in the firefighting effort. Olson says they are getting aerial support in the form of two, heavy-lift helicopters making water drops, along with several single-engine air tankers.

Fifteen wilderness firefighting engines are also on the scene.

Olson also says a Type II Incident Management Team has been called to take over management of the fire.

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