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BOISE -- Officials say one of the world's biggest air tankers helped fight the 419-acre Ourada Ranch brush fire in the Boise foothills northeast of Hidden Springs. Investigators believe the fire was started when a crew was working on a fence, cutting through metal. They believe sparks from the work ignited the fire.

Don Smurthwaite with the National Interagency Fire Center said the DC-10 VLT -- which stands for 'very large tanker' -- dumped its 12,000 gallon payload of fire retardant in what amounts to a very rare occurrence Monday.

I can never remember a VLAT dropping in the Boise foothills, Smurthwaite said, adding but any kind of fires in the foothills you want to hit hard.

Smurthwaite says the DC-10 immediately left for Moses Lake, Washington after the drop.

It's extremely unusual to have a DC-10 on a fire, Brandon Hampton, Boise BLM, said. One reason we had it was because there were structures in the area. It was a high profile fire with such close proximity to Boise; therefore, it was of utmost importance to get that large of aircraft on this fire.

The Boise Fire Department says the Ourada Ranch fire sparked around 11:30 a.m., growing to about 70 acres within an hour. At approximately 12 p.m., Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan said the fire was making a run toward Dry Creek Road, and spreading fast in sage brush and dry grass.

Before they arrived, that was when I was most panicked because we were just here by ourselves with our little garden hoses trying to spray everything down to get it wet around here, Duncan Haunold, who lives near where the fire started, said.

As of 3 p.m., firefighters were still battling the flames near Cartwright Road and Sage Creek Road up Ourada Ranch Road. Firefighters say the flames had consumed 419 acres by that time.

Fire crews from Eagle, Meridian, Nampa, Star, Boise, and Middleton worked with state and federal firefighters to contain the fire by 3:30 p.m.

No homes have been damaged in the fire. However, nearby ranchers tell KTVB that valuable grazing land has been destroyed.

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