Lightning sparks fires in Owyhee County



Posted on July 17, 2013 at 5:43 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 17 at 6:00 AM

OWYHEE COUNTY -- A few miles southwest of Murphy Tuesday afternoon, a wall of orange could be seen.

The Sunk Fire was started by lightning after thunderstorms moved through the area.

Mallory Eils with the Bureau of Land Management Boise District says initially it was just 50 acres,  but then the winds picked up and it took off reaching over a thousand acres in just a matter of hours.

"Once we saw the lightning strikes started to hit we had our heads up and eyes out looking for it," said Eils.

Eils says if storms are predicted to hit our area, they are ready to respond to fire starts.

"We work with the Weather Service a lot, and they give us a heads up to the potential thunderstorm activity and so our dispatch is in there watching the weather, watching the maps," said Eils.

But this fire was not the only fire to be started by lightning in the same area.

Another strike of lightning hit and started the Brunn Fire.

"Our helicopter and helitack personnel were able to get on that one very quickly they held it to about 40 acres," said Eils.

In order to hold the Sunk fire as well, firefighters will stay on it.

"Resources will continue to work it, and look at their different tactics to be able to attack it and be able to get around it as soon as they can," said Eils.

From Tuesday's storms, fire agencies have responded to about a dozen lightening caused fires, ranging from less than an acre to more than 1,000 acres in Southern Idaho.