Four growing wildfires combined into Whiskey Complex fire

Four growing wildfires combined into Whiskey Complex fire

Credit: Andrea Lutz / KTVB

Four growing wildfires combined into Whiskey Complex fire

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by Bonnie Shelton

KREM.com

Posted on July 15, 2014 at 2:52 PM

GARDEN VALLEY -- A fire information officer says four wildfires in the Boise National Forest sparked by lighting are being fueled by hot weather and dry terrain.

Combined, the Wash Fire, Grimes Fire, Calder Fire and Blue Jay Fire have burned up to 600 acres and the fires are getting bigger. The wildfires are now being grouped together and they have a new name: the Whiskey Complex.

Boise National Forest and local firefighters have been working hard to try and contain the flames, but at last check, the fires were only about 10-percent contained.

The Calder fire is burning a few miles east of Garden Valley. So is the Wash Fire, which is estimated at 150 acres and is a top priority because it's burning close to homes along the South Fork of the Payette River. A voluntary evacuation order has been put in place for about 60 homes.

Some people did leave, but a fire official in the Garden Valley area says some homeowners have traveled around closed roads to go back home. That's allowed, but firefighters are warning homeowners near the flames to be ready to evacuate quickly.

Local residents can call the Garden Valley Rural Fire Department for more information at 208-462-3175. An evacuation center has also been set up at Garden Valley High School.

The Grimes Fire is estimated at about 300 acres and is burning five miles east of Garden Valley. It's also a top priority fire. Hotshot crews will be assisted by helicopters, air tankers and engines throughout the day to try and contain it.

Meanwhile, crews are also monitoring the 85-acre Blue Jay Fire. It's burning in Conifer trees in a remote area 17 miles east of Lowman. Boise National Forest officials say five hot shot crews will be moved to that fire throughout the day.

A national Type 1 incident management team has also been called in to help fight the fires. It's made up of about 54 firefighters from across the West who specialize in fighting multiple fires.

Fire officials say the team was called in because the fires in the Boise National Forest are predicted to continue burning for days. It's slow going for fire crews and the acreage of the fires and tough terrain requires a more experienced team.

The Type 1 incident management team is expected to arrive in Boise late Tuesday. Members will then be bused to the fire line.

Along with the four main fires crews are focusing on, 14 other wildfires were sparked by lightning earlier this week. Boise National Forest officials say the other 14 fires are not growing in size and range from about a quarter of an acre to six acres.

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