It’s official: Last week’s Sheep Fire was the biggest in the history of Idaho National Laboratory.
When all was said and done, the fire had burned 112,107 acres on the U.S. Department of Energy desert site west of Idaho Falls. That is a bigger overall fire than the 2010 Jefferson Fire, which burned 108,855 acres total, and even bigger in its impact on INL property — 79,339 of the acres that burned in that 2010 fire were on the site.
The fire, which was touched off by lightning strikes last week and is one of the biggest wildfires in the lower 48 states so far this year, led INL to close most of its facilities at the desert site last Tuesday and Wednesday as a precaution.
The fire was 100 percent contained, meaning a fuel break was finished around the fire perimeter, by 5 p.m. on Friday, said INL spokeswoman Sarah Neumann. It was controlled by 6 p.m. Saturday, which means the fire line had been strengthened to the point that flare-ups couldn’t break through the perimeter. It was out completely, with no remaining hot spots, at 6 p.m. Sunday.
“No buildings or structured were burned during the fire and there were no injuries,” Neumann said. “The fire burned grassland and sagebrush on the desert site. There were a number of power poles destroyed. Crews from Rocky Mountain Power and INL are currently working onsite to replace the damaged poles and lines.”