Sheep Fire

Haze hangs over an Idaho National Laboratory facility after the Sheep Fire on Thursday, July 25, 2019.

A 113,000-acre fire on the U.S. Department of Energy site west of Idaho Falls is expected to be fully contained Friday evening.

As of Thursday morning the Sheep Fire was about 60 percent contained with no flames visible, according to a news release from Idaho National Laboratory.

Fire crews continued to monitor the fire Thursday and worked the perimeter to extend containment lines and look for hot spots. Conditions were hazy but no smoke was visible. Thursday afternoon, fire officials said it was sufficiently contained to scale back the emergency response but that crews would continue to work the perimeter until the fire is out completely with no remaining hot spots.

The fire, which was started by lightning strikes Monday evening, quickly grew into the biggest fire on INL land in the past 25 years at least and the second-biggest wildfire in the lower 48 states so far this year. Firefighters from INL, the Bureau of Land Management and many local departments have been battling it.

“In addition to the outside agencies who lent their support during the Sheep Fire, I would also like to personally thank the firefighters who worked around the clock in harsh conditions to contain the fire,” said INL Chief Operations Officer Juan Alvarez. “I’d also like to extend my gratitude to all those behind the scenes who provided their support.”

No people have been injured by the fire, no radiation was released and no structures have been damaged other than some power lines and poles. Most INL facilities at the desert site were closed to all but essential personnel Tuesday and Wednesday as a precaution. The lab went back to normal operations Thursday.

Reporter Nathan Brown can be reached at 208-542-6757. Follow him on Twitter: @NateBrownNews.