Firefighters have contained a 24-acre fire in Bonneville County near Ririe.
The fire, formally called the Clark Hill fire, was officially declared contained at 5 p.m. Sunday, said Chris Berger, spokesman for the Idaho Bureau of Land Management. Officials believe the fire was human-caused, Berger said, but an investigation is underway.
The fire came more than a week after a group of regional fire agencies lifted Stage One Fire Restrictions — which banned most outdoor fires on public land — due to rainy weather. At the time, Martell Gibbons, assistant fire management officer for the Caribou/Targhee National Forest, said in a news release that “this doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods regarding the potential for wildfires occurring.”
Officials are renewing that message after the Clark Hill Fire.
“While we don’t anticipate going back into restrictions, people need to remember that it’s still dry out there. It’s still hot. It still has the potential to have large fires in southeast Idaho,” Berger said. “Really the biggest prevention measure is to use common sense if you’re going to burn debris or start a campfire. Make sure all of that stuff is monitored and cold to the touch when you leave.”
Idaho Falls, Pocatello and the Snake River Plain are at high fire danger, according to the Eastern Idaho Fire Agency, which includes the BLM, U.S. Forest Service and other agencies. The mountains are at moderate fire danger, the agency says.
From May 10 to Oct. 20, a BLM Fire Prevention Order is in effect that bans fireworks, steel ammunition, tracer ammunition, incendiary ammunition and exploding targets on BLM lands. The order says violators may be subject to an up to $1,000 fine and/or up to 12 months in prison. Violators “can be held liable for the cost of fire suppression anytime of the year,” according to the Eastern Idaho Interagency Fire Center.
“On Friday, 85 large fires and complexes of blazes were burning in 12 states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. About 25,000 wildland firefighters and support personnel were fighting the flames,” the Associated Press reported Friday. “So far this year, more than 42,500 wildfires have scorched 7,850 square miles, the center said. To date, the area burned this year is slightly under the 10-year average.”
The Clark Hill fire started Saturday on private forested land filled with a mix of brush and timber, said Mike Miller, a firefighter with Central Fire District in Jefferson County who had been fighting the fire all weekend and taking pictures of it.
Berger, with the BLM, said crews made good progress on the fire on Sunday, but there may be firefighters there until Tuesday depending on fire activity.
“It starts near the Snake River, and it burns up a little side canyon. … While the majority are grass and brush, there is a timber component to it, which takes longer to extinguish,” Berger said.
Crews from several local and federal agencies, including the BLM, U.S. Forest Service and smoke jumpers contributed to fire fighting efforts, Berger said. Miller said Central Fire District in Jefferson County, the Ucon Fire Department and the Bonneville County Fire District also contributed.
The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office had boats on the river helping get water lines up to trucks and delivering supplies to people in parts of the canyon only accessible by boat, said agency spokesman Sgt. Bryan Lovell.