By Kimberlee Kruesi Associated Press
BOISE, Idaho — Soaring temperatures and fickle winds pushed a wildfire close to homes near Hailey on Monday, but the blaze backed off just enough to allow officials to lift all evacuation orders.
The Blaine County sheriff’s office lifted an order to evacuate 20 homes along Croesus Creek Road and Rodeo Drive just hours after the order had been put in place when the fire advancing toward private property. None of the homes was damaged.
Fire officials estimate that the Colorado Gulch Fire has grown to about a square mile since it began Sunday evening, leading authorities to call in more engines and air support — including an air tanker early Monday morning. The fire’s cause was under investigation.
Kelsey Dehoney, a fire spokeswoman for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, said the fire was 20 percent contained Monday evening and crews expected complete containment by Tuesday, meaning firefighters will have dug a line completely around the fire or used natural fire breaks like a road. But it’s unclear when the fire will be completely snuffed out.
“The fire is still active in a couple different places,” she said.
A message on the Blaine County sheriff’s website said crews were working to restore power to the neighborhoods close to the fire. Roads leading to the fire, along with nearby parks, will remain closed to the public but open to residents.
The Colorado Gulch blaze comes almost a year after the Beaver Creek Fire burned more than 170 square miles, causing mass evacuations not far from the orders sent out Monday.
Other fires burning in Idaho include the 325-acre Hell Roaring Fire in the Sawtooth Wilderness. That fire has been almost fully contained, fire spokeswoman Barbara Bassler said. While 20 campers had to be evacuated when the fire was sparked Friday, air tankers and helicopters helped slow its growth over the weekend.
Just south of those two fires, crews have nearly surrounded a blaze of about 8 square miles that ignited Saturday. Fire crews have pushed back the time they expect to extinguish it completely, however, because of severe weather.