Wildfire nears Idaho County community; some flee

LEWISTON, Idaho — Firefighters worked to protect homes from a wildfire in remote Idaho County on Tuesday as wind gusts pushed the blaze toward the community of Dixie, which some people have fled under a voluntary evacuation order.

The U.S. Forest Service began asking residents to leave Monday as the McGuire Fire Complex grew near the unincorporated community in north-central Idaho.

Some residents heeded the warning to leave town, but others planned on staying put, said fire incident Cmdr. Shawn Pearson.

Firefighters estimated Tuesday the blaze was two miles from the center of Dixie and one mile from the nearest structure, he said.

“They’re looking for areas where we can stop or slow down the fire’s progression southeast into Dixie,” Pearson said.

The started with a lightning strike on Aug. 27 and has since spread to more than 24 square miles.

Forest Service spokesman Ted Pettis told the Lewiston Tribune that fire crews are “working on structure” and that about 180 firefighters have battled the blaze.

The gusts were expected to shift to the southeast and in a more direct line toward Dixie, which has between 30 and 35 residents and more than 100 cabins that are occupied off and on throughout the year as vacation homes.

In southern Idaho, the state’s three largest wildfires were proving difficult to control.

The Mustang Complex of fires are not contained and have been burning for more than a month along the Idaho-Montana border, so far covering approximately 377 square miles. The fires will be difficult to contain without rain or snow, officials said. The community of North Fork is threatened and a community meeting was postponed due to evacuations ordered along portions of Highway 93 late Monday, fire managers said.

In central Idaho, firefighters worked on a small section of the 204-square-mile Halstead Fire, and vehicles along a portion of Highway 75, between Stanley and Challis, were being escorted by pilot car. The fire is about three miles from the mountain tourist town of Stanley.

To the south, a blaze that started when a utility vehicle caught fire in the Boise National Forest early last month has burned through 227 square miles. Firefighters who protected the small town of Featherville from the blaze known as the Trinity Ridge Fire reported progress, saying the fire that was about one-third contained over the weekend was more than 40 percent contained by Tuesday.

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