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Idaho facing highest levels of fire danger; one blaze chars 20,000 acres

by Teddy Feinberg, Big Country News |

Nearly all territories under Idaho Department of Lands fire protection jurisdiction are currently in very high or extreme fire danger.

In a news release sent out this week, the department said crews have fought 172 fires this summer, most of which are human-caused or are being investigated as human-caused. High summer temperatures across the state have resulted in drier conditions and increased fire danger, the news release stated.

All the while there are currently some significant fires taking place regionally, two of which are burning at over 20,000 acres.

The Elkhorn Fire, which is burning 22,361 acres with no containment, is unfolding in Idaho County, northeast of McCall and just west of the Bitterroot Mountain Range in the central portion of the state. No injuries or fatalities have been reported.

Additionally, the Hayden Fire in the Lemhi mountain range just south of Salmon is burning at a 21,977-acre clip and is at 47 percent containment. There have been 14 injuries reported from the blaze.

There is also a sizable fire in north Idaho far east of Lewiston, where the Little Bear Fire has burned 1,346 acres and is 15 percent contained in the Clearwater Mountains and Clearwater National Forest.

Overall, the Department of Lands is reporting eight wildfires currently taking place in the state, all burning at varying sizes and all north and northwest of the Treasure Valley.