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Western Idaho fire threatens structures, forces campground closure

by Katy Moeller, Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho) |

Lightning sparked a wildfire about 30 miles north of McCall, Idaho, Sunday afternoon, and it had grown to more than 100 acres by Monday afternoon.

The Nethker Fire, as it has been named, is burning in heavy timber about 3 miles south of Burgdorf, and structures there are threatened, Payette National Forest Spokesman Brian Harris told the Statesman late Monday afternoon.

Jeanette Campground and dispersed camp sites nearby were evacuated at 3 p.m. on Sunday and have not been reopened. The popluar Burgdorf Hotsprings was closed Monday due to the fire activity, according to its Facebook page.

Harris estimated that there are 15 to 20 private structures in Burgdorf. The Idaho County Sheriff’s Office has not issued any evacuation orders for Burgdorf, an official said at about 5 p.m. Monday.

The fire is affecting air quality in McCall.

“It was fairly smoky in McCall last night, and moderately smoky today,” Harris said. “It’s very likely we’ll experience smoke in McCall the next several days.”

About 250 firefighters and support personnel are working the fire, Harris said. No estimate on possible containment or control was available Monday.

A Type II Incident Management Team was scheduled to arrive Monday night and will take over Tuesday. The new team will relieve firefighters and staff who handled the initial attack on the fire, freeing them up to tackle other blazes that might ignite during the peak of fire season.

The Nethker Fire is the 25th wildfire this year for the Payette National Forest, which averages 65 to 70 fires per year.