Idaho Wildfire Nearly Surrounded

Saturday, September 1st 2007, 10:18 pm
By: News On 6

BOISE, Idaho (AP) _ A wildfire that has forced the evacuation of hundreds of expensive homes and once threatened the Sun Valley ski area was expected to be fully contained Monday, a fire manager said.

The mandatory evacuation order was lifted for the final 100 homes, but they remained under a voluntary evacuation, fire information officer Tina Boehle said Saturday. At one point, 2,500 homes had been under the orders.

``We're looking forward to containing this fire,'' she said. ``Things are looking very good.''

The fire was sparked by lightning Aug. 16 and was 78 percent contained Saturday after burning 74 square miles, she said. No structures had been lost, and no serious injuries were reported, Boehle said.

Ten large wildfires were being fought Saturday on 1,300 square miles of Idaho. The largest remained a complex burning in the Boise National Forest about 80 miles northeast of Boise. Those fires had consumed 390 square miles and were 26 percent contained.

In central California, crews battling a two-month-old wildfire in the Los Padres National Forest worried about hot and dry weather that could undo some of their work.

Highs were expected to reach 102 to 107 and coupled with low humidity, meaning ``you've got the mixture for extreme fire danger,'' fire spokesman Larry Comerford said. ``We're on alert.''

The fire was 97 percent contained and was expected to be fully surrounded Sunday after scorching 240,207 acres of wilderness, or about 375 square miles.

In Washington state, the 60 or so residents of the town of Marlin were allowed to return home Saturday after a fast-moving wildfire prompted an evacuation order the night before. No injuries were reported, and the 5.5-square-mile fire was 70 percent contained, officials said.