Brush fire on South 5th spreads, shuts down lane of traffic, evacuations now ordered

15 Aug

There’s another brush fire in town, this time on at the 4900 block of South 5th. The Pocatello Fire Department is on the scene, trying to contain the fire.

Meanwhile police have shut down one lane of the northbound street. Hopefully this doesn’t turn out like the last two massive brush fires in the area.

[via KPVI]

UPDATE:  (4:00 p.m.) The Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen said that detectives are questioning juveniles that they think may have started the fire while possibly playing with matches, but it has not yet been confirmed.  They are dropping water and fire retardant on it with helicopters and planes.  There has been some concern that several houses may be in danger and they are warning all of the houses in the area to be ready to evacuate if the need arises.  The fire is not currently under control, but they are optimistic that once more equipment arrives that they will be able to contain it.

UPDATE: (5:00 p.m.)  At least one house has burned and more are threatened. It has now spread to 100 acres and the county commissioner is now calling it a state of disaster.  Evacuation of everyone south of Idaho Department of Transportation, particularly on east side of road, is now being ordered. Evacuees should go to Century High School.
Sheriff is now confident that fire was started by 3-4 preteens playing with matches.  Sheriff Nielsen warned that sightseers will be arrested if they get in the way.  They will shut down highway 91 if necessary to keep people out of the way.  He says crews will be fighting the blaze throughout the night and that high winds are effecting how quickly the fire is spreading.

UPDATE: (6:15 p.m.)  Sarah Wheeler from BLM says that about 600 acres have burned so far.  No new houses have been burned as of now.  They are closing down Chinese Peak Road and Black Rock Canyon.  Radio and communication towers are now a priority to save.

UPDATE: (7:15 p.m.)  1200 acres have burned so far.  The fire is not contained, but no more houses have burned and they do not anticipate any more houses to be in danger.  They expect another 300 to 400 acres to burn tonight, but it should slow down after sundown.

Evacuees cannot head home tonight; they expect that people will be allowed to return sometime tomorrow.  They hope to have it contained tomorrow and will be continuing to work throughout tonight.

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