New Wildfires Threaten Western US
UPDATE: It's getting worse in Utah...
southwestern Utah, the backcountry of Zion National Park was closed
because of the threat of wildfires. Two new large fires were reported
in the state, in addition to three already burning on about 640 square
miles of grass, sage and timber. Another fire near Nephi, about 85
miles south of Salt Lake City, had burned about 5,000 acres, or almost
8 square miles, near the southern end of the Uinta National Forest,
said Forest Service spokeswoman Loyal Clark. Some homes and campgrounds
The US raised its wildfire-preparedness warning to Level Five -- the highest level -- as dozens of wildfires broke out across the West. One of them is at the Idaho National Laboratory. 15,000 firefighters are currently struggling to control 70 large fires in twelve states.
Highway 20 is now open after it was forced to close last night becuase of Twin Butte Fire Which has Grown to about 4,000 acres.
If you work at the INL you should call the bus hotline at 1-877-424-4635 to check on bus schedules.
If you need additional bus information you can call 525-0505.
National Laboratory officials have decided day-shift workers at the
Materials and Fuels Complex on the desert Site should not report to
work Thursday do to the fire.
Other INL Site facilities will operate normal schedules Thursday but are Reminded to Call the Bus Hotline.
Right Now The fire is not threatening any INL facilities.
A new wildfire that started Wednesday evening on the Idaho National Laboratory grounds quickly swept across nearly 6 1/2 square miles, 4,000 acres, of sagebrush and grassland at the 890-square-mile nuclear research area in the southeast Idaho desert. Its cause was not known, said John Epperson, an INL spokesman.
No INL facilities were in immediate danger, but the lab's 700 employees were told to stay home Thursday.
The fire, on the southeast side of the reservation, had burned within a mile of U.S. Highway 20, and the road was partly closed because of smoke early Thursday.
(AP) Map shows large wildfires in Western states; 1c x 3 1/2 inches; 46.5 mm x 88.9 mm
Fire crews set a backburn to keep the fire from jumping the highway and "that appears to be working," INL spokesman Ethan Huffman said late Wednesday night.
The nearest INL facility is the Materials and Fuels Complex, roughly five miles northeast of the edge of the fire and on the other side of the highway. Huffman described the complex as an area of research in nuclear reactor fuel development.
He said the metal-roofed complex was surrounded by vast sand buffers and the wildfire posed no danger to it, but operations were suspended Thursday.
In Nevada, crews Wednesday battled more than two dozen fires burning across nearly 200 square miles of rangeland and timber in the northern part of the state. One threatened hundreds of homes on the edge of Reno.
The largest wildfire in Oregon, near Burns in the southeast portion of the state, had grown to more than 200 square miles and was threatening a handful of homes, officials said.
And in Utah, two new large fires were reported, in addition to three already burning on about 640 square miles of grass, sage and timber. It was so dry there that some Utah communities banned traditional July 24 fireworks that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints normally shoot off to celebrate the 1847 arrival of Mormon pioneers in the Salt Lake valley.
In Southern California, authorities were trying to stop a 43-square-mile wildfire from spreading toward about 50 scattered homes in Los Padres National Forest in the interior of Santa Barbara County. In Northern California, overnight drizzle helped firefighters battling flames that threatened more than 300 homes in and around Happy Camp in the Klamath National Forest near the Oregon border.