BOISE – Fire crews on Saturday gained the upper hand on some fires thanks to cooler weather in Idaho.
Most of the fires were touched off by lightning strikes. The largest one, the 1,200-square-mile Long Butte fire in Southern Idaho near Hagerman, on Saturday was 80 percent contained after days burning grass and hardwood slash.
Fire officials reported more than 600 firefighters have been assigned to the blaze, including 75 fire engines, five single-engine air tankers, one large air tanker, and five helicopters.
Officials at the Hurd fire burning eight miles northwest of Cascade on Saturday said that fire is 22 percent contained, but that residents have been allowed back into areas previously evacuated.
“We’ve had favorable winds all day that have been pushing the fire back onto itself,” fire spokesman Sheldon Keafer said Saturday evening.
That fire in Valley County has charred 1,300 acres, or about five square miles.
In southeastern Idaho, the Middle Butte fire has consumed some 54 square miles. On Saturday officials said the fire was about 65 percent contained.
The Banner fire burning in timber in rugged terrain 15 miles west of Stanley was about nine square miles and 52 percent contained.