An East Idaho town appears to be safe from a wildfire that started Thursday and burned to within a mile of its border.
Howe, population about 350, was set to be evacuated around 5:30 p.m. Thursday because of the fast-approaching wildfire that had ignited 4 miles southwest of the town.
But at 7:30 p.m. Thursday the Bureau of Land Management reported that the fire’s direction had shifted to the west and Howe was safe.
Howe is located about 20 miles northeast of Arco and about 30 miles northwest of Atomic City.
The wildfire, named the Howe Peak Fire, has scorched about 6,600 acres.
As of Friday night, officials said the fire was 60% contained, with full containment anticipated on Saturday evening.
The wildfire was first reported around 1 p.m. Thursday along Highway 33. The flames quickly jumped Highway 33 and headed northward toward Howe, temporarily resulting in the highway’s closure from its junction with Highway 26 to Howe.
At 7:30 p.m. Thursday the BLM reported that Highway 33 had been reopened.
The electricity was temporarily shut off in Howe because of the approaching wildfire and any Howe residents still experiencing power issues should contact Rocky Mountain Power, the BLM said.
The fire has not resulted in any injuries and no structures have been damaged.
The BLM reported on Friday night that the wildfire was burning in grass, shrubs and juniper trees in steep terrain.
The fire started on BLM land but since then it has spread to Idaho National Laboratory property.
BLM and U.S. Forest Service firefighters are currently on the scene battling the fire with help from several firefighting aircraft.
The BLM said the firefighting aircraft dropped retardant between Howe and the wildfire to prevent the blaze from spreading to the town.
The BLM said the fire was human caused and remains under investigation.