BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A wildfire burning in dense timber has nearly tripled in size and led to evacuations of a small community and a popular rustic resort hot springs, Idaho fire officials said Thursday.
The fire near Burgdorf Hot Springs grew to 1.5 square miles (4 kilometers) and jumped across roads leading into an area that are now closed to the public.
The fire "did a lot of spotting yesterday," said fire spokesman Dan Bastion, referring to airborne embers that start new fires. "We do have a fairly good chance of wetting rain over the weekend so that may change things."
The Idaho County Sheriff's Office issued a full evacuation for the lightly populated area about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of the vacation area of McCall.
About 350 personnel are assigned to the blaze that's burning mostly in the Payette National Forest. Several U.S. Forest Service campgrounds in the area have been closed.
Six helicopters are making water drops on the lightning-caused wildfire that started Sunday, Bastion said, but retardant-dropping aircraft are not being used because there's critical fish habitat in the area.
Retardant can be toxic to fish, and some of the streams in the area are tributaries leading to the Salmon River, which contains salmon and steelhead listed under the Endangered Species Act.
"We're using direct attack wherever possible," he said. "We're getting close to the fire's edge on the ground and putting in line or removing fuel mechanically."
Meanwhile in southern Idaho, firefighters contained a grass-and-brush rangeland fire on Thursday morning, holding it to about 110 square miles (285 kilometers). Firefighters remained at the scene mopping up hotspots within the fire's perimeter about 14 miles (23 kilometers) south of Hammett.
"We did get some rain out there and that helped things," said fire spokeswoman Kelsey Brizendine.
In northern Idaho, officials with the Idaho Department of Lands said crews were fighting a 200-acre (80-hectare) wildfire burning in dry grass and timber north of the small town of Cataldo.
Officials say five fire engines are at the scene with additional crews heading that way.