UPDATE: Deer Park Fire now more than 20,000 acres; still growing
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MENAN — The Deer Park Fire has grown to more than 20,000 acres. The fire, which was progressing south, has now shifted west with the winds and is heading toward Interstate 15.
However, the fire is still many miles from the interstate.
The Deer Park Fire began burning around 12:30 p.m. Friday, on Bureau of Land Management property near the Deer Parks Wild Life Mitigation Area. The fire is about 12 miles west of Rexburg.
The Unified Sportsmens Club, a gun range in Madison County, has been evacuated due to approaching flames, but nothing has been damaged as of yet.
“We’re currently doing burnout operations to put in a hard black line to get rid of vegetation between here and the fire so we can protect the gun range and the threatened structures,” BLM spokeswoman Kelsey Griffee said at the scene.
Firefighters are also working to protect structures on Twin Butte Road and Butte Road that are in the path of the fire, Griffee said. Those areas had not been evacuated as of 10 p.m.
Crews from multiple agencies are working to extinguish the quickly growing blaze. A total of 21 fire engines, two water tenders, six single engine air tankers and two heavy air tankers are working on the fire.
The spread of the fire is expected to slow some during the night due to less wind and cooler temperatures. Firefighting operations will continue through the night.
The Idaho Transportation Department has closed a section of Idaho Highway 33 between Interstate 15 and Twin Butte Road due to smoke and fire. The fire is now on both sides of the highway.
There have been no injuries. The fire continues to grow rapidly and is 0 percent containment.
Authorities say the fire was caused by humans. The exact cause has not been released.