Powerline Fire spreads to 30,000 acres, air quality warning issued

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Courtesy Bureau of Land Management

POCATELLO — The Powerline Fire continues to grow aggressively despite efforts of local and federal firefighters.

During the night Bureau of Land Management officials said firefighters worked to protect several structures from the 35 to 40 foot flame lengths.

Officials estimate the fire is now 30,000 acres in size and has moved northeast and east from Fort Hall Indian Reservation lands into Caribou-Targhee National Forest lands.

The fire has also moved past Power County and into Bannock County. The blaze is now approximately four miles southwest of Pocatello.

Thus far, six rural outbuildings have been destroyed and five homes are threatened. Several power poles were also destroyed causing outages on Saturday.

Evacuations and road closures are in effect for parts of Power and Bannock counties. It is unclear how many people have been evacuated from the path of the fire.

Authorities have determined this fire was human caused, but have not released any other details.

Multiple firefighting resources are assisting in containment of this fire. There are currently 22 engines, six water tenders, five dozers, and two handcrews on scene. Air resources are based out of the Pocatello Tanker Base and will be supporting the fire Sunday. Additional resources have been ordered.

Firefighters have all the amenities they need and do not need donations. If the public wishes to make donations, please donate to entities like the Red Cross or Wildland Firefighter Foundation, according to a news release.

Authorities have also issued a warning for people flying drones:

“Remember wildland fire aircraft fly low and fast. Drones pose a serious threat to pilot’s safety. Flying drones or UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) near a wildfire is illegal. Drones can shut down air operations. If you fly, we can’t,” according to a news release.

Courtesy Bureau of Land Management

Air Quality

The National Weather Service and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality have issued an air quality warning due to significant smoke and ash from the fire.

Officials say the air remains unhealthy for sensitive groups in Lincoln, Minidoka, Cassia, Blaine, Power and Bannock counties.

Individuals who are sensitive to increased particulate or smoke levels are encouraged to limit prolonged or strenuous
outdoor activity. An increase in symptoms of asthma and other respiratory ailments are likely, according to a news release.

For information please access the department’s website at http://airquality.deq.idaho.gov.

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