UPDATE: Deer Park Fire continues to grow; 30 percent contained
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HAMER — The Deer Park Fire grew by another 500 acres Saturday afternoon and continues to move in a westward direction.
The 14,709 acre fire is burning on Bureau of Land Management property about 12 miles west of Rexburg and three miles east of Interstate 15. The size of the fire was originally estimated at more than 20,000 acres on Friday night, but aerial mapping on Saturday provided a more accurate number.
Four primary residences in the Hamer area are sitting in the path of the fire. The homes are threatened, and fire protection measures have been taken, however, the fire is still more than a mile away. No one has been evacuated in that area.
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office reports it has begun evacuating homes in the Plano area west of 6000 West in Madison County.
Despite dry and hot conditions Saturday afternoon, federal and local firefighters continue to make progress, BLM spokeswoman Kelsey Griffee said. At present the fire is 30 percent contained and full containment is expected by Monday.
Idaho Highway 33 between Rexburg and I-15 remains open as the fire has moved away from the highway.
The Unified Sportsmen’s Club, a gun range that was evacuated Friday, remains closed Saturday as the area is being used as an incident command center.
About 20 engines, five dozers, three water tenders, and about 107 firefighters are working the fire. Ten single air tankers, two heavy air tankers, and one very large air tanker have been lining the fire with retardant throughout the day, according to a news release.
— BLM Idaho Fire (@BLMIdahoFire) August 27, 2017
Firefighters will continue battling the blaze through the night. Temperatures are expected to drop during the night, but winds will increase in the area to between 10 and 15 mph.
No air quality advisories have been issued in the Idaho Falls or Rexburg areas. It may smell smokey, but the air quality is listed as healthy.
Thus far no structures have burned and the fire remains confined to sage brush and grass.
Authorities say the fire was caused by humans, but an exact cause has not been released.