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Spark from grinder caused Chinese Peak Fire, officials say


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The following is a news release from the city of Pocatello. Photo courtesy Tia Lloyd

The Pocatello Fire Department with the assistance of the Idaho Falls District Bureau of Land Management have determined that the Chinese Peak Fire was human caused and accidental.

The fire started in the area of Stockman Road when a resident was working on his car with a grinder. A spark landed in the dry brush and subsequently started the fire.

On Sunday, July 19, at 2:44 p.m., the Pocatello Fire Department was dispatched to a wildland fire in the area of Stockman Road. When crews arrived on scene, they discovered the fire was rapidly growing, and the Battalion Chief initiated the Gateway Interagency Fire Front (GIFF) agreement.

GIFF was formed in the late 1980s as a means of facilitating a coordinated response to wildland fires in and around Pocatello. Current members include fire departments from Pocatello, North Bannock County, Pocatello Valley, Chubbuck, Fort Hall, East Power County, and Inkom, along with the Idaho Falls District Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Caribou-Targhee National Forest Service. Multiple agencies sent resources to assist fighting this fire as part of this agreement.

The Chinese Peak Fire has burned approximately 1,540 acres and is 50 percent contained at the time of this release. BLM anticipates full containment by 7 p.m. tonight. No structures have been lost in this fire.