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Residents of small west Idaho towns evacuate as wildfire grows

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Residents of the small, remote community of Dixie are being evacuated as a wildfire threatens the area, the Idaho County sheriff’s office said.

The fire, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) southeast of Grangeville, had burned about 11 square miles (28 square kilometers) early Wednesday afternoon. The National Interagency Fire Center said in a report that the fire was showing extreme behavior, driven by wind with embers starting smaller blazes.

Idaho County deputies told residents in the Dixie and Comstock communities to evacuate Tuesday, according to the sheriff’s office Facebook page.

The main road out of the area was intermittently closed to allow fire equipment and crews to get to the fire, but was opened once every hour to allow residents to evacuate.

Dixie started as one of the oldest gold mining camps in Idaho. Today, the remote community is one of Idaho’s smallest, though it serves as a popular destination for hunters and recreationists.

Some homes were also threatened by a separate fire burning about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Dixie, according to the Idaho Department of Lands.

The department said in a statement that lightning storms had caused several fires across north and north-central Idaho on Wednesday, including one small blaze burning on a steep hillside beneath some homes in Kamiah. No evacuations had been ordered as of early Wednesday afternoon, but officials said someone flying a drone in the area temporarily forced aircraft to stop dropping water on the blaze.

Fire aircraft cannot fly when a drone is also in the air, putting firefighters, homes and resources at risk, the statement said. Firefighting resources are already spread thin, and additional lightning storms could happen across the state in coming days, the department said.

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