CASTLEFORD, Idaho -- Crews in southern Idaho are working on what the National Interagency Fire Center is now calling the largest active wildfire in the nation. Officials say the Kinyon Road Fire is currently threatening six homes about eight miles southwest of Castleford.
The fire previously burned within a half-a-mile of another smaller town on Saturday.
On Monday, Bureau of Land Management spokesperson Kyli Gough said the wildfire had burned an estimated 150,000 acres. Firefighters had hoped to contain the fire by 7 p.m. Sunday.
Gough says the fire is still burning out of control due to high winds and lightning from an afternoon thunderstorm on Sunday. The fire is thought to have been caused by lightning around 4 p.m. on Saturday.
One firefighter was reportedly injured while fighting the fire on Saturday. Gough says that firefighter was treated for a heat-related illness at a local hospital, and is expected to return to his crew.
Officials say the fire quickly charred vast amounts of BLM land on Saturday, and at one point burned within a half-mile of the community of Roseworth, Idaho. Gough says that's when BLMstructure protection engines were sent to support that area, but were called-off when the wind switched and moved the fire north of that community.
We're fortunate that this fire is really out in the middle of nowhere, Gough said, adding that much of the area burned has been flat grasslands and sage brush in one of the state's lowest populated areas.
Gough said crews also conducted a back burn along Kinyon Road on Saturday, extending their fire line to the already-blackened soil of the Balanced Road Fire, which burned earlier this year. Gough said that operation kept the fire from moving any further north along Kinyon Road.
Flames scorch along Kinyon Road near Castleford
BLMfirefighters are expected to fight the fire around the clock, but with winds working against them, they say portions of the fire could remain very active.
More than 200 firefighters and other personnel, 23 fire engines, four bulldozers, six water tenders, and two hand crews are attacking the fire on the ground.
Air support includes two heavy engine air tankers, three helicopters, one lead plane, two air attack planes, and four single engine air tankers.
On Sunday, a temporary flight restriction due to thunderstorm activity halted some of the air support.
Gough says a Type II firefighting team will be on siteMonday afternoon to handle major fire operations. That team is expected to keep much of the personnel and resources already fighting the fire, but will take over many of the critical firefighting decisions. Gough says there could be up to 275 total personnel on the fire after that team arrives.