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Lightning-Ignited Fires Proliferate in Western States

August 12, 1986|From United Press International

Hundreds of lightning-caused fires raged out of control over more than 220,000 acres of forests, rangeland and brush in four states Monday, and new ones were starting as others were extinguished.

The Forest Service reported 300 to 400 new fires in eastern Oregon alone, as thunderstorms continued to pass over the area.

Idaho officials counted 200 separate fires. They said that one 9,000-acre blaze late Sunday forced more than 75 people to flee their neighborhood 15 miles northwest of Boise. Smoke from the fire reached the capital city, but firefighters stopped its advance toward Boise's sparsely populated northwest side.

Four other fires were threatening ranches west of Boise. "The good news is we don't think it's going to grow anymore," Bureau of Land Management spokesman Jack Sept said.

In Oregon, the BLM said that 140,000 acres had been charred by lightning-triggered fires.

In northeast Oregon, a 6,400-acre blaze in Wallowa-Whitman National Forest was expected to be brought under control today, but storms set off 100 new fires, BLM spokesman Barry Rose said.

In Utah, three range fires ignited by lightning had blackened more than 22,000 acres.

Montana reported 150 fires, all but two of them involving less than 100 acres.

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