- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 20, 2016

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - About 175 firefighters supported by airplanes dropping retardant and helicopters have slowed a wildfire burning in grass and sagebrush 15 miles east of Boise.

Officials say the fire on Wednesday is about 7 square miles in size after starting on Tuesday and ballooning to 5 square miles by that evening, destroying a barn and two other outbuildings.

On Wednesday crews worked to build fire lines to the north of the fire and to reinforce a bulldozer line on the eastern and southern perimeters.

The Ada County Sheriff’s Office and Boise County Sheriff’s Office have closed Rocky Canyon Road and all trails east to State Highway 21.

“With a wind shift and a topography change, the Mile Marker 14 Fire has the potential to spread towards Rocky Canyon Road,” said Incident Commander Lindsey Neiwert in a statement. “The last thing we want is to jeopardize the safety of the public and firefighters if that were to occur.”

State Highway 21 is open after being closed in both directions Tuesday. Officials say no homes are threatened by the fire that was caused by people.

Idaho Power says about 22 customers are without power in the area because of destroyed power poles, down from about 2,500 customer without power earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, in central Idaho, about 200 firefighters are battling a blaze burning in timber and brush about 8 miles north of Idaho City, and another 80 firefighters have been called.

The fire that started Monday due to unknown causes is about a square mile in size. The U.S. Forest Service has closed some of the area to travel.

“We’ve put all of our available resources on the fire and have more fire crews traveling from other states to assist us in responding to the fire,” Bobby Shindelar, fire and aviation staff officer for the Boise National Forest, said in a statement.

Officials say smoke from the fire can be seen from Idaho City, Centerville and Pioneerville. But the fire is traveling northeast away from those communities.


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