PINE, Idaho — Thunderstorms threatened more trouble today for crews battling a fast-moving wildfire near a remote Idaho hamlet, where some wildfire-weary residents were defying orders to evacuate.
Electrical storms already sparked dozens of wildfires across the West in recent days, sending fire crews scrambling, threatening communities and impairing air quality in some areas.
Near the central Idaho community of Pine, the lightning-sparked Elk Complex Fire had burned 141 square miles of sage brush, grass and pine trees in rugged, mountainous terrain by Monday.
A few miles to the south, another big fire, the Pony Complex, had burned nearly 225 square miles of ground amid escalating winds and temperatures. Though it’s now about a third contained, downed power lines complicated efforts by firefighters to corral the flames.
Pine and neighboring Featherville were under mandatory evacuation orders Monday, a day after Elmore County sheriff’s deputies went from house to house, knocking on doors to alert residents to clear out of the area.