Idaho's Big Cougar Fire Burns 100 Square Miles Near Lewiston

This story was updated at 9:45 a.m. Aug. 11, 2014

The Big Cougar fire burning in northern Idaho has charred 65,000 acres and is 50 percent contained.

The Idaho Department of Lands reports nine structures have now been destroyed by the fire that is burning south of Lewiston. An additional 200 structures are still considered threatened.

Big Cougar Fire
A firefighter works on the Big Cougar fire near Lewiston.
Credit Idaho Department of Lands

Lightning sparked the fire August 2. Mandatory and voluntary evacuations are still in effect for some residents in the area. Click here to find the latest.

This story was updated at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 8, 2014

The 45,000-acre Big Cougar fire burning in northern Idaho is now 15 percent contained. The Idaho Department of Lands reports six structures burned in the fire, and 200 additional structures are currently threatened.

More than 450 firefighters are working to suppress the fire by conducting burnout operations and using water drops to calm hot spots.

The fire was sparked August 2 by lightning, it's burning in rugged terrain 24 miles south of Lewiston.

Voluntary evacuation orders are in effect for residents in Waha and Redbird. Mandatory evacuations are in effect between China Garden Creek and Captain John Creek.

The nearby Highrange fire is now 4,078 acres. It's burning west of White Bird, Idaho and was sparked by lightning August 2.

Mandatory evacuations are still in effect for residents in Getta Creek.

For more information and frequent updates, look here. 

This story was updated at 11:40 a.m. Aug. 7, 2014

Credit Inciweb

Five structures have been destroyed by a wildfire burning in northern Idaho and fire managers on Thursday planned a burnout operation to halt the fire's northeast expansion.

Big Cougar Fire spokesman Tom Rhodes says it's unclear if the destroyed structures are homes or outbuildings in the remote area accessible only by boat.

The fire is on the east side of the Snake River across from Oregon and Washington state.

Rhodes says about 160 structures are threatened by the 64-square-mile fire burning in mostly grass but also some timber. Residents have been told to evacuate.

No injuries have been reported.

About 319 firefighters plus four helicopters are fighting the lightning-caused blaze that started Saturday.

Rhodes says the Snake River is preventing the fire from reaching Oregon and Washington.

This story was updated at 2:00 p.m. Aug. 6, 2014

The Big Cougar Fire burning south of Lewiston is now estimated at 30,000 acres, or roughly 47-square-miles and fire officials expect the lightning-caused fire to continue growing.

The wildfire is burning in rough terrain in a rural area. Still, voluntary evacuations have begun for residents living from China Garden to Captain John Creek. The Nez Perce County Sheriff has issued a mandatory evacuation for residents upriver of Captain John Creek. It's not clear how many people live in the area.

Officials are asking residents and recreators to be aware of the changing conditions, and be prepared to leave if necessary.

The nearby Highrange Fire doubled in size overnight, growing to 2,600 acres.

The Idaho Department of Lands reports Tuesday's fire activity was extreme, forcing crews to shift their focus from structure protection to building a solid fire line.

Residents in Getta Creek are under mandatory evacuation orders. Voluntary evacuation orders are in effect for people south of Scully Creek Road on Joseph Plains.

Find more information as conditions change here.

The Big Cougar Fire was started Aug. 2 by lightning.
The Big Cougar Fire was started Aug. 2 by lightning.
Credit Idaho Department of Lands

This story was originally posted 12:37 p.m. Aug. 5, 2014 

A lightning-caused fire that sparked over the weekend south of Lewiston is now estimated at 19,000 acres, or 29 square miles.

The Big Cougar Fire is burning 24 miles south of Lewiston, just east of the Snake River. It’s burning mostly in grass and some timber. More than 100 firefighters are working to contain the fire.

The Idaho Department of Lands expects the fire to grow late this afternoon as temperatures increase and the humidity decreases. A voluntary evacuation order is in effect from China Garden to Captain John Creek.

Another fire burning south of Grangeville has grown to more than 1,200 acres. The Highrange fire was sparked Sunday by lightning. It’s burning in grass and timber.

An evacuation order is in effect for residents in the Getta Creek area of Idaho County.

Correction:  We originally reported the Highrange Fire destroyed a wood pellet manufacturing company Monday. The pellet company fire was unrelated to the wildfire.

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