Updated: 5:45 p.m. August 7, 2012
Highway 55 north of Banks is closed this afternoon. Rock fall caused by the Springs Fire has shut down a section of that highway from milepost 79 to milepost 82. "The fire has reached the highway in a few locations," said David Olson with the Boise National Forest in an Idaho Transportation Department press release. " Due to the high risk of rocks hitting vehicles, the highway was closed at approximately 4:45 p.m. Tuesday afternoon."
Nearly 200 firefighters are working the Springs Fire four miles east of Banks along Highway 17. The fire started Sunday and has burned 620 acres. Crews are wrestling with extremely steep terrain with an elevation change of 3,000 feet from the top of the blaze to the bottom.
The fire is a half mile from the Frazier Creek subdivision. The Boise County Sheriff has told residents of the 18 homes there they may need to evacuate if the fire moves.
The blaze is causing delays on the highway between Banks and Garden Valley. Traffic is down to one lane with a pilot car. Drivers on Highway 17 can expect ten minute delays.
Rafters on the South Payette River also need to watch for helicopters. Pilots are using the river to re-fill the helicopters' water buckets.
Crews have been focused on building a fire line on the northeast and northwest flanks of the fire on top of the mountain above Highway 17.
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