Firefighters are responding to the Hilltop Alley Fire near Lucky Peak.  The fire has shut down Idaho Highway 21 in both directions between Lucky Peak Dam Road and Highland Valley Road.

David Olson with the Boise National Forest says the fire has burned 300 acres and destroyed two outbuildings.  Crews are working to protect the Lucky Peak helibase and nursery.

Air tankers, two helicopters, and several engines are fighting the fire which started Tuesday afternoon.  Olson says firefighters are making progress, but the fire is being fanned by gusty winds.

The estimated cost of fighting Idaho’s Beaver Creek Fire now tops more than $11 million. Fire crews near Sun Valley, Idaho say the blaze has become manageable but is a long way from contained.

The mood at Baker’s Spike camp has changed almost over night. There is now a feeling of optimism. Crews are feeling like they can take an offensive stance against the fire instead of a defensive one. They have enough resources now where they can plan ahead and anticipate where the fire might go next, while they’re also attacking the fire.

Ashley Smith / Twin Falls Times-News

Update Aug. 20, 3:06 p.m.: More Blaine County residents can return home who were forced to evacuate because of the Beaver Creek Fire.

The latest update from the Blaine County sheriff's office reiterates that people who are allowed to go back are still under a pre-evacuation notice and should still be prepared to evacuate.

Ashley Smith / The Times-News

U.S. wildfire managers have raised the national preparedness level to its highest designation for the first time in five years. They say it reflects a very high level of fire activity. 

Officials at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise say nearly 32,000 wildfires have burned 3.4 million acres this year. That might sound like a lot, but it’s only 60 percent of the country’s 10-year average.

Ashley Smith / Twin Falls Times-News

Update 10:59 a.m.:  Fire managers say the cost of fighting the Beaver Creek Fire is now at $11,587,000.  The total reflects costs through 5:00 p.m. Monday.  The number is nearly $700,000 higher than the figure first announced at a briefing in fire camp Tuesday morning.

The Associated Press reported the correct figure Tuesday morning.  The AP story also included news of a change in the national wildfire preparedness level:

Beaver Creek Fire, Wildfires
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

At least 13 percent of Idaho's wildland urban interface (WUI) is developed. That's according to data gathered by Montana-based think tank Headwaters Economics. As wildfire season continues in the West, Stateline pulled together an interesting article about the increasing number of homes being built on the edge of forests and how that can complicate wildfire management.

Beaver Creek Fire, Wildfires
Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

Update, Aug. 19, 7:54 a.m.:  Officials in Blaine County say some homeowners evacuated because of the Beaver Creek Fire may be allowed to return home today.  But nothing has been announced this morning.  In the meantime, the sheriff is asking residents to be patient and not to try and return to their homes before evacuation ordered are lifted.

The Beaver Creek Fire is 8 percent contained - a slight decrease during the day Sunday.  It's burned 104,457 acres.  More than 1,100 people are in the Wood River Valley fighting the fire. 

Courtesy of the Boise National Forest

Update: 10:04 p.m.:  The Little Queens Fire has now burned 7000 acres.  Officials say it's within four miles of Atlanta.  Fire managers say winds shifted late Sunday and pushed the fire towards the town.  There is no containment.  A Type Two incident command team will take over management of the fire Tuesday.  Sixty-two people have been assigned to work the fire.

Photos From Idaho's Beaver Creek Fire

Aug 17, 2013
@jp2e / Twitter

The Beaver Creek Fire burning near the Idaho resort towns of Ketchum and Sun Valley has forced the evacuation of at least 2,250 area homes and an additional 7,500 are prepared to evacuate if necessary.

The lightning-caused fire started Aug. 7 and has rapidly grown to 92,700 acres, or 145-square miles.

Here are some photos and video captured by reporters and people who live in the Wood River Valley from Aug. 16-17.

Southern Idaho Fire Roundup: Four Large Blazes Continue To Grow

Aug 17, 2013
beaver creek fire
Ashley Smith / Times-News

Four large fires continue to burn in Southern Idaho, including two of the nation's top priority wildfires.

Ashley Smith / The Times-News

At least 1,500 Sun Valley-area homes are under mandatory evacuations Saturday morning. The Beaver Creek fire has jumped from 100-square-miles to about 140-square-miles. It continues to threaten the resort towns of Ketchum, Sun Valley, and Hailey.

beaver creek fire map

Update, 9:05 p.m.: Highway 75 has been re-opened.  

Mandatory evacuations:


Residents who evacuated the towns of Pine and Featherville this week received some good news today: they will be able to return to their homes Sunday at 5 p.m.

People returning to their homes will need to provide proof of residency. The Elmore County sheriff's office says they will be checking proof of residency -- a power bill with your name and address on it -- before letting people back in their homes.

beaver creek fire
Kimberlee Kruesi / Times-News

Click here for the latest information on the Beaver Creek Fire. 

Update, 9:05 p.m.: Highway 75 has been re-opened.  

Mandatory evacuations:

wildfires, smoke
Ashley Smith / Times-News

Researchers are flying over Western wildfires to sample the thick smoke they emit to study its role in cloud formation and climate.

The data-gathering campaign is intended to help researchers flesh out one of the least understood areas of climate: the role of aerosols, or particles given off by wildfires, and how they evolve over time.


Update: Click here for the latest information on this fire. 

Update 6:53 p.m.:  The Beaver Creek Fire continues to grow and a fire information officer says "It's an evolving situation." Thursday night the Blaine County Sheriff ordered more evacuations, this time for Timber Gulch South to Zinc Spur. 

Idaho Power

UPDATE 9:40 a.m.: Idaho Power reports power was restored to the Lester Creek area and the Anderson Ranch Bluffs subdivision on Wednesday afternoon after the Elk Complex burned poles. Fall Creek and Pine should have power by Thursday evening, while the area north of Featherville is still too dangerous to access.

Areas near Mountain Home and Prairie got electricity back on Wednesday as well. The Pony Complex had destroyed 37 power poles in that area.

Wildfires, Elk Complex
Ashley Smith / Times-News

New numbers from Elmore County show a total of 38 homes and 43 outbuildings have burned in the Elk Complex fire

Elmore County officials have said the majority of the structure loss came in the Fall Creek area when it burned quickly and with little notice over the weekend.  The assessment of the area wrapped up Wednesday. 

Anne Jefferey / InciWeb

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is warning people in the Wood River Valley to stay indoors and avoid physical activity. This comes after smoke from nearby wildfires has engulfed the area. The Beaver Creek Fire is burning just southwest of Ketchum in the Sawtooth National Forest.

NASA Satellite Image Shows Idaho Wildfires In Stunning Context

Aug 14, 2013
wildfires, satellite image

Southern Idaho's four large wildfires have burned 495 square miles since lightning hit the area six days ago. The entire city of Boise is 80 square miles. This satellite image shows smoke billowing from the four blazes burning in what appears to be a straight line across southern Idaho, just east of Boise.