A vehicle with a failed catalytic converter caused a 300-acre grass fire along Interstate 84 near the Oregon border, Monday afternoon, a BLM spokesman said. One eastbound lane of I-84 closest to the fire was closed Monday evening.
The fire started before 4:45 p.m. on the eastbound side of the freeway, near the Fruitland exit. The fire was burning toward the southeast late Monday. A radio tower was threatened. but no other structures were threatened, the BLM spokesman said. Idaho State Police assisted with traffic control.
The flames were out by 9 p.m., but a lot of smoke was still coming off the fire, the spokesman said. Officials expected the fire to be contained by midnight, but crews planned to stay at the scene overnight to work on hot spots.
A 4,200 acre brush fire northwest of Mountain Home, ignited by a flaming bird Sunday afternoon, was extinguished Monday.
Wildland firefighting crews classified the 4,200 acre Martha's Mud Fire as contained by noon, less than a day after it was started by a bird that got caught up in some power lines, according to Bureau of Land Management reports. It was later extinguished.
Fire crews and several pieces of equipment, like water engines, tanker planes, and helicopters, worked Sunday afternoon and through the night on the blaze to keep it from growing, according to BLM reports.
Fire crews spent much of Monday morning doing "mop-up" on the fire -- extinguishing hot spots, BLM spokeswoman Jessica Gardetto said.
The fire ignited sometime between 3:30-to-5 p.m. Sunday and quickly spread into grasses and sagebrush in the desert due to temperatures in the 90s and high winds.
Fire crews with the BLM's Boise District have responded to seven brush fires in the last week. After a wet spring, the hot summer temperatures over the last several weeks have caused the grasses and shrubs in the desert to dry out.
With temperatures in the Treasure Valley expected to be in the mid-to-high 90s this week and a busy holiday weekend ahead, fire officials are urging recreationists and motorists to use extreme caution near desert/prairie areas.
Written by The Idaho Statesman
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