BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Authorities have arrested an 18-year-old volunteer firefighter suspected of starting a wildfire that was threatening up to 100 homes in a subdivision northeast of Boise.
The blaze started late Monday afternoon and has destroyed one house. It prompted the evacuation of about a dozen homes Monday night, forest spokesman David Olson said. Additional homes received evacuation orders Tuesday.
The Boise County Sheriff identified the suspect Tuesday as Nathanial Fay Bartholomew, who faces a felony arson charge alleging he set the Karney Fire that has burned about 300 acres in the Robie Creek area of the Boise National Forest.
Bartholomew lives in the area and was arrested Monday night while actively battling the blaze, sheriff officials said. Boise County Chief Deputy Dale Rogers said it appears the motive for starting the fire was to get the attention of his father, who is a firefighter.
Fire officials said they had the fire 15 percent contained, but they lost all containment as the fire grew in size Tuesday.
Meanwhile, wildfires continue to burn across the state, shrouding much of the central portion of Idaho in a thin veil of smoke.
Outside of New Meadows, crews continue to battle the Wesley Fire, ignited by lightning nine days ago. The fire is visible from U.S. Highways 95 and 55, has so far burned more than 15 square miles in steep and remote forest and is just eight percent contained.
In eastern Idaho, the Mustang Complex Fire has now burned more than 510 square miles, mostly in rugged, hard-to-reach backcountry. The collection of fires is 20 percent contained and being fought by more than 800 people.
Fire officials say motorists along U.S. Highway 93 should expect thick smoke between North Fork and south of Gibbonsville and should drive with headlights on and reduced speeds. Many with homes along the highway corridor have been allowed to return, but are still being urged to evacuate quickly if fire and weather conditions change.