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Officials urge home evacuation near Avelene Fire

Officials urge home evacuation near Avelene Fire

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Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 6:06 pm | Updated: 6:45 pm, Wed Jul 11, 2012.

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Boise County authorities issued a voluntary evacuation order Wednesday for people living near a wildfire burning in the forest about 25 miles northeast of Idaho's capital city.

The order issued by the Boise County Sheriff Department specifically targeted residents living within a mile of the Avelene Fire, which grew to 250 acres by Wednesday afternoon. The fire, located about 25 miles northeast of Boise, was among several fires that flared up Wednesday due to lightning strikes.

Fire crews managed to build lines around 50 percent of the perimeter, but hot temperatures and high winds Wednesday night provoked concern among law enforcement, said Dave Olson, spokesman for the Boise National Forest.

"Progress was definitely made today," Olson said. "But the bad news is ... the fire behavior is going to be more active late Wednesday."

Lightning strikes are blamed for at least seven new fires burning between Twin Falls and Malta. Officials with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management Twin Falls District said crews are battling at least seven fires in the region, though several are expected to be contained later Wednesday.

Elsewhere, about 100 firefighters were dispatched to contain a fire burning in thick, dense forest 10 miles east of Donnelly.

Two additional small blazes were reported burning in the foothills just northeast of Boise near a populated area. They were likely started by storms that rolled through the area Wednesday morning and brought lightning and thunder but little rain.

Bureau of Land Management crews were investigating.

Officials also are monitoring nine fires in southwestern Idaho that range in size from a tenth of an acre to more than 3 square miles. At least two were human-caused.

BLM officials say they expect full containment of the Kinyon Road Fire on Wednesday.

It has been the state's largest fire to date in 2012, burning through some 340 square miles of grass and sagebrush in south-central Idaho over the past three days.

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