BLACKFOOT — Fires continued to burn throughout the region Friday, with the fire burning on the Idaho National Laboratory growing to 36,000 acres in size within 24 hours.
The T-17 wildland fire was reported at approximately 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon. The fire was burning on the desert site of the INL between Highway 33 and the Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center (INTEC). The fire forced personnel at INTEC to take shelter indoors and non-essential personnel were evacuated from the Materials and Fuels Complex Thursday night. Normal work resumed at all facilities Friday morning.
Roughly 30 INL firefighters and 42 Bureau of Land Management firefighters were on scene Friday with seven bulldozers, two water tenders and one fuel truck. BLM aircraft have flown several air suppression sorties.
The fire has damaged several INL power poles, but no INL facilities were without power. There is also no know radiological hazard to the public.
The T-17 Fire was estimated to be 50 percent contained Friday afternoon.
The Eastern Idaho Interagency Fire Center continued to pick up reports of fires Friday, including two in Bingham County. Morgan's Pasture Fire, located 15 miles north of Blackfoot, burned three acres. Two engines, water tender and a 20-person hand crew were assisting with the suppression.
The Section Fire is located 20 miles northwest of Blackfoot and has burned four acres. Two engines, a water tender and 20-person hand crew were assisting.
The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for nearly all of Eastern Idaho in effect from noon today until midnight. Scattered thunderstorms coupled with wind gusts of 35 to 50 miles per hour and little rain could create numerous fire starts with the potential to quickly spread.