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Crews begin exit from Sun Valley as new Idaho fire poses threat

SHARE Crews begin exit from Sun Valley as new Idaho fire poses threat

BOISE — Flaming trees, boulders and other debris that were loosened by fire and sent rolling onto a state highway north of here forced the closure Tuesday of a 14-mile section of road.

The Chief Parrish wildfire began Monday night, doubled in size overnight and has so far blackened more than 3 1/2 square miles in an area four miles south of Banks and along steep, forested slopes near State Highway 55.

Authorities closed the highway section Tuesday afternoon. Early in the day, the fire was burning up the Payette River Canyon toward Banks.

"It's just not a place where you want to be driving right now," said Jessica Gardetto, a fire spokeswoman for the Boise National Forest. "This fire has grown pretty fast."

So far, no structures are threatened and no evacuations have been ordered.

Gardetto said about 100 firefighters were on scene, with more expected.

Meanwhile, fire managers declared the Castle Rock fire, burning near the posh resort town of Ketchum, 100 percent contained.

That fire, caused by a series of lightning strikes in mid August, burned 78 square miles, forced the evacuations of more than 2,000 homes and came within 50 yards of a $12 million Sun Valley ski lodge atop Bald Mountain. For nearly two weeks, the fire made advances toward homes outside Ketchum and was the most prominent wildfire in the state.

"We've been doing nailbiting for two weeks," Ketchum Mayor Randy Hall said Tuesday. "But we had our last emergency meeting this morning. Now the big concern is resuscitating our economy."

More than 700 of the nearly 1,700 firefighters called in to work the Castle Rock fire have already been dispatched to the Chief Parrish fire and others that continue to burn across the state.