Fire in Idaho grows to 90,000 acres in less than a day

Idaho National Laboratory suspends operations

By Chris Boyette and Hollie Silverman, CNN
Copyright 2019 CNN

Idaho National Laboratory suspends operations and a wildfire burns tens of thousands of acres.

BINGHAM COUNTY, Idaho - An Idaho wildfire that burned 113,000 acres and forced the evacuation of the nation's leading nuclear energy research lab has been partially contained, officials said Wednesday.

The Sheep Fire was sparked by a lightning strike around 6:30 p.m. Monday near Idaho Falls, in the southeastern part of the state, and grew quickly, said the Idaho National Laboratory's (INL) emergency Joint Information Center.

The fire forced the INL, part of the Department of Energy, to suspend some operations Tuesday. Non-essential employees were evacuated at several facilities, the laboratory said in a news release. Operations also were to be curtailed for non-essential staff on Wednesday.

The INL said the fire "doesn't pose an immediate threat to key research facilities" and there had been no effect on commercial power throughout the site.

Crews from the INL and the Bureau of Land Management are fighting the blaze.

The Sheep Fire is one of several fires burning in Idaho where dry conditions and rising temperatures are creating a perfect environment for summer wildfires to burn quickly.

The Vader Fire, Canyon Fire and Shady Fire are burning farther west in National Forest land.

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