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Evacuations continue as Mustang Complex Fire grows

Published On: Aug 30 2012 09:49:52 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 30 2012 11:44:38 PM CDT

Evacuations continue as Mustang Complex Fire grows

SALMON, Idaho -

Fire danger in Lemhi County is growing every day.

More people were asked to evacuate as the Mustang Complex Fire consumed another 15,000 acres in matter of hours.

Firefighters from all corners of the country are pouring into Lemhi County, as smoke pours out of the Salmon-Challis National Forest.

"It blew last night," said Bill Swartley, the public information officer for the fire.

The situation went from bad to worse, after an explosion Wednesday evening brought the total acres burned to more than 196,000.

Homes along the Highway 93 corridor in the Hull, Hughes and Sheep Creek areas are few and far between, firefighters are knocking on every door and sprinkling properties because of a level 3 evacuation order.

"It means imminent threat to life and property and it's best to get out of the way," Swartley explained.

Just south on the highway, the American Red Cross has set up a shelter at the Salmon Valley Baptist Church.

"We don't know how many (evacuees) we will get," said volunteer Cheryl Jones.

Of the five evacuees in the shelter, none wanted to appear on camera. They said the situation was too personal to talk about, but Jones was glad to be their voice.

"You want to cry for these people," Jones said. "The Forest Service does a good job at protecting houses, but they cant do it all."

The shelter currently has about 30 cots, but Jones says that number could grow if necessary. It very well could; the Mustang Complex Fire shows no signs of slowing down.

"This fire will probably be in play until the snow flies," Swartley said.

The expected containment date is Sept. 30th.

The cost of fighting the fire is upwards of $13 million.

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