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Huge Fires Impact Ranchers

Mountain Home, ID

On a hot, dark night in early August, a multitude of lightning bolts struck the foothills and mountains north of Mountain Home, igniting numerous wildfires. Grass, shrubs and timber were tinder-dry after months of no rain and below-normal snowpack, so the fires took off in a hurry.

Local ranchers immediately jumped in dozers to stop the blazes. Trained to fight fire through the Mountain Home Rangeland Fire Protection Association, they coordinated their actions with the Bureau of Land Management.

"There was lightning everywhere, and I was listening to the fire channel frequency to the Danskin Lookout, and he started calling in fire reports everywhere," says Randy Davison, a Prairie rancher. "And we just went, "Oh my god." And then it went crazy from there."

The winds were blowing at least 30 to 40 mph. Combined with the hot temperatures, the Pony Complex fires quickly raced across the foothills from Mountain Home to Black's Creek, and the Elk Complex burned across the South Fork of the Boise River canyon and advanced northward toward Davison's home in Prairie. Giant mushroom clouds forewarned of the danger.

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