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Wildfire burning along Interstate 15 in Pocatello generates 40-foot high flames, backs up traffic for miles

August 26, 2018
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A car on Interstate 15 drives dangerously close to the massive flames from a Friday wildfire near Century High School in south Pocatello. Find a photo gallery at idahostatejournal.com and a Facebook Live video at the Idaho State Journal’s Facebook page.

POCATELLO — A wildfire that ignited near Century High School on Friday created massive flames and took firefighters more than two hours to contain.

The blaze was reported around 3:20 p.m. along Interstate 15 by a motorist and spread rapidly in the brush near Century High School in south Pocatello, authorities said.

Firefighters from the Pocatello, Pocatello Valley and Inkom fire departments and Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service responded to the blaze, which scorched 10 to 15 acres and caused traffic to be backed up for miles on Interstate 15.

The 40-foot high flames from the fire seemed like they were going to devour the cars moving along the interstate at times, but in the end the blaze did not cause any injuries, evacuations or damage to vehicles or structures.

The wildfire did not shut down the interstate but the flames were burning so close to the freeway that state police issued a warning about the fire causing delays and urged motorists to avoid the area.

The fire did threaten some power lines but firefighters successfully defended them from the flames.

The wildfire was contained around 5:50 p.m. Friday but firefighters remained on the scene until around 9 p.m. extinguishing hot spots.

Firefighters said they’re not sure what caused the fire but there were reports that an overheated car might have pulled over on the interstate and somehow ignited the blaze before driving off.

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