Wildfire near Rexburg

An aerial view of the raging wildfire currently burning west of Rexburg.

The Desert Ride Fire, burning 11 miles west of Rexburg, is 50 percent contained.

According to a press release from the Bureau of Land Management, the approximately 7,500-acre fire was caused by humans and is currently under investigation. The fire is estimated to be contained completely by Tuesday Aug. 13 around 10 p.m.

The fire is currently smoldering and is on flat terrain burning brush and grass as well as other “fine flashy fuels,” the release read.

There fire crews and resources include nine fire engines, two dozers (to create  a perimeter of earth around the fire to slow down the spread of the fire) and two water tenders (to transfer large amount to the fire).

No structures are currently under threat, and there have been no evacuations.

Kelsey Griffee, fire information and education specialist, said that the fire has stopped just before any agricultural lands. She said fire officials don’t expect to evacuate anyone from their property but if that did happen people could expect that their local sheriff’s office would contact them.

She said that they are mapping the area to determine the current scale of the fire.

“[The] dozer line is around 90 percent of the fire perimeter and engines are working to extinguish any heat along the line,” according to the release. “Winds are expected to pick up this afternoon, which may test containment lines. Fire managers still expect full containment by Tuesday evening.”

Nearly 80 firefighters from around the area helped ring in the fire. They included the Central Fire District, Clark County Rangeland Fire Protection Association, West Jefferson, Roberts, Hamer and Madison fire departments. At the peak of the fire, eastbound lanes of Highway 33 were closed for a few hours on Aug. 11.

The BLM reported that their main concern is for the thousands of acres of sage grouse habitat that was destroyed by the fire.

In a previous interview, Griffee said that the Menan Butte has had a recent increase in man-made fires. In fact, Smokey Bear was there last week on a tour of Idaho Lands for his birthday. BLM released a video on man-made fires at the Menan Butte.

Griffee said many in the area use explosive targets and fireworks at the Menan Butte, also known as R Mountain. She said these cause fires in the area and that it is illegal to use them at the Butte.

“Menan Butte or 'R' Mountain has seen an uptick in human-caused fires in the last couple of years,” according to a post on the Idaho Fire Info Facebook page. “In 2017 & 2018 the Menan area averaged six human-caused fires, which burned a total of 20,000 acres. Fires were mainly due to target shooting (includes exploding targets), fireworks and vehicles off-roading. Remember exploding targets, fireworks, incendiary and steel core ammunition are prohibited on BLM lands.”

The Standard Journal will continue to update this story as more information becomes available. 

To contact Victoria email her at vvarnedoe@uvsj.com or call her at 208.356.5441. at extension 13.