Brunner Fire forces evacuations, closes Idaho theme park


An expanding wildfire burning southwest of Athol, Idaho, forced some to leave their homes and closed the Silverwood Theme Park.

The fire west of the theme park late Friday afternoon spread to 50 acres and destroyed small outbuildings, Kootanai County Search and Rescue Chris Way told The Spokesman-Review.

The fire started on Brunner Road and jumped the street, the Spokane, Wash., newspaper added.

John Carter, a spokesman for the theme park, told around 8,000 people were evacuated from the park, which was done as a precaution, according to Way.

Some families were also forced to leave their homes, and some were unable to return Saturday, reported in an update. Level 3 evacuations, which mean “leave now,” were issued for people living in certain Clagstone, Hunters Grove, and Warren Road areas.

As of late Friday night, the fire had spread to 87 acres, with 30% containment, according to Idaho Department of Lands’ latest update. Along with the outbuildings, potentially two cars were damaged and some houses were without power.

Operations through the night included 10 engines, along with four water tenders, a 20-person crew, 10 smoke jumpers, and two dozers. Kootenai County sheriff’s deputies were issuing door-to-door evacuation notices, according to the update.

Meanwhile, in southern Oregon, the Bootleg Fire in the Fremont-Winema National Forest, surpassed 400,000 acres with 42% contained, but officials said cooler temperatures and calm winds recently have allowed crews to slow the fire’s growth.

The Bootleg Fire, which started July 6, is Oregon’s third-largest fire in history, and it has forced more than 2,000 people to evacuate and destroyed more than 65 homes.