Wildfires destroy Idaho Power lines

Two fires that have burned more than a quarter million acres of forest land east of Boise, Idaho, have destroyed two power lines and over 125 support structures that serve several rural communities.

The Pony Complex fire, which had burned nearly 144,000 acres of grass, sage and timber by midday on Aug. 13, and the Elk Complex fire, which had burned nearly 112,000 acres of grass, brush and conifer, are among dozens of fires across the West that were sparked by thunderstorms over the past several days.

“One of the fires has burned 36 poles while the other has destroyed 92 poles,” an Idaho Power spokesperson told TransmissionHub Aug. 13. “We have four crews working on one of the fires and five crews working on another” to restore the lines, known as the DIXI31 and ELMR41, to service.

The crews are working 16-hour shifts, the spokesperson said.

The 19-kV lines serve the communities of Prairie, Pine and neighboring Featherville, and the area around Anderson Ranch Dam, which are located approximately 50 miles east of Boise.

Crews are only allowed to work in areas where the fire has been extinguished and, for safety reasons tied to the difficult terrain, they can only work during daylight hours.

“We are making good progress on getting those lines restored,” the spokesperson said. While any estimate at this time “would only be a guess,” Idaho Power expects the lines to be rebuilt in “a matter of days, not weeks.”  

Idaho Power is a subsidiary of IDACORP (NYSE:IDA).