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Evacuations ordered as wildfire threatens town in west-central Idaho

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BOISE, Idaho — Residents in west-central Idaho near the town of Riggins have been told to evacuate due to a wildfire that expanded to 40 square miles Thursday, an 11-square-mile jump.

Fire managers say the fire made runs through the tops of trees and had long-range spotting with embers shooting out ahead.

Nearly 600 firefighters are working to protect structures, put in fire lines and use burnouts along U.S. Highway 95 and the Salmon River.

Officials said they expect the fire to make runs to the north and east, and that the fire is also actively burning south after crossing a creek.

"We continue to build fire lines to the south to try to cut if off," said fire spokesman Don Carpenter.

He said U.S. Highway 95 remains open but motorists should be alert for fire equipment moving on the highway.

In northern Idaho, a group of blazes that destroyed 42 homes is now 65 percent contained and remained at 74 square miles.

"The fires are not growing," said fire spokesman Todd Schroeder. "We're working on strengthening lines of containment. Right now it's a mop-up game."

About 630 firefighters are working on the blazes.

There are 21 large fires burning in Idaho, the National Interagency Fire Center says.

Meanwhile, officials starting this week are capturing 285 wild horses in southwest Idaho following a 443-square-mile fire. Authorities say the area no longer contains enough food for the horses.

Officials said that after being captured the horses will be held at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Boise Wild Horse Corrals until the range recovers, and then released.

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