REXBURG, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - UPDATE: 8-12 4:55 p.m. A 25-year-old Rexburg man has been identified as the person responsible for starting the Desert Ride fire.
Jefferson County Sheriff Steve Anderson said Jacob Fagersten was shooting a 22 caliber rifle at a firework on BLM ground in Jefferson County. Fagersten shot the firework, causing it to ignite the surrounding brush, quickly spreading from there.
Anderson said the suspect has been cooperating with the investigation and will be charged with multiple criminal counts by the Bureau of Land Management and the Sheriff's Office. He will receive a summons after review by the County Prosecutor.
The Desert Ride Fire has been mapped at 4,537 acres and is 70% contained.
Firefighters will continue extinguishing hot spots and expect full containment August 13 at 10 p.m.
“The Menan area experiences multiple human caused fires every year,” said Jeremy Casterson, Upper Snake Field Manager. “This fire is disappointing not only because all fireworks are prohibited on BLM lands, but because that area is highly susceptible to wildfire. Firefighters were able to suppress this quickly, but may not be so fortunate in the future. These fires affect ranchers, hunters and other public land users. ”
UPDATE: 8-12 10:55 am Bureau of Land Management firefighters have stopped the Desert Ride fire's forward progress.
New mapping is underway, but the fire is still estimated at about 7,500 acres. Officials said the fire is now 50% contained and dozer lines surround about 90% of the fire perimeter. Engines are working to extinguish any heat along the fire lines.
No structures are threatened and no closures are currently in effect.
High winds are again predicted for Monday afternoon, which will test those containment lines. Even so, fire managers still expect to fully contain the fire by Tuesday evening.
The fire is located about 11 miles west of Rexburg near mile marker 68 on Highway 33. It is believed to have been human-caused, although the exact cause of the fire is still under investigation.
9 engines, 2 dozers, and 2 water tenders are assigned to the fire fighting effort.
UPDATE: 8-12 4:15 A.M.
Steady winds and dry fuels continued to push the "Desert Ride" fire, west of Rexburg, further into the desert overnight.
The Idaho Falls District Bureau of Land Management's last report put the fire at 7,500 acres and growing.
At this time, BLM said sage-grouse habitat was the primary concern.
Firefighters were working through the night, constructing dozer lines and knocking down fire to the east and west flanks of the fire.
North and South Fremont Fire District personnel said they have kept the fire from crossing into Fremont County. They were sent to the Plano area Sunday evening.
Idaho State Police said eastbound lanes of Highway 33, which had been closed, have now been reopened. The fire was burning on both sides of the highway.
UPDATE 8/11/19 8:00 p.m.: The Desert Ride Fire is burning west of Rexburg near mile marker 68, just off of Highway 33.
The fire has grown to 1,200 acres. It is also at 0% containment.
The cause of the fire is unknown.
A fire burning in Jefferson County has caused a road closure.
Idaho State Police is assisting Jefferson County in closing the eastbound lanes of Highway 33 at Interstate 15 near Terreton because of a brush fire on both sides of the highway.
Idaho State Police said to expect traffic delays and avoid the area.