Image: Homes on fire
Marina Svahn via AP
Homes burn as a fire sweeps through a Boise, Idaho, neighborhood on Monday.
updated 8/26/2008 12:16:55 AM ET 2008-08-26T04:16:55

A wildfire that started in a field of sagebrush and cheatgrass spread quickly up a ridge and burned as many as 10 homes in Boise neighborhood Monday night.

There was no immediate word on any injuries. Residents said the fire quickly engulfed and destroyed the middle-class homes on the city’s southeast side.

“The wind is so strong we’re literally just watching houses go up in flames,” resident Susan Hallamore, 42, told The Associated Press. “Our house went up in flames.”

Hallamore said she, her husband and her five children were away from the home when the fire broke out. “First you’re happy you’re all safe; then you realize you don’t have any pictures anymore,” she said.

Dozens of homes and residents were evacuated. A nearby church owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was opened to provide shelter for evacuees.

All available Boise firefighters and equipment were called to the smoke-covered scene, fire officials said. The Bureau of Land Management has also sent four engines and about 20 firefighters.

Michael Robinson told KTVB that city firefighters came to the neighborhood last week, urging homeowners to get rid of dry grasses and other fuels and create fire breaks around the houses. Robinson said he and others complied, but it didn’t make any difference.

“The fire just jumped across the fire break,” he said.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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