TODAY   |  August 18, 2013

Thousands evacuated as Idaho fire spreads

Growing larger and ripping across forest land overnight, the country’s most threatening fire is endangering at least 1,600 homes. NBC’s Miguel Almaguer reports.

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>>> thousands of homes are in harm's way as that raging wildfire in idaho continues to grow. crews have been working around the clock to try to tame the blaze but, so far, the fire is the one with the upper hand. m miguel almaguer was on the fire lines. he is live right now near haley, idaho , this morning. good morning.

>> reporter: erica, good morning. firefighters have made some progress. this blaze has gone from 6% contained to 10% contained but late last night they had to order thousands more people to evacuate. this place is active and aggressive. it's also out of control. growing larger, ripping across forest land overnight, idaho 's beaver creek fire, the most threatening blaze in the country.

>> this is an extremely fast and dangerous fire.

>> reporter: at least 2,300 homes are in danger. a wall of flames marching to three resort communities with plenty of dry fuel in its path. this inferno is moving in multiple directions, hundreds warned late last night.

>> it's a beast. if they tell you to evacuate, go.

>> reporter: with 700 firefighters on the ground, crew crews are building containment lines and mopping up hot spots. meantime, a steady air attracted drops retardant where ground teams can't reach. some 100,000 acres here up in smoke, miles of rugged terrain and acres of dry brush the perfect fuel. but it's wind that worries firefighters most. how quickly can it spread?

>> if fire can spread anywhere from 300 to 3,000 feet in an hour.

>> reporter: with flames shooting into the air, this massive blaze in idaho , just one of 34 major wildfires, scorching 11 western states . in california near lake tahoe , billowing smoke can be seen for miles but this blaze not easy to reach.

>> the canyons present very much of a challenge to the firefighters.

>> reporter: in utah outside salt lake city , at least ten homes destroyed. flames leaping the highway used as a fire break . the fire season across the west kicking into high gear with no end in sight. here in idaho where there are ten major wildfires burning out of control, the national guard has been called in had to help people evacuate. the good news, it's believed no significant is amount of homes have been lost here. the bad news, those winds will kick up once again today. erica? had.

>> and not the what firefighters