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UPDATE: Fire destroys Challis Bureau of Land Management building

Update: 4:30 p.m.: A fire destroyed the Bureau of Land Management office in Challis overnight. Multiple agencies were out there trying to figure out what went wrong.

The State Fire Marshal and even the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms were there along with city fire crews. The Custer County Sheriffs Office said the fire was reported at 1:54 this morning by the Challis Volunteer Fire Department. As of now, it looks like the fire started in a shop area south end of the building.The fire department put out the fire quickly, but the Bureau of Land Management building was still heavily damaged.

“Unfortunately, with the amount of heat and destruction, there wasn’t much they could do at that point. The building has been seriously damaged. If you go by, you’ll notice there’s no longer a roof. It’s kind of caved in,” said BLM public information officer, Sarah Wheeler.

25 employees work at the office. The BLM has back up plans for short-term situations, but since the building is so damaged, the employees will need a longer term plan for their winter work.

“The employees will not be reporting to work there. We are trying to work out an interim plan — what will happen to services — where will our employees go at this point,” said Wheeler.

During the summer BLM employees collect information on the environment; and during the winter months, they analyze that data to figure out what actions need to happen in the future.

“So those kind of services will likely be interrupted for a little bit,” said Wheeler.

BLM thanks the volunteer firefighters for their hard work in getting the fire out and trying to save the building.

Update: 1:30 p.m.: Bureau of Land Management officials said the agency is working on contingency plans to keep up the work of the Challis office. It is also developing plans to relocate the 25 workers assigned there.

BLM did offer its gratitude to the volunteer firefighters who turned out to fight the fire early Tuesday morning.

Taja Davis will have more on this story live from Challis with Local News 8 at 5 p.m. and Eyewitness News at 5:30 p.m.

Update 11:30 am: The Bureau of Land Management says the fire at their Challis field office is being investigated by the State Fire Marshall. Once his investigation is complete more details will be released.

The Challis office is a part of the Idaho Falls District BLM. The other three field offices – Salmon, Upper Snake, and Pocatello – will continue to be open during normal business hours.

The Challis Field office manages 792,243 acres of public lands, mostly in Custer County. Twenty-five employees work at the office, carrying out the multiple-use and sustained yield mission of the BLM.

Original Story: Fire destroyed the Bureau of Land Management office at 1151 Blue Mountain Road in Challis overnight.

The fire was reported at 1:54 a.m. According to the Custer County Sheriff’s Office, the fire appears to have started in a shop area on the south side of the building.

No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is unknown.

The BLM spokesperson said 25 people work at the office.

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