Additional crews arrive to help fight Idaho fire
By KEITH RIDLER
BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Fire managers expressed optimism Sunday in their battle against a wildfire that has scorched nearly 160 square miles and forced the evacuation of 2,300 homes near the central Idaho resort communities of Ketchum and Sun Valley.
Officials said the blaze had grown only about 12 square miles because of cloud cover the day before and the arrival of additional crews and equipment. Many firefighters worked Sunday to create protective firebreaks, or gaps in vegetation aimed at stopping the fire's progress.
"Today they're very optimistic that we will reinforce those lines in case the fire does flare up as we saw on Thursday and Friday," fire spokeswoman Shawna Hartman said.
More than 1,200 people and 19 aircraft are now battling the lightning-caused Beaver Creek Fire, which started Aug. 7 and is 9 percent contained. Nearly 90 fire engines also are in the region, many protecting homes in the affluent area where celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Hanks and Bruce Willis own pricey getaways.
Hartman said Sunday retardant was being dropped on the flank of Bald Mountain -- the Sun Valley Resort's primary ski hill -- to reinforce a fire line. That meant the famed ski mountain known as "Baldy" and often used in publicity photos would have a red line of retardant visible from Ketchum.
Hartman said the drop was part of a plan by fire managers to bolster protection for the tony resort town. But he noted the fire had not yet reached the mountain.
Fire managers said both of the nation's DC-10 retardant bombers have been used to battle the blaze, but one experienced an engine malfunction after a drop Thursday. The jet made it back safely to Pocatello in southeastern Idaho but remains unavailable.
Hartman said most of the fire's containment is on the south and west sides. The more populated areas are on its eastern side and are where the mandatory evacuations are in place.
Blaine County spokeswoman Bronwyn Nickel said Idaho National Guard soldiers are manning checkpoints at evacuated neighborhoods and helping relieve local law enforcement officers. The Blaine County Sheriff's Office is warning evacuated residents not to return until notified it's safe to do so.
No structures have been destroyed since a house and outbuildings burned Thursday, officials said. On the fire line, a few minor injuries have been reported.
Authorities have told Ketchum and Sun Valley residents to be ready to evacuate if necessary. About 2,700 people live in Ketchum, 1,400 in Sun Valley.
Elsewhere in the West, the last evacuation orders were scheduled to be lifted Monday after a series of mountain fires burned more than a dozen homes in Utah.
More than 100 residents who were forced to leave Rockport Estates and Rockport Ranches, about 45 miles east of Salt Lake City, will be allowed to return in the morning.
Among them are family members of a couple who got married over the weekend in a backup ceremony at a century-old church after they had to flee their original venue with the bride's wedding dress.
Tawni Sprouce and Travis Mann planned to exchange their vows at her parents' home overlooking Rockport Reservoir. But the residence was among the scores evacuated after the lightning-sparked Rockport fire burned nearly 2,000 acres.
First, the couple moved the wedding to a campsite at Rockport State Park near the community of Waneship. But rain then pushed the ceremony inside the park's Old Church.
Mann said that given the circumstances, the couple welcomed the moisture. He said Saturday's ceremony eventually went off without a hitch.
Fire officials said Sunday the Rockport fire was 70 percent contained.
Utah's biggest blaze, the Patch Springs Fire, was estimated at 50 square miles and 25 percent contained Sunday.
Evacuation orders have been lifted for that fire, which burned 10 homes near Willow Springs on Friday. But a portion of State Highway 199 remained closed.
Partner of reporter at center of NSA leak detained
By DANICA KIRKA
LONDON (AP) -- The partner of a journalist who received leaks from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden was detained for nearly nine hours Sunday under anti-terror legislation at Heathrow Airport, triggering claims that authorities are trying to interfere with reporting on the issue.
David Miranda, the partner of Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, was held for nearly the maximum time authorities are allowed to detain individuals under the Terrorism Act's Schedule 7, which authorizes security agencies to stop and question people at borders. Greenwald said Miranda's cellphone, laptops and memory sticks were confiscated.
"This is obviously a rather profound escalation of their attacks on the news-gathering process and journalism," Greenwald said in a post on the Guardian website. "It's bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It's worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic."
Greenwald has written a series of stories about the NSA's electronic surveillance programs based on files handed over by Snowden. The former contractor fled the United States and is now in Russia, where he has received temporary asylum.
The 28-year-old Miranda was returning home to Brazil from Germany, where he was staying with Laura Poitras, a U.S. filmmaker who has worked with Greenwald on the NSA story, Greenwald said in his post. He also said British authorities had "zero suspicion" that Miranda was linked to a terror group and instead interrogated him about the NSA reporting and the contents of the electronic equipment he was carrying.
"If the U.K. and U.S. governments believe that tactics like this are going to deter or intimidate us in any way from continuing to report aggressively on what these documents reveal, they are beyond deluded," he said. "If anything, it will have only the opposite effect: to embolden us even further."
London police acknowledged that they had detained a 28-year-old man at 8:05 a.m. He was released at 5 p.m. without being arrested, the Metropolitan Police Service said.
"They kept David detained right up until the last minute: for the full 9 hours, something they very rarely do. Only at the last minute did they finally release him," Greenwald said. "This was obviously designed to send a message of intimidation to those of us working journalistically on reporting on the NSA and its British counterpart, the GCHQ."
The Home Office says in a report released last year that more than 97 percent of those questioned under Schedule 7 are detained for less than an hour. Less than a tenth of 1 percent are held for more than six hours. Some 230,236 people were questioned under Schedule 7 from April 2009 through March 2012.
Schedule 7 is designed to help authorities determine whether people crossing U.K. borders have been involved in the "commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism," according to the Home Office report. Border agents are not required to have reasonable suspicion before detaining a traveler.
Examining officers may require travelers to answer questions or provide documents. Detainees may be held for up to nine hours if they refuse to cooperate, the Home Office report said.
Greenwald's post said the Guardian sent lawyers to the airport. Detainees have the right to legal representation, though publicly funded legal advice is not guaranteed.
The Brazilian government expressed "grave concern" over the detention of Miranda, Greenwald's longtime partner with whom he's in a civil union. The pair lives in Rio de Janeiro.
Brazil's Foreign Ministry said in a statement Sunday that Miranda was "detained and held incommunicado."
The statement went on to say that the foreign ministry considered the detention "unjustifiable, as it involves an individual against whom there are no accusations that could possibly legitimize the use of such legislation."
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