Friday, continuing into Saturday, in Idaho, a rampaging fire known as the Beaver Creek fire has forced local authorities to evacuate approximately 1600 homes in the Sun Valley area. The inferno has so far burned through about 64,000 acres, and has sent massive walls of flames close to homes and resorts in the Sun Valley area of Idaho.
Idaho’s Governor, Butch Otter, surveyed the fire on an aerial tour and then stated about the firefighters combating the blaze:
“Those folks’ job is to fight fire, not rescue people and evacuate them after they were told to do it, and refused to do it. I understand you want to protect your property. But, I will guarantee you that nobody is going to go out of their way to get you out of your house, if it isn’t necessary.”
Those words were somewhat blunt but echoed the statement made by the Blaine Count Sheriff’s office late Friday:
Take your essential belongings and pets and go now. Maintain situational awareness and be prepared. If you are physically unable to evacuate call 911.”
In other words, the local authorities have urged residents affected by the evacuation orders to leave on their own, if at all possible, though they will help anyone who needs their assistance.
The 1600 homes that were evacuated are located near the towns of Ketchum and Hailey, and included residences in the towns of Greenhorn Gulch, Golden Eagle, and Timber Gulch, according to the sheriff’s office. A breakdown of all of the areas under evacuation orders can be found on its website.
At times, while combating the Beaver Creek fire, authorities also closed Highway 75.
According to fire officials:
“All area residents should register for emergency alerts through the Blaine County website. If you are advised to evacuate, leave immediately.”
It is believed that the huge fire was started by lightning Aug. 7, and grew significantly is area on Friday. On Saturday the efforts of firefighters were primarily on protecting homes and resort buildings in the gulches and foothills just west of Hailey and Ketchum.
Heavy smoke has thus far grounded air tankers which would ordinarily be used to dump fire retardant and water on the perimeters of the fire. The grounding of the air tankers has forced fire officials to combat the Beaver Creek blaze by using firefighters on the ground.
Over 700 firefighters have been involved in the ongoing efforts to contain and put out the fire in Idaho that threatens the Sun Valley area. Hot temperatures and gusts of wind up to 30 mph have hindered their battle, and have moved the fire closer to nearby residences.
Hundreds of other firefighters will be joining the ones throughout Saturday, from some other western states.
According to fire spokesperson Madonna Lengerich:
This fire is consuming everything. The fire is so hot it’s just cremating even the biggest trees.”
The Beaver Creek fire, which has forced the evacuations of 1600 homes, is now only 6 percent contained.
Written by: Douglas Cobb