Sunday, August 18, 2013

Wildfire 'Beast' Threatens 10,000 Idaho Homeowners

Posted By on Sun, Aug 18, 2013 at 10:06 AM

The word "beast" was used on more than one occasion Saturday in describing the Beaver Creek wildfire, which has burned 145 square miles and forced a mandatory evacuation of more than 2,000 homes. Hot, dry weather are the watchwords again for Sunday as overly dry sage and pine trees and low humidity provide ideal conditions for the fire to grow even further. Including the thousands of more homes that have been warned to be under pre-evacuation, nearly 10,000 homeowners are impacted by the Beaver Creek fire, which haunts much of Blaine County.

As many as 800 firefighters are on the scene of what has been labeled as the nation's highest firefighting priority. Crews are working 12-hours on, 12-hours off. Additionally, 40 engines are assisting the effort—each with a three- to five-person crew. Ten more engines are expected to arrive Sunday.

Meanwhile, Idaho Power reports that the wildfire has damaged seven structures on its distribution line near Hailey. Idaho Power crews were able to replace the lines and bring customers back online, only to see the wildfire come back and burn through the structures a second time. Power remains out for customers in an area from the Sawtooth National Recreation Area to Galena Lodge.

Idaho Power reminds its customers that even when it repairs its lines, it cannot re-energize the lines until a fire incident commander gives the green light that it's safe to do so from a firefighting perspective.

In particular, Idaho Power is keeping a close eye on its transmission line between Hailey and Ketchum, the main source of power to the north valley.

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