FEATHERVILLE, Idaho -- Idaho's governor has activated the national guard in response to at least nine major wildfires burning across Idaho, including the 68,000-acre Trinity Ridge Wildfire in Elmore County.
The Trinity Ridge Fire has blackened more than 100-square-miles of the Boise National Forest and is currently threatening the small communities of Featherville and Pine.
In a Thursday morning update, officials from the Boise National Forest said the fire thankfully hadn't burned much closer to Featherville overnight. Instead, they say the fire expanded west, overtaking the western ridge of Sheep Mountain. Cooler temperatures and lower winds on Friday are expected to keep the fire at bay, at least temporarily.
Sheriff's deputies say that means they'll open area roads to residents and homeowners from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday.
On Wednesday, the Elmore County Sheriff's Office closed nearby roads and instructed nearby residents to collect all important belongings and prepare for evacuation. The move came after the fire grew significantly Tuesday night.
On Wednesday, Dave Olson with the Boise National Forest told KTVB he believed the wildfire would eventually reach the community of Featherville.
However, on Thursday, officials with the fire's overhead incident command team said they were uncertain if the fire would reach the town or not.
The reason: they say the fire's forward progress slowed overnight on Thursday due to favorable weather.
"The weather we had yesterday was not as harsh as we predicted," said Public Information Officer Steve Till. "The good news is the fire was less active than we thought it would be, so it's given us some more time."
Till says that means residents and homeowners will have more time to prepare a possible evacuation. In the meantime, he says firefighters will continue to clear brush and hazardous items from around homes, along with trimming trees.
NATIONAL GUARD ACTIVATED
When Idaho's governor signed a disaster declaration on Wednesday, he effectively allowed the Idaho Department of Lands to trigger its agreement with the Idaho National Guard to provide additional support to fire crews. That means Idaho Emergency Operations Center has been activated and will be issuing assignments to the Idaho National Guard.
Authorities in Elmore County have also requested that the Bureau of Homeland Security pursue federal assistance to help protect threatened property and communities near the Trinity Ridge Fire.
Officials expect the fire to keep growing on Saturday and Sunday due to forecast higher temperatures and winds in the area. 934