Crews make headway on massive Central Idaho fire

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by Associated Press & KTVB.COM

KREM.com

Posted on August 22, 2013 at 6:21 AM

Updated Thursday, Aug 22 at 6:40 AM

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Danger waned for central Idaho resort towns threatened for days by a massive 169-square-mile wildfire, allowing managers to give weary firefighters a break and consider sending them elsewhere to tackle other late-summer blazes that continue to flare up across the West.
 
The Beaver Creek Fire near Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley was 30 percent contained Wednesday, with more progress expected.
 
Some 1,000 area homes remain under evacuation orders, however, a reminder of the intensity with which the blaze advanced after being touched off by lightning August 7.
 
Elsewhere in Idaho, 13 homes near the north-central Idaho forest town of Weippe were evacuated ahead of a small but unpredictable blaze started Sunday by lightning.
 
And several structures east of Boise burned Tuesday night, though firefighters had control of that wildfire Wednesday.

Growth had slowed in the Beaver Creek fire Wednesday and the weather was cooperating for more offensive firefighting tactics.

Fire crews were able to do more burnouts.

They did a burnout on the north side, and they're trying to tie the north side of the fire into the old Castle Rock Fire scar.

They hope that will ease concerns along Highway 75 north.

There was a spot fire that flared up in Timber Gulch earlier. That was a big concern for residents, and was creating a lot of smoke, but it seems fire crews have a handle on that area.

"When the hotshot crews came off, they were high fiving, they were so excited, they really felt like this is a huge victory us. We've made a stand here and they think it's going to hold," said Traci Weaver, Incident Management Team.

Earlier on this fire, the night time firefighting was key.  They had a lot of resources heading out at night to battle the flames. Incident command says night time resources are diminishing.

They have crews out at night watching for debris and spotting and they also have some structure engines out at night.

Overall incident management says Tuesday they had an outstanding day, which is the best review we've heard thus far.

But folks in the Croy Creek area, another key spot, are still evacuated.

SOME AREAS BACK OPEN TO RESIDENTS

The Beaver Creek Fire continues to actively burn on 108,094 acres of west Hailey and Ketchum.

There are 1,721 personnel in the fire fight as of Wednesday, hoping to get homeowners back into their houses as soon as possible and trying to eliminate those under mandatory evacuation orders.

As of Wednesday at 12:30 p.m., the following areas were reopened to residents and placed back under pre-evacuation:

  • East Fork Canyon, including Triumph
  • West side of Highway 75 from McKercher Blvd.
  • East side of Highway-75 including Cold Springs, Gimlet and the Meadows
  • Hospital bridge south to East Fork Rd.
  • Zinc Spur
  • Deer Creek

And good news for two other areas, where pre-evacuation orders were lifted completely:

  • Lane Ranch
  • Warm Springs, to end of pavement in Board Ranch

County officials said all of the rest of mandatory evacuation orders remain in place, at this time.

SUN VALLEY

A special tribute to firefighting efforts is expected to be presented in Sun Valley on Saturday.

The 'Sun Valley on Ice' performance will be free to the public, but any and all donations given at the event will go to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

For more information on the performance, click here.

KETCHUM

And the city of Ketchum announced that their Wagon Days will go on as planned.

They're expected to kick-off on August 28th and go through September 2nd.

Wagon Days headquarters were opened Wednesday morning at the visitor's center in Ketchum.

For a full list of Wagon Days events, click here.

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