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UPDATE: Beaver Creek Fire continues to burn strong

Photo: Image by inciweb.org

UPDATE: Beaver Creek Fire continues to burn strong

By Maria Decaney. CREATED Aug 20, 2013

The Beaver Creek Fire’s size is now estimated at 106,323 acres, with containment at 9 percent. The number of personnel assigned to the fire is 1,835.

Crews are working to keep the fire from reaching Highway 75.

In the Big Wood Corridor, between Ketchum and Greenhorn, crews will primarily be working on top of Cold Mountain. Hot shot crews will continue to build fireline and will be assisted by helicopters making water drops. Dozer lines have already been reinforced with retardant drops.

Firefighters will build fireline around the narrow tip of the fire in the northeast and connect it to the burned area of the old Castle Rock Fire.

North of Hailey, engines will continue to work along the road and mop up in areas along the road and stream.

In the southern portion of the fire, numerous retardant drops were made in the Wolftone drainage yesterday. Hot Shots will be working in that area again today, where the fire is expected to be active.

On Tuesday air operations will concentrate efforts in the Cold Springs Gulch area south of St. Luke’s Hospital.

Operations Chief Evans Kuo stated, “A week ago, we did not have enough resources to attack this fire due to competition for resources with other fires. We had to concentrate on protecting life and property and put resources where they would do the most good. Once we got more resources over the weekend, we could spread out and attack the main fire and take advantage of the moderating weather.

“Structure protection takes a long time. The more time it takes, the fewer homes firefighters can protect. Homeowners need to follow the recommendations of the Firewise program in order to protect their homes and families. The primary goal for Firewise landscaping is fuel reduction, limiting the amount of flammable vegetation and materials surrounding the home and increasing the moisture content of remaining vegetation. Homeowners need to take responsibility.”

The Idaho National Guard has been working with the Blaine County Sheriff’s Department staffing checkpoints at road entrances and preventing access by unauthorized people.

Crews made good progress on Monday in Zone 1 north of Dollarhide Mountain where approximately 500 acres burned into the East Fork drainage of Big Peak Creek.

Food and other supplies from the Incident Command Post in Fairfield are being delivered either by vehicle or helicopter to firefighters camping in remote locations.

Crews are extinguishing hotspots within 100 feet of the containment lines in the areas of Lightning Creek and Wine Creek to reduce the threat of additional fire spread. Incident Commander John Kidd praised the crews – many of whom have come directly from other fires – for their excellent safety record while working in very challenging terrain.

Hand crews will continue to increase containment on the western flank today with assistance from the west wind.

Headway is being made on the lower flank of the zone with crews extending the containment line around the southwest edge. Rehabilitation of fire suppression actions is nearly complete on the southernmost portion of the fire between Beaver Creek and Willow Creek.

Temperatures will be higher today, nearing the 90s, with humidity levels relatively stable in the upper teens.

While expected thunderstorms have bypassed the area for now, the weather will be monitored closely through the day in anticipation of heavy rains forecast with the storms.

Details about the fire are available at inciweb.org/incident/3635/.

Current evacuation information can also be found at blainesheriff.com.

Residents can register for the Everbridge emergency alert system at BlaineCounty.org by clicking on the Emergency Alert Program tab on the left hand side of the page.

Fire information lines are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 877-647-0663, 877-711-1333 or 877-640-3904.