Crews Prepare As Fire Creeps Toward Idaho Town

Aug 21, 2012

Fire crews in southern Idaho are now at a standoff with a fire that’s surrounded the resort town of Featherville. It’s been clear for days that the town’s businesses and summer homes are in the path of the 90,000 acre Trinity Ridge Fire east of Boise. But fire managers say they have to wait for the blaze to creep to lower ground before crews can fight it head-on.

“It’s frustrating for the firefighters too because they would like to engage the fire -- that’s what they do," says fire information officer Steve Till. "But where it is, up on the mountain, there’s not a safe way to put people in front of it. So, that’s why we’re waiting for it to come to us so we can deal with it on our terms rather than its terms.”

Meanwhile, about 30 residents are refusing to leave Featherville, despite an evacuation order over the weekend. Till says sheriff deputies cannot force anyone out of their homes.

“Of course they’ve been told by the firefighters, we will do all we can to protect your homes and you but we’re not going to risk our firefighters’ lives if you insist on staying someplace we ask you to leave. That sounds kind of harsh but the reality is, people that stay in their homes don’t help us any. They’re one additional thing the fire people have to worry about.”

Till says cooler temperatures could give a boost to the team of 1,000 people now fighting the massive blaze. Idaho Gov. Butch Otter plans to join state emergency management officials on helicopter tour of Idaho’s wildfires.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network

On the Web:

Trinity Ridge Fire updates: