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Sharps Fire Forces Pre-Evacuations in Hailey
 
           
 
Thursday, August 2, 2018
 

STORY BY KAREN BOSSICK

Wood River Valley residents living between the intersection of Buttercup Road and Myrtle Street north through East Fork were told to start preparing for evacuation after the Sharps Fire continued its march north Wednesday.

The order affects residents on the east side of Highway 75 in Old Cutters, Buttercup Subdivision, South Hiawatha and North Hiawatha, Red Devil, Indian Creek, Valley Club, Ohio Gulch, the Heatherlands and all of East Fork.

Residents are being told to begin moving large animals and livestock now to avoid getting caught in smoke, fire or road congestion. Residents should also gather essential documents and valuables, medications, pets and so they can ready to go at a moment’s notice, if necessary.

Blaine County Sheriff Steve Harkins suggested residents may want to voluntarily evacuate now.

Every effort will be made to notify residents if mandatory evacuations become necessary, but that cannot be guaranteed due to the unpredictable nature of the fire.

Incident Commander Beth Lund will lead a fire information meeting at 6:30 p.m. tonight--Thursday, Aug. 2--at the Community Campus in Hailey.

The fire, which began Sunday morning, is now is 50,015 acres and 29 percent contained.

Thursday will be a tough day for firefighters scurrying to stop the fire’s march into residential areas. A red flag warning has been issued with winds between 40 and 50 miles per hour expected on ridgetops.

Heavy rain pelted Ketchum and points south Wednesday afternoon for about 20 minutes. But it bypassed the fire, which covers an area from near East Fork Canyon to the Little Wood Reservoir area near Carey.

Firefighters with the Carey Fire Department scurried to protect six structures at the Muldoon Ranch after a wind shift caused the fire to run towards the ranch on the northeast side of the fire Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. Power poles were compromised and de-energized.

Fire officials said they would put firefighters along the edge of the fire Wednesday night to secure and patrol a perimeter line.

Fire activity abetted by gusty winds also increased fire activity on the north side of the fire, causing it to move within a couple miles of The Narrows in Cove Creek.

“It took a hook to the north and west. We’re trying to get around that hook with different tactics. We’ve got aircraft out there and crews working on a perimeter line—how they do depends on the weather,” said fire information officer Mary Cernick at mid-day.

Wednesday night firefighters said they feel confident they have contained the fire on the southeast flank.

Firefighters spent Wednesday building a perimeter line in Quigley Canyon about 10 miles from Hailey Wednesday afternoon, said Cernick. Additional firefighters were building a perimeter line in Slaughterhouse Canyon east of Bellevue, laying down a line along the edges of the fire.

Firefighters had expected dry thunderstorms Wednesday afternoon to bring wind gusts up to 30 miles per hour and less than 500th inch of precipitation. So the extreme fire behavior they experienced on the northern sector of the fire came as no surprise.

No structures have been lost, Cernick said.

But smoke from the fire caused some of those attending the Sun Valley Institute’s Sun Valley Forum going on in Ketchum through Friday to have their flights diverted.

With the threat of wildfire danger continuing to increase, officials from the Sawtooth National Forest, Twin Falls District Bureau of Land Management and the Idaho department of Lands implemented Stage 1 Fire Restrictions on lands within south central Idaho effective at 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 3.

The City of Ketchum also imposed Stage 1 fire restrictions within the city.

The order affects:

  • Sawtooth National Forest, Twin Falls District BLM and Idaho State lands north of Highway to the northernmost Sawtooth National Forest boundary. It also affects an area from Hill City east to the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Reserve Visitor Center.
  • All Twin Falls District BLM and Idaho State lands north of I-84 to Highway 20 from King Hill east to Massacre Rocks State Park.
  • Twin Falls District BLM and Idaho State lands from II-84 to the Idaho/Nevada border west of Highway 93 to the Bruneau Canyon.
  • All lands administered by the Minidoka Ranger District, Sawtooth National Forest in Zone 4.

Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or stove fire is prohibited except within a designated recreation site and in a permanent concrete or metal fire ring. Or, on private land and only within an owner-provided structure.

Smoking is prohibited except within an enclosed vehicle, building or designated recreation site or within in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of flammable materials.

Exceptions are made for people with a written permit that specifically authorizes the prohibited act, people using fire fueled solely by liquid petroleum or liquid petroleum gas fuels (but only in an area cleared of flammable material.)

Interim Ketchum Fire Chief Marcus Kragness implemented restrictions on all public and private lands, roads and trails within the city’s boundaries.

Prohibited: Unattended fires and campfires and smoking except within an enclosed vehicle, building or designated recreation site.

Exemptions include those with a written permit specifically authorizing the prohibited act, people using fire fueled solely by liquid petroleum or liquid petroleum gas fuels.

 Authorities are reminding people that fireworks are prohibited on public land in Idaho year round and they’re prohibited on state and private forestland and rangeland from May 10 through Oct. 20. Exploding targets are prohibited on public lands, as well.

ROAD CLOSURES:

Muldoon Canyon Road form EE-DA-HO Ranch east of Bellevue to Hunt Road. Little Wood Reservoir Road at the reservoir, as well as High Five, Baugh Creek, Bay Horse and Hunt roads.

Quigley Road and Slaughterhouse Creek roads are closed where the pavement ends. And Cove Creek Road has been closed 1.5 miles from East Fork Road.

MANDATORY EVACUATIONS:

In place for residences on Little Wood Reservoir and Flat Top roads north of the Little Wood Reservoir. Also, for the Little Wood Recreation Area campground and High Five recreation sites.

PRE-EVACUATION NOTICE: In addition to the pre-evacuation orders issued Wednesday night, residents of Fish Creek Road are asked to have critical documents, medications, children and pets ready to go at a moment’s notice.



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