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Fire Flamed by Wind Torches Timber in East Fork
Friday, April 24, 2020




A fast-moving fire that started in a burn pile flamed by gusty winds raced up a timbered hill near Hyndman View Drive in East Fork Tuesday afternoon, destroying at least 15 acres.

A huge angry cloud of smoke climbed into the sky as smoke infilled pine trees still standing in pockets of snow.

Crews from multiple fire departments, including the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service, responded to the fire in an area about halfway between Highway 75 and Triumph.

Ron Bateman, Wood River Fire and Rescue chief, said that Sun Valley Assistant Chief Rich Bauer was at his residence in East Fork when he observed smoke to the east near Hyndman View Drive at about 3:22 p.m.

Upon investigating, he found a two-acre fire that was rapidly beginning to race up the hillside to the south and to the east.

Bauer established command and requested resources from Ketchum City, Ketchum Rural, Wood River, Hailey, Bellevue and Carey.

By 5 p.m. nearly 40 personnel remained on the scene tending to the fire that by then was estimated at 15 acres. Bateman said the cause was a permitted burn that got out of control.

They’re making progress,” said Bateman. “But gusty winds and steep terrain are making suppression efforts challenging.”

Sun Valley Realtor Tim Eagan said he could see flames through the smoke as the fire torched trees. The fire seemed to take off all the way up the ridgeline.

“Holy cow!” he said. “Crazy.”

Craig Kristoff said it looked as if the fire started about a hundred yards off the road before tearing up the hillside.

“It was a couple hundred yards long and moving pretty quick with tongs of smoke billowing in the sky.”

Jay Noyes, who lives a mile from the fire, said he couldn’t understand why anyone would set fire to a burn pile when it was as windy as it was on Thursday. The wind was so bad that it was pushing motorists’ cars around on Highway 75.

“It’s pretty bad, he said, “High cumulus smoke. Burned trees. One resident said she had ash falling on her deck. But they never sent a plane.”

"I was amazed the big trees it got as it went up one of the ridges going to Mindbender," said Louise Noyes.

No structures were threatened, nor were residents evacuated.


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