Blaine County: Some allowed back, 1,100 others still evacuated due to fire

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by KTVB.COM

NWCN.com

Posted on August 20, 2013 at 4:50 PM

HAILEY, Idaho -- More than 1,100 people are currently evacuated due to the Beaver Creek Fire, according to Blaine County officials. Many of them have been unable to go home for nearly five days.

County officials said all of the mandatory evacuation orders are still in place, except for residents of the following communities:

  • East Fork Canyon, including Triumph
  • West side of Highway 75 from McKercher Blvd.
  • Zinc Spur
  • Deer Creek

They were allowed to return to their homes Tuesday afternoon placed back under a pre-evacuation status.

The 106,322-acre fire is now 30 percent contained and continues to actively burn west Hailey and Ketchum. More than 1,800 firefighting personnel are trying to bring the flames under control.

Bronwyn Nickel is the public information officer for Blaine County. She says there's no word when the evacuation other orders will cease.

"We still have about 1,850 homes that continue to be under mandatory evacuation, and 8,150 on pre-evacuation notice," Nickel said.

Nickel says the evacuation numbers are based on an estimate of 2.5 residents per home, but also reflect the number of vacation properties in the area.

She says many of the evacuees are staying with friends and family in the area, while others have resorted to camping in the nearby towns of Stanley and Mackay.

Another group remains at a Red Cross Shelter at the Community Campus in Hailey.

Shelter director Johnnie Sue Elliot said they have 12 volunteers helping out the 45 people staying there, since being evacuated from their homes. Even though evacuees outnumber the volunteers serving, Elliot said they're all upbeat and ready to serve.

"We have several families with small children that can't be outside for hours in all this smoke," said Elliot.

The shelter is still offering cots, blankets, hygiene kits, showers, three meals per day, snacks, and water to people displaced by the fires.

Lincoln County has also opened up their fairgrounds for camping, as well as Stanley's city park and community center.

FIRE PRIORITIES

Fire managers said they're focusing on the eastern edge of the fire on Tuesday, and that means heavy air attack near Deer Creek, Croy Creek, and Bullion Gulch.

Another area of concern is the Timber Gulch and Greenhorn Gulch areas, along with much of the Highway 75 corridor. Managers said those areas are likely to see more firefighters focused on structure protection.

Fire information officer Shawna Hartman told KTVB that they're expecting gusty winds up to 30 miles-per-hour to fuel the fire. "It can definitely affect the fire behavior," said Hartman. "It can also bring more lightning to the area."

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