Dozens evacuate Atlanta, ID as fire gets closer

Dozens evacuate Atlanta, ID as fire gets closer

Credit: Adam Worthington/ KTVB

Dozens evacuate Atlanta, ID as fire gets closer

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by KTVB

NWCN.com

Posted on August 20, 2013 at 8:00 AM

ATLANTA, Idaho -- As several massive wildfires continue to grow throughout Idaho, more people have been forced out of their homes, as the flames move in.

On Monday afternoon, mandatory evacuations were issued in the town of Atlanta, and with around 70 homes in Atlanta, each property owner is worried about what's burning just a few miles to the north of town.

When the smoke started rising just over the ridge, Evelyn Cramer was one of the first to know.

"Well in fact, we were the ones who called it in," Cramer said.

Cramer is the radio dispatcher in town and quickly spread the word that the fire was spreading toward Atlanta.

"It's a little frightening, but you just take it in stride. It's been a dry, dry year," Cramer said.

Cramer is one of several in the town of 35 full-time residents who are evacuating.

On Monday, the peaceful community was even quieter.

The Hardy's are packing up just in case, but staying for now despite the mandatory evacuation.

"We can't go, we have to stay. If they can use our help, we have to stay," said Atlanta resident Jerry Hardy.

That's because this town has been fighting the flames on its own for the last two days with Atlanta's seven volunteer firefighters, plus residents willing to help out.

"It's been almost impossible to get anything. I feel really bad for the folks all over the place, and right now we're the next ones in the barrel," said Atlanta Fire Chief Gene Haught.

Haught says the fire spread from 2,000 acres to 8,000 acres Sunday night when the wind shifted directions, but he says the good news is that help is finally trickling in. "It helps tremendously. I'm glad to see them coming, it's a sight for sore eyes."

Even though mandatory evacuations are in place, Haught tells KTVB that he asked some people to stay and help protect the homes if necessary.

Haught also says the other big concern is that the area between the fire and the town hasn't been burned in years, so firefighters are worried that if the flames reach the ridge, it could spread quickly to the structures in Atlanta.

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