CASCADE, Idaho -- Residents who live near Tamarack Resort were busy packing up their belongings and evacuating their homes today after the the Valley County Sheriff's Office warned that winds may shift a wildfire toward subdivisions.
Everyone in the subdivisions bounded by Hurd Creek and Poison Creek were put under a Level 3 evacuation, meaning they should leave right away. Residents in about 100 homes south of the golf and ski resort were notified Thursday morning.
Margo Flaherty is a full-time resident who heeded that warning. She packed up her valuables in a truck and drove away from the resort around 1 p.m. She says sheriff's deputies were right behind to close the road.
Flaherty says Donnelly Fire Department personnel were there to keep an eye on homes and other structures.
The biggest concern remains the weather which sparked dozens of new, smaller fires in the Boise National Forest.
A red flag warning is in effect until midnight Thursday because wind gusts are expected to reach up to 30 miles per hour.
Fire officials say embers can drift up to a quarter mile and smolder, creating new fires and more challenges for firefighters.
The Hurd Fire doubled in size Thursday and has now blackened about 1,000 acres, mostly along the upper mountain range. So far, the fire has not moved down into the valley. The winds are moving north to northeast.
About 600-700 emergency crew members are battling the fire, including 21 crews, 10 helicopters and 21 fire engines.
A Level 2 evacuation is in effect for the Tamarack subdivision area. A Level 2 evacuation means people in that area should be ready to leave at a moment's notice.
Although the evacuation orders are not mandatory, residents are being encouraged to leave.
Gov. Butch Otter will be issuing a disaster declaration for Valley County in order to dispatch more resources to fight the fire.
Fire forces campground closures
The Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation is warning Lake Cascade State Park recreation users that Level 2 fire evacuations have been declared for some campgrounds, day uses areas and boat launches due to the Hurd Creek Fire.
There is a good probability the fire will severely limit the roads in and out of the area, potentially effecting escape routes.
Lake Cascade State Park’s West Mountain, Buttercup, and Huckleberry campgrounds, day use areas and boat launches are closed. Reservations for these campgrounds are being canceled and refunds offered.
All other Lake Cascade State Park campgrounds, day use areas, and boat launches will remain open.