FEATHERVILLE, Idaho -- A wildfire burning in the Boise National Forest is creating growing concern for a small group of residents and seasonal homeowners near the towns of Pine and Featherville.
U.S. Forest Service officials told KTVB "it's not if, but when" flames from the Trinity Ridge Fire will reach the rural towns. On Wednesday, the fire was just four miles from Featherville.
On Tuesday the fire had grown significantly, and officials said as many as 500 homes and cabins could be in the path of this fire.
KTVB traveled to Featherville Wednesday and spent the day with residents as they packed up their belongings.
The Trinity Ridge Fire has already blackened 100 square miles of forest land and continues to show extreme fire behavior with embers that are lighting new fires.
Atlanta residents with respiratory problems have already been warned to evacuate the area.
On Tuesday, firefighters did some control burns in Rocky Bar to protect structures. It appears those efforts are holding.
Along the main road in Featherville you could see many trucks and trailers seen coming and going as residents packed up their belongings.
Firefighters worked to build fire lines today in backyards of homes in Featherville in preparation for the Trinity Ridge Fire, which is expected to reach town within 48 hours, possibly by Friday.
Elmore County Sheriff Rick Layher told residents during a community meeting Wednesday that they should pack up, and if they don’t need to stay – get out of town.
By Wednesday afternoon, some people had packed and were leaving town with their trailers in tow.
Cyndie Christensen owns a business in Featherville and said she had decided to wait to evacuate. “When the firefighters leave the area, I think that’s when I’ll probably get in my car and drive away, when there’s fire close enough that it is threatening our building,” she said.
Most people KTVB talked with said they planned to stay in their homes Wednesday because they wanted as much time as possible to pack up their things and make sure their homes have defensible fire space.
Also on Wednesday, the Elmore County Sheriff's Office said residents would be allowed to enter the community from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday. Officals say that residents who want to access their property should do so early in the day.
Many firefighters are staying in town and helping with creating defensible space in yards to try and keep the fire from reaching homes and other structures. They are also taking a wait-and-see attitude about fighting this fire. The weather will play a major role in determining their best options.