Idaho City safe from flames, for now


by Andrea Lutz

Posted on August 26, 2012 at 9:20 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 23 at 9:33 PM

IDAHO CITY, Idaho -- Fire managers with the Southern Area Blue Team, a Type-1 Incident Management team, report flames from the Trinity Ridge Fire are still 13 miles away from Idaho City.
Fire managers don’t believe the fire will move toward the town, but continue to prepare for that possibility by holding community meetings to give residents up-to-date information.

Tucked away at the Idaho City airport is the incident command post where public information officer Michael Williams is quietly doing much of the planning. “It’s very unlikely that it's going to come this way, but there is always that possibility,” explains Williams.


“This fire camp is actually rather unique,” Williams adds, saying that most of the overhead management for the fire is based at this command post in Idaho City, while most of the firefighters are staying out in what they call “spike camps.”

Williams says two separate teams are needed because fire crews are attacking the Trinity Ridge Fire from both eastern and western fronts. “As it expanded its complexity, they called in an additional team,” said Williams. “We split the fire into two areas, and we are working on the western portion or the northern portion.”

It's a different scene in Idaho City as opposed to Featherville, where the town has already been evacuated.

While thick smoke prevents visibility and serves as a health hazard in Featherville, in Idaho City the sky was blue on Sunday.

According to Williams, that's just another sign that the fire is being held back on its western flank. “It would have to work very hard -- it would have to work against the wind -- and firefighters are out there securing those lines to make sure that won't happen,” Williams said.


Lisa Perry works at Tom's Service, the only gas station in Idaho City.

“I have lived up here almost 16 years, and I’ve been through a bunch of fires, and I am not worried about it,” she said, adding “If we were in any danger they would let us know.”

Like many here in Idaho City, Perry’s heart goes out to folks of Featherville, but she also sees first-hand the unexpected economic benefit this fire has had on her community.

Perry is talking about the firefighters.

“They get gas; they fuel up,” she summarizes.

Yet, while the main focus for firefighters is Featherville for now, many here are still keeping watch on Idaho City and watching for flames.

“Significant progress has been made along the western flank of the fire, which is what the fire would have to cross in order to get here,” explains Williams. “So again there always is that possibility, but the likelihood of it happening is diminishing greatly each day.”