Wildfire Threatens Sun Valley Resort, Nearby Towns; Many Homes Evacuated
UPDATE 8/21: More than 1,700 firefighting personnel have tamed the so-called Beaver Creek wildfire that threatened mountain communities around Sun Valley resort to 30 percent, according to InciWeb.org. The resort itself remains untouched, according to InciWeb.org. This will be our final update unless the situation worsens.
UPDATE 8/20: InciWeb.org is reporting crews have been strengthening a bulldozer line, which runs from near Highway 75 to the top of the Bald Mountain Ski area at Sun Valley resort. Large “Type 1” helicopters were used again Monday to place fire retardant along the bulldozer line. These important actions, and others, are being taken to prevent the fire’s further spread toward Ketchum and Sun Valley from the south. The fire is reportedly only 9 percent contained, but that number is ever-changing up and down because of the wide spread terrain of the fire.
UPDATE 8/18: “It is a very fluid situation as the things change rapidly,” Sun Valley Resort’s Jack Sibbach told SnoCountry.com. “But as always our main concern is the safety of our guests and employees. We are working closely with the fire team to coordinate countywide management of the situation.
“The fire fighters and their management team are doing an amazing job and we have great respect for the work they are doing. The fire has not touched any Sun Valley Resort property , including Baldy. To be on the safe side we have turned on the snow making guns, on some parts of Bald Mountain," he said.”
ORIGINAL STORY: A raging wildfire is having its way with Idaho’s central mountains near the iconic ski resort of Sun Valley. News reports say firefighters have “lost ground” against the so-called Beaver Creek blaze.
Sheriff Gene Ramsey and deputies went door-to-door at 3 a.m. Saturday (8/17), urging residents to leave 200 homes in subdivisions between Hailey and Ketchum. Halley is about 13 miles from Sun Valley Resort, while Ketchum is less than two miles away.
Some 1,300 houses in outlying developments. mostly north of Hailey. remained under a mandatory evacuation. The wildfire began from a lightening strike Aug. 7 and has burned more 92,000 acres of sagebrush flats, pine forests and granite canyons in the Sawtooth Range.
Reuters reports “the blaze has sent towering columns of smoke over the tourist towns nestled in a narrow mountain valley known for premier hiking, biking, fishing and skiing.”
More than 1,600 firefighters are on the scene to guard homes, cut fire breaks and extinguish hot spots to keep flames from crossing to the east side of the highway that links the three towns and is the only developed road out of the valley.
"There is definitely a sense of anxiety," Blaine County spokeswoman Bronwyn Nickel told the news service.
SnoCountry.com will update this story as more news develops.
Top Photo: Snow guns help protect Baldy Mountain at Sun Valley from Beaver Creek fire -- on Leigh Lane atop Seattle Ridge (Sun Valley photo); Second photo: Sun Valley area wildfire (Sun Valley Facebook/Corey Allen)