Idaho Deals With Dangerous Wildfires | NECN

Idaho Deals With Dangerous Wildfires

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The state battles one of its worst fires in years (Published Friday, Jan. 17, 2014)

    (NECN/NBC News: Mike Taibbi) - Idaho's most dangerous wildfire in years has been lurching steadily towards the mountain enclave of Featherville. 

    About 1,000 homes and other buildings, whose owners got some straight talk Saturday.  

    "It will not look the same next couple three or four days as it looks today and we will do everything we possibly can as firefighters to make sure that…your community the hills, the rivers, are the same as they can," said Richard Harvey, Trinity Ridge Fire Incident Commander.  
    That meant the mandatory evacuations that would soon be ordered... A number of emergency shelters were already in place.  

    Suzanne Durant, 63, is ready to leave... The cabin where she's lived alone since her husband died has already enveloped in smoke and directly in the path of the fire.

    "This whole thing is surrounded by sprinklers, that is what comes out of that tub," Durant said.  

    These are days of facing hard reality for Kate Baldwin, too. She and her late husband, Vance, had been building their dream house in these hills. He was himself a fireman. And now she says she'll keep working on it until she has to leave and hopes this fire spares her home.

    "The fire will go around this if it needs to, over us, above us, around us, under us... yeah, it'll pass us," Baldwin said. 

    In average years there have been tens of thousands of western wildfires, but this has been a brutal season.   

    An estimated 6.4 million acres have been destroyed, while the 10-year average is around 5 million acres and it's still mid-August.  

    In the past days and weeks, the Taylor Bridge fire in Central Washington has consumed 23,000 acres and 70 homes and the human cost of fighting these fires is ever present. 

    Idaho lost Anne Veseth, 20, earlier this week. She was killed by a falling tree while keeping people like Suzanne Durant from losing so much that matters.

    "My husband's ashes are on the top of this mountain, my dogs are buried in the back of the garage…I mean, this is very, very important to me," Durant said.