TWIN FALLS • Fire crews have tightened their grip on the 110,000-acre fire in the Wood River Valley as other large fires in the West have begun threatening homes and evacuations.
Firefighters have contained almost half of the Beaver Creek Fire, and full containment is estimated for Saturday, Aug. 31.
Fire behavior is now moderate compared to the extreme behavior seen last week when it erupted Aug. 8, and the nighttime fire activity that plagued firefighting efforts has decreased significantly. Even the air quality in Blaine County had dropped from “extremely unhealthy” to “unhealthy” for the first time in more than a week, according to the Idaho Department of Quality.
The Blaine County Sheriff’s office has lifted many of the mandatory evacuations that were enacted last week and the American Red Cross closed its shelter in Hailey Thursday afternoon because it was no longer needed to offer sanctuary to evacuees.
The containment advance has also allowed fire supervisors to release resources to respond to other fires like the Little Queens Fire burning near Atlanta.
The fire grew to more than 10,000 acres as of Thursday with fire activity remaining extremely active for most of the day.
The Elmore County Sheriff’s office enacted a mandatory evacuation order for the town, but some have chosen to stay to help defend the town’s historic buildings and primary residences until more crews arrive.
Nearly 100 more fire personnel arrived Thursday to suppress the flames, which now totals 247. Structure protection engines and Hotshot crews have placed pumps and hose was snaked around homes and buildings in Atlanta. Zero percent of the fire is contained and the cause remains under investigation.
More than 450-square-miles are currently on fire throughout the state and other blazes continue to burn throughout the West.
The threat of lightning has officials concerned about new fires.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.