9 p.m. UPDATE: St. Luke's Wood River Valley Evacuating, ER Open; HWY 75 Reopened

2013-08-16T18:45:00Z 9 p.m. UPDATE: St. Luke's Wood River Valley Evacuating, ER Open; HWY 75 ReopenedBy Kimberlee Kruesi, kkruesi@magicvalley.com Dan Warner, dwarner@magicvalley.com Alison Smith, alismith@magicvalley.com Twin Falls Times-News

HAILEY • The St. Luke's Wood River Valley Medical Center is evacuating patients tonight, a hospital spokeswoman said. The ER remains open.

The hospital had a total of four patients who were evacuated via ground transport to St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center in Twin Falls.

The hospital is now in the mandatory evacuation zone, but has been given an exemption that will allow the hospital to keep its emergency department open.

The hospital has sufficient staff to operate the emergency department, but all other services at the hospital have been scaled back. The public is asked to only visit the emergency department for serious or emergency cases. Everyone else should use the Hailey clinic.

Resident of Hailey west of River Street and north of Cedar Street who were evacuated earlier are now being allowed to return to their homes.

"Please be advised that the area remains under pre-evacuation notice," the Sheriff's office said. "Maintain situational awareness and be prepared."

At about 9 p.m. Idaho Highway 75 was reopened. It had been closed at Ohio Gulch, Elkhorn light and East Fork.

Mandatory Evacuations:

-Treasure Lane South to McKercher Blvd. including Aspen Lakes

-West of River Street in Hailey

-North of Cedar Street in Hailey

-All Croy Creek Canyon from Big Wood River Bridge west

-North of East Fork to Hospital Bridge on both east and west sides of Highway includes Broadway Run.

-Indian Creek

-Ohio Gulch

-Heatherlands (includes Valley Club)

-The area between Zinc Spur and Treasure Lane

-Baker Creek area south to North Fork on the west side of Idaho 75.

-East Fork

-Greenhorn Gulch

-Golden Eagle

-Timber Gulch south town to Treasure Lane west of Idaho 74.

-Deer Creek from the Big Wood Bridge west

-Baker Creek on west side of Idaho 75 to North Fork (SNRA jeadquarters) including Easley. Does not include Galena Lodge.

Pre-Evacuation Areas:

-West of River Street and north of Cedar Street in Hailey (Does not include Albertson's)

-Gimlet to North Fork (below SNRA Headquarters) on both sides of Hwy 75 . This includes Warm Springs and the Cities of Ketchum and Sun Valley

The Blaine County Sheriff's Office is working to evacuate everyone from those homes and is encouraging residents in the Ketchum and Sun Valley areas to evacuate their homes now, though they are currently under pre-evacuation alert rather than a mandatory evacuation. The Sheriff's Office hopes this will reduced traffic congestion if a mandatory evacuation becomes necessary.

Croy Creek is now also under a pre-evacuation order. The sheriff's office asks people leaving the area to evacuate to the south. Avoid the Ketchum and Sun Valley areas if possible.

Emergency managers have asked that the public limit use of the cellular network so essential services can continue in the Wood River Valley, the sheriff's office said.

The area between North Fork and Indian Creek on both sides of Idaho 75 is under pre-evacuation alert, including Ketchum, Sun Valley and Warm Springs. Residents under pre-evacuation notice are encouraged to leave now to avoid potential traffic congestion if mandatory evacuations are put in place.

The sheriff's office urges residents to leave their homes if they are in danger even if they have not yet received an evacuation order.

Transportation

Residents should evacuate to the south and call 911 if physically unable to evacuate.

Mountain Rides will run two free buses each hour from Wells Fargo in Ketchum to points south.

If residents need help moving animals or need a place to park trailers, call the info line at 578-3367.

The sheriff's office is asking travelers to not venture to the Ketchum area. It also recommends that non-residents of the North Valley leave now.

Finding Shelter

The American Red Cross of Greater Idaho has a shelter set up at the Community Campus at Wood River High School, said Roger Hinton, the preparedness and response specialist for the South Central Idaho District.
 
No one is staying in the shelter right now, but Hinton said he has supplies for about 150 people.
 
"We can get more, that's what we have in place right now," he said. "All we have to do is pick up the phone."
 
Hinton encouraged people under pre-evacuation orders to start packing now because of the fire's speed. If a mandatory evacuation is ordered, people will be asked to leave immediately with no time to pack.
 
For Red Cross information, call 208-280-2315.
 
Hospital
 

St. Luke’s Wood River Valley Medical Center was evacuating its patients and staff Friday night. People with medical emergencies were advised to use the Hailey clinic.

Earlier in the day the hospital reduced nonessential staff but did not close.

Animals

The Twin Falls Animal Shelter posted on their Facebook page that someone offered to help evacuated families find animal boarding. Call Jane Weatherly at 208-481-0968.

The Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley is currently under pre-evacuation notice. The group posted on their Facebook page that they would not be answering their phones Friday and have a plan in place. They requested people not come to the shelter.

Friday afternoon the animal shelter posted on their Facebook page that all of its animals had been evacuated.

The Sawtooth Animal Center in Bellevue has seen an influx in animals brought in from people who have evacuated, said kennel assistant Kristin Davidson.

The center is looking for crates to be donated for the additional animals they're expecting to be brought there, she said.

Right now, 87 animals were being boarded and the center is expecting more.

"Generally 87 is a very busy weekend for us," she said. "It's about the max."

The center is looking for crates of all sizes, Davidson said.

Horses from the Galena Stage Stop Corrals, run by Mystic Saddle Ranch, were being evacuated Friday, said employee Cody Miller.

The horses were being transported to Stanley, he said.

Power Still On

So far, there are no major issues with electricity in the area, said Kevin Winsdlow, an Idaho Power spokesman.

"Right now we just have tiny little outages in those areas," he said.

Idaho Power is looking to the Blaine County Disaster Service and the Forest Service for direction, he said.

Sun Valley

Sun Valley Resort turned on its snow guns Thursday on Seattle Ridge.

"We have sprinklers on top of our Seattle Ridge Day Lodge up there," said Jack Sibbach, marketing director for Sun Valley. "The fire isn't there; it's miles away. But with winds, you're worried about embers. With a fire like this, it could blow an ember 3 miles."

Resort staff is on the mountain working with the U.S. Forest Service.

"The Forest Service and incident commanders are doing a great job up here," Sibbach said.

The resort is explaining the situation to its guests, and some have chosen to end their vacations early, he said.

"It's certainly up to them. We've done the same with our employees, especially ones that have to go south."

The resort's airport pickup service was still active Friday, traveling on Idaho 75 to get people from the airport, he said.

Cancellations

The Sun Valley Symphony announced on its website that it is canceling the remainder of its season.

The Sun Valley Writers' Conference is also canceled.

The Town Walk and the Poodle Party scheduled for Saturday in Hailey are canceled and the Kelley Bollen workshop at the Community Library in Ketchum also is canceled.

The Sun Valley special city council meeting scheduled for Aug. 20 is canceled.

Structure Protection

State Farm has released some insurance guidelines for evacuees and everyone affected by the fire. Spokeswoman Angela Thorpe said you should save your receipts from expenses triggered by the fire and inspect your property for damage when it's safe to return.

Property owners not under evacuation or in pre-evacuation preparation mode should take stock of their belongings, including by taking photos of the inside of their homes.

Along with structure protection efforts in communities between Hailey and Ketchum, engine crews will be in Ketchum and Sun Valley today, and a retardant plant is being made near Ketchum.

Mandatory evacuations are also in place for a stretch of residences from about more than a mile north of Hailey to the Timber Gulch area along the west side of Idaho 75, including Golden Eagle. Pre-evacuation alerts have been issued for all of East Fork and an area a few thousand feet north of Hailey's city limits on the west side of the highway.

Fire containment has dropped to 9 percent as the blaze continues to swell.

The fire continued to stump firefighters with its sporadic movements. Spurred by the momentum of southwesterly winds and dry fuels, the blaze had scorched more than 64,000 acres by Thursday evening. It was moving east and had destroyed a bunkhouse at Clarendon Hot Springs.

Today, the sheriff's office warned that, though Idaho 75 currently is open, the approaching blaze could force a quick closure of the highway.

A Red Flag Warning is in place until 9 p.m. Friday, as gusty winds of up to 30 mph in higher terrain and very low humidity continue to encourage explosive fire growth. Officials warn of extremely active fire behavior and spotting as far as a mile from the flame front.

When it ignited Aug. 7, crews were more concerned about the nearby McCan Fire. They had expected Beaver Creek to be suppressed in a few days. Now they’re working around the clock to keep the Beaver Creek flames from destroying homes.

Meanwhile, the Elk Fire Complex, the nation’s No. 1 wildfire, had destroyed more than 80 structures, including 38 homes, in Elmore County and burned more than 116,900 acres near Pine, causing evacuations along the Pine/Featherville Road.

Beaver Creek, also ranked one of the nation’s top priority wildfires, is being managed by a Type 1 team of highly trained and experienced crews, with 500 personnel brought in to help suppress the flames.

The sheriff’s office on Thursday asked people to evacuate their homes along Deer Creek west of Big Wood River and Greenhorn Gulch including all of Golden Eagle, plus Timber Gulch and Zinc Spur on the west side of Idaho 75. Twelve homes already had been emptied, and the roads were closed to the public.

Pre-evacuation orders were issued for all of East Fork, below Zinc Spur to the north end of Treasure Lane.

To the north, the fire has rolled within 1 mile of the Baker Creek drainage.

Nadja Hirner was stopped at the Deer Creek drainage by a deputy who said she couldn’t go to the vacation rentals she manages.

Immediately Hirner got on her phone with an employee.

“There’s nothing I can do anymore,” she said. “Are you locked out too?”

The smoke this year is scarier than the plumes created by the 2007 Castle Rock Fire, Hirner said. While that fire burned 48,520 acres in 20 days, it never caused evacuations in Hailey.

“This is completely different,” she told the Times-News. “It was never this scary.”

Smoke laid like a blanket over the Wood River Valley on Thursday. By nightfall, flames could be seen from Idaho 75 between Hailey and Ketchum.

Air quality is considered hazardous in Blaine County, according to the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. Under those conditions, smoke hampers visibility to just 1 mile.

The other national priority fire burning in Idaho, the Pony Fire Complex near Mountain Home, has burned 147,800 acres, but firefighters expect to control and suppress the flames over the next few days.

Copyright 2015 Twin Falls Times-News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(2) Comments

  1. Partoarno
    Report Abuse
    Partoarno - August 17, 2013 3:22 am
    You can read the mind of all the people who live in Blaine County?
    You have any idea how stupid your comment is Mark?

    Having seen 3 big fires in the last 20 Years I think we have a pretty good idea what a fire will do.

    What is different this time is, we were told they did not have enough planes and man power .

    Many people in the valley know, the US House, who's job it is to write and pass a budget onto the Senate did not give the forest service the money they asked to fight fires.

    Watch them blame Obama.

  2. MickG
    Report Abuse
    MickG - August 16, 2013 8:57 pm
    Those living the Dream in Paradise don't realize that Paradise was designed by Nature to Burn like Crazy, periodically.

Read the Terms of Use for Magicvalley.com.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick


Ask Us!

Ask us a question and we'll email you an answer.