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Firefighters save homes, ski resort from Badger Fire's overnight growth
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Firefighters save homes, ski resort from Badger Fire's overnight growth

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Badger Fire and Rock Creek

A Rock Creek Fire District engine exits Rock Creek Canyon during mandatory evacuations while the Badger Fire moved closer to homes Sept. 18 south of Hansen. The district is asking residents to approve a two-year levy $605,837 

HANSEN — The Badger Fire continues to grow, but firefighters have so far been able to save the Magic Mountain Ski Resort and homes in the area. And evacuation orders for homes in Rock Creek Canyon will be lifted at 8 a.m. Sunday.

Strong winds late Friday pushed the fire northward, toward private land in Rock Creek Canyon and Antelope Valley, the U.S. Forest Service said in a Saturday morning update.

“It appears all homes, cabins and ski lodge are intact this morning,” Twin Falls County Commissioner Jack Johnson posted on Facebook Saturday morning. “Winds are supposed to change today which will be favorable for the Twin Falls County side but may impact the Cassia County side more. Prayers and safety to all the Firefighters, Law Enforcement and Citizens engaged and impacted by this.”

The fire is actively burning in beetle-killed timber, subalpine fir, lodgepole pine, grass and pinyon/juniper forest, and has now reached agricultural lands to the north, the forest service said.

Dozers and hand crews built a line and firefighters conducted firing operations to starve the fire of fuel before it reached any structures Friday. Single-engine air tankers dropped retardant and “scoopers” dropped water to cool the flaming front, but heavy smoke and high winds limited air operations Friday.

By Saturday afternoon, the fire had reached 99,625 acres, nearly double the fire’s size Thursday evening.

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“OUR PRAYERS HAVE BEEN ANSWERED! Just spoke with Forest Service contact, and things look much better today than they did for us last evening,” the Magic Mountain Ski Resort posted Saturday afternoon on Facebook. “We received more rain on the mountain then we did in town. The rain has greatly increased visibility which you have probably already noticed. And so what that means for us is they will be flying retardant planes helicopters and they brought in two water scooper planes from California. If the winds stay calm and visibility remains OK, they will be hitting it full force from the air and ground.”

On Saturday, crews continued to construct direct and indirect line on all perimeters, assisted by aviation resources as conditions allow.

Light to no precipitation fell on the fire overnight, and temperatures were much cooler Saturday with higher relative humidity. Winds shifted throughout the day, from southerly to westerly this morning, and to west- northwest by the afternoon, with gusts from 25-30 mph. The fire was expected to exhibit less active fire behavior Saturday evening.

As of Friday evening, 286 people are fighting the fire under the command of Sam Hick’s Type 2 Great Basin Team 5 with six helicopters, five dozers and 17 engines. It is the top priority in the Great Basin area.

The evacuation shelter closed Friday night, but anyone in need of assistance should call the American Red Cross at 800-272-6668.

Firefighters said they have all the food and supplies they need. Anyone would like to donate is asked support the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

Source: Data from National Interagency Fire Center. Map by Times-News.

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