Friday, July 19, 2013

Lightning starts blaze above Hailey

Deluge aids firemen on Cowcatcher Ridge


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

Like moths, Bellevue pals Parker Edwards, Malia Foley, Gracie and Devon Peterson, and Grady Edwards (on bike) couldn't resist checking out the Wood River Valley's first major wildfire of the season Tuesday. Photo by Jennifer Liebrum

    The first wildfire of the summer in the Wood River Valley began Tuesday afternoon after lightening struck about 500 feet up Cowcatcher Ridge east of Woodside in Hailey. With the help of heavy rains Tuesday evening, the fire was extinguished by Wednesday morning.
    The fire began about 3 p.m. and raged quickly through grass, sage and bushes until it had consumed several hundred acres, cresting the top of a ridge about 2,000 feet up. The bottom of the blaze was within a few hundred yards of city limits.
    Bellevue firefighter Jamie Hoover was working in the Woodside industrial area when the fire began and called it in. Hoover served as incident commander until turning over command to the Hailey Fire Department.
    “It began in no man’s land on private property,” said Hailey Fire Chief Mike Chapman “That area goes up every three to five years, but there are no structures or residences between Hailey and Woodside Reservoir, so it is one of the less threatening fire areas.”
    Thirty-five firefighters from Hailey, Bellevue, Ketchum and Wood River Fire & Resuce came together to fight the blaze. Crews from the BLM and U.S. Forest Service also responded, including a Forest Service helicopter stationed at Friedman Memorial Airport.
    An additional single engine air tanker also dropped a load of water or flame retardant on the blaze, but with dry and windy conditions it continued to burn.
    Help from above came in the early evening in the form of a pounding deluge of rain that flooded streets in Hailey and sent people scurrying for cover.
    Firefighters on Cowcatcher Ridge were threatened when winds came up during the storm, at times turning the blaze down upon them.
    “The safest places to be in that case is in the burned-out areas,” Chapman said. “A lot of them went into them and waited for the fire to pass.”
    Despite the heavy rains that left firefighters soaked at the end of the day, Cowcatcher Ridge was still smoldering Wednesday morning.
    “Four firefighters from Hailey and four from Wood River went up the ridge in the morning and found a few hot spots in green areas and in the burn area,” said Chapman. “If we hadn’t gone up there this morning there would have been more fires in the area today.”    
Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.