Crews Light New Fires To Protect Featherville

Aug 23, 2012

Firefighters took advantage Wednesday night of what they said were favorable weather conditions for burn operations to help reduce the threat of the Trinity Ridge Fire burning through Featherville. 

Crews started fires on a ridge above the town.  The goal was to have those fires burn slowly downhill, towards Featherville.  In the process, they'd reduce available fuel and create a buffer for the town. 

David Eaker is a spokesman for the Trinity Ridge Fire, which is burning 2 miles from the small town.  He says the first part of the operation used helicopters. “Dropping what we call ping pong balls, little devices that ignite when they hit the ground on the upper ridges above the town.”

Then the hand crews came in with drip torches to burn not far behind some homes, connecting the two burned areas.  Eaker says the goal was to create a “blackline.” “Sort of a line that if that fire does advance towards Featherville the fire will hit that area that has already burned and slow down and give the firefighters an opportunity to control it at that point.”

1,100 people are working the blaze, 700 to 800 of those are firefighters.  Eaker says the fire is huge, with over 100,000 acres burned so far.  

The Trinity Ridge Fire is 5 percent contained.  Managers have now pushed the estimated containment date from October 1 to October 15. 

Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio