Atlanta, Idaho residents help firefighters dig lines, then evacuate

Credit: Amy O'Brien/ First Person

Atlanta, Idaho residents help firefighters dig lines, then evacuate

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by Jamie Grey

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBJamieGrey

KTVB.COM

Posted on August 21, 2013 at 10:59 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 21 at 11:14 PM

ATLANTA, Idaho -- The nearly 10,000 acre Little Queens Fire now has dozens of people who live in Atlanta on edge for a number of reasons.

For the second time on this fire, there is a mandatory evacuation, so people are deciding whether to leave and when they do leave, they want to feel like their property is safe. That creates another top concern: Residents want more firefighting resources, which they know are scarce right now.
   
The fire is threatening the historic town and as of Wednesday evening was burning 2 to 3 miles north of the town. Amy O'Brien has spoken with KTVB throughout the fire, and she says the worry is that the fire may crest the ridge near town by Thursday morning.

Before leaving, O'Brien explained some people helped firefighters clear lines around town to try to stop the fire from getting to buildings that date back to the 1860s.

"The crews are doing what they can. Unfortunately in our meeting [Wednesday], the heads of our firefighters, they were lamenting the fact that we just don't have the resources that we need," O'Brien said.
   
KTVB went to the National Interagency Fire Center to ask how managers are deciding where to send firefighters, planes, and helicopters with so many fires burning around the country.

"Resources are always allocated based on life, property and resources that are at risk," Robyn Broyles, NIFC Spokeperson, said.
   
Every day, they say the now very limited resources across the country are refigured and reallocated based on reports from incident commanders around the country.

"Every day is a new day, and we are watching the weather every single day. The weather, the fuel and how those models play. So as the weather stays hot and dry, we are going to continue to watch the weather and allocate resources to the best of our ability," Broyles said.
   
Broyles says the Little Queens Fire will keep being evaluated like all fires for resources.

After hearing from the fire incident commander in community meetings, O'Brien says she's personally leaving the fire in the hands of the incident command team and crews.
    
"We don't want to hinder any of their efforts. Because if they have to worry about the people, then they won't be able to worry about the fire," O'Brien said. "They were also mentioning how it gets, like if you do stay. How dark and smokey it gets and you can't see. And they're talking about these emergency routes you need to memorize beforehand and all that kind of stuff. It's really serious. We're all taking it to heart and a lot of people are leaving."

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