Burnout operation near Featherville going well

Credit: Troy Colson/KTVB

Burnout operation near Featherville going well

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by Natalie Podgorski

KTVB.COM

Posted on August 23, 2012 at 5:08 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 8:57 AM

PINE, Idaho -- The Trinity Ridge Fire burning in the Boise National Forest is the number one priority fire in the country for the U.S. Forest Service.

Despite their efforts, the fire grew by more than 7,000 acres Wednesday and has now burned 105,000 acres.

Firefighters have been doing everything they can to protect Featherville and that means fighting fire with fire.

Crews started the burnout operation Wednesday night and so far they say everything is going exactly as planned. They are keeping a close eye on the area they burned.

The burnout operation was right behind the town. First, a helicopter went up and started small fires on top of the ridge. When those started backing down the hillside toward town, firefighters went in and light more fires closer to the town. The fires met in the middle and used up almost all the fuel on the hillside.

Firefighters waited to start that burnout operation for days, but say their patience paid off.

"It went perfect, it was the best set up it could have been," said firefighter Trenton Baird. "You want to do it on your terms, you don't want to be pushed into something so everything has to be clockwork."

Crews are today out mopping up on the hillside, making sure a small fire doesn't ignite.

At first glance it looks black but then you start to notice all the green. The fire burned at such a low intensity that almost all of the trees will be fine. Firefighters say by spring the hillside will even be back to its regular green.

Firefighters have burned about a mile barrier around Featherville. They hope to extend that barrier tonight.

Strong winds are forecast for Friday, and since the Trinity Ridge Fire is just a mile and a half away from town in some spots, firefighters want to get rid of as much fuel as possible.

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