ATLANTA, Idaho -- The Elmore County Sheriff's Office has issued a mandatory evacuation order for those living in the rural community of Atlanta. The order began Monday at 12 p.m.
There are roughly 35 residents of the small town, according to Boise National Forest spokesman David Olson. The fire is burning in the Sawtooth National Forest, however the Boise National Forest assumed command of the fire Monday.
Olson says as of 3:30 p.m. Monday the fire is estimated at 7,000 acres and is located four to five miles northwest of Atlanta. He says the Little Queens Fire doubled in size Sunday night and began moving toward Atlanta.
Several Atlanta residents stayed in town, despite evacuation orders, and began taking fire-fighting efforts into their own hands Monday morning. With permission they began using their own earth-moving machines to cut a fire line around the rural town. Resident Amy O'Brien told KTVB they are concerned about the town's many historic structures.
"The fire has blown up. It was going away from us initially, but then it switched gears and it's a lot more serious than it was," said O'Brien. "We're very nervous about these pioneer structures going up in flames."
Olson says a heavy water dropping helicopter is on scene of the Little Queens Fire Monday afternoon and six engines, two 20-person hand crews, and a dozer are enroute to the fire. Their focus will be to establish protection of the community of Atlanta.
A Type Two Incident Team is scheduled to arrive Tuesday morning.
FIRE CLOSES NATIONAL FOREST AREAS
Because of its rapid movement, the fire is threatening public safety and has forced the closures for portions of the Boise and Sawtooth National Forest, according to Olson.
That means the Middle Fork Boise River Road is closed from Spring Shores Marina just below Arrowrock Dam to Atlanta.
More specifically, the closed area within the Boise National Forest is generally bounded by the Middle Fork Boise River Road from Atlanta heading west to the junction with the Swanholm Road then north to Trail 057 then east to Forest Road 312 until it meets the Sawtooth Wilderness Boundary, and then south along the Wilderness boundary to Forest Road 205 at its junction with the Middle Fork Boise River Road.
The cause of the fire is not yet known, but it is believed to be human-caused.
View Little Queens Fire in a larger map