BOISE -- The Karney Fire burning in Boise County near Robie Creek has more than tripled in size since Tuesday morning. It’s now burned 350 acres and growing. The flames likely would be much bigger had it not been for the work of over 100 firefighters working on the ground and in the air.
Tuesday night saw a massive fire fight on the ridge above Wilderness Ranch as crews worked to keep the fire from making its way over the ridge and down towards hundreds of homes.
Two homes on the ridge would have been destroyed had it not been for several firefighters who stood their ground to keep the homes safe. These fire crews set a "back burn" and were able to create enough separation between the oncoming flames and the homes.
One home was already lost on Monday shortly after the fire started. That home is along Robie Creek Road. The fire burned up towards the back of the home under the deck. Once it got there, firefighters said there was nothing that could be done. There was no one inside the home when the fire happened; the owners were out of town.
Right now, 80 homes are under a voluntary evacuation order, with more homes that could be asked to evacuate today.
The mountain above Robie Creek is charred, blacked and still smoldering. Just on the other side is Wilderness Ranch, where there are hundreds of homes surrounded by tall pine trees and thick foliage.
Emily Anderson with the Idaho Department of Lands said the fire is burning hot and fast.
"The focus of today will be to reinforce the good work that was done with the retardant drops, by putting boots on the ground, and establishing fire lines that will hopefully hold and contain the fire at that point," said Anderson.
Air tankers and helicopters are back up in the air today playing a critical role in fighting this fire. Several retardant drops Tuesday night helped keep the flames from moving over the mountain's ridge.
Three spot fires that started overnight on the side of the hill where the homes are, but cooler temperatures kept flames at bay while crews got down to put the flames out.
Upwards of 170 firefighters are now working this fire, and 30 to 40 more firefighters are expected to arrive by Wednesday evening.
The Karney Fire is 20 percent contained. There is currently no estimated containment date.
FEMA has now approved federal funds to help fight this fire.