BOISE – While fire officials are telling folks in the path of Idaho’s raging wildfires to evacuate their homes, one family decided to stay.
The Conner family will admit they took a big risk, but say if they hadn’t their house may have been lost to the Elk Complex Fire.
"I prayed that; God don't let anything happen to my wife and my son, because I didn't want to make a mistake that endangered their lives,” said Chris Conner.
They live on a high bluff of the Anderson Ranch Subdivision, roughly 5 miles from the community of Pine.
Chris and his wife Reata Conner said at one point over the weekend, the flames were completely surrounding their home when it finally reached them Sunday.
“And then I just stood there and watched it circle around the home,” said Reata Conner.
However, they worked the previous days to get ready for the fire, once they made the decision to stay.
"I told my friend to come up here, I need help,” said Chris Conner.
They had a plan and built a fire line with a backhoe, and then when the fire approached they were armed with hoses and water tanks. The family did their best to protect the home.
"Had my son in the water truck, and I had the hose, an I had my wife she had fire extinguishers, and we all had our ski goggles and motorcycle goggles on because of the smoke,” said Chris Conner.
Chris Conner builds custom homes in the Boise area and knows what being fire wise means and said he kept that in mind when building his own home.
"Hey you live in the wilderness, you live up here, you know you're going to have fire someday. You know there is not going to be a fire department to help you or anything, you're on your own,” Chris Conner said.
Everything around their home is now burnt, but their house is still standing, and their belongings are safe. Chris and Reata Conner even managed to help save some of their neighbor’s possessions like vehicles.
"Everything around us burned all the way up to the fire line,” explained Reata Conner.
Chris and Reata Conner say they felt confident about what they did, although they don’t believe its right for everyone to stay with their homes, but they felt prepared and knowledgeable.
“(A) hot shot crews showed up and (said) well you guys have done really well,” said Chris Conner.