"Trying to fight the fire on our terms" says Wood River fire chief

"Trying to fight the fire on our terms" says Wood River fire chief

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by Stephanie Zepelin

Bio | Email | Follow: @ktvbstephanie

KTVB.COM

Posted on August 17, 2013 at 10:12 PM

Updated Saturday, Aug 17 at 10:51 PM

LIVE updates: Idaho FireWatch

HAILEY, Idaho -- Bart Lassman is the Chief of Wood River Fire and Rescue, but right now he has many many more firefighters under his command.

He is in charge of all the structure engines that have been coming in from around the state, and around the country, to help save homes from the raging Beaver Creek fire.

Friday night was unlike anything most folks in the Wood River Valley have seen, as the fire made runs over the ridge and in canyons.

Resident Mark Deffe watched it happen from the backyard of his house in Deer Creek.

“I didn't feel that much in danger until about 9:30 last night, when the fire came over the ridge,” said Deffe. “Definitely looked threatening.”

Despite the mandatory evacuation, Deffe stayed at his house until late Friday.

“On one hand, you want to be nonchalant and just go, 'You know, it is what it is’,” said Deffe. “You have insurance and all that, but on the other hand you're like, 'God, that’s my house.’”

Back at the fire’s incident command camp near Hailey, they woke up more crews in the middle of Friday night to protect structures.

“Our resources were spread pretty thin up and down this corridor,” said Chief Lassman. “We were able to get some structure engines in place and go to work in those areas.”

Lassman said they had a major firefight Friday, and fire managers said they can’t believe no structures were lost that night.

“It was tough on the firefighters, but their morale was extremely high and I think that's why our success was so good,” said Lassman.

He told KTVB they are fighting aggressively, but trying to stay safe. “We're trying to fight the fire on our terms,” he said.

As for all of the evacuated homeowners, now it's just a waiting game.

“You're just looking at it going, 'Wow, I built my house and now it's threatened.' So it's kind of sad,” said Mark Deffe.

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