66 Pocatello homes destroyed in wildfire, 1,000 evacuated

66 Pocatello homes destroyed in wildfire, 1,000 evacuated

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by KTVB and Associated Press

KTVB.COM

Posted on June 28, 2012 at 9:56 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 2:59 AM

Charlotte Fire

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POCATELLO -- Fire officials say 66 homes and 29 outbuildings in southwest Pocatello have burned and more are threatened in a fast-moving wildfire.
 
More than 1,000 people have been evacuated from some Pocatello neighborhoods and the community of Mink Creek. The Charlotte Fire started Thursday afternoon, spreading quickly through bone-dry grass and brush.

Rich and Doris Taylor were one of the families who lost their home.  The couple smelled the smoke and decided to take a drive to see if the fire was nearby.

"We found out it was closer than we thought and the wind was really coming up," said Rich Taylor.

The couple tried to hurry back home to grab some of their belongings but it was too late, their neighborhood was already being evacuated.

All the Taylor's had with them was their car, their dog and the clothes they were wearing.

"We ended up at a sports grill that happened to have seven screens and they all kept showing our house burning," said Taylor.  The photos confirmed their home was lost.

"I just want to go home and lay in my own bed and there's no bed," said Taylor.

They went home Friday hoping there would be something left but all the Charlotte Fire left behind was ashes.

The Taylors say the community has been extremely helpful, complete strangers have offered them a place to stay.

"That's probably the warmest feeling of any part of this is just the support that could come out to us," said Taylor. 

Sarah Wheeler with the Eastern Idaho Interagency Fire Center said late Friday morning that the fire is burning on just over 1,000 acres -- that's a little more than 1 1/2 square miles -- and is estimated to be about 30 percent contained. So far, no injuries have been reported.
 
Officials have not yet released details about what may have sparked the flames but say it is believed to be human-caused.

Mink Creek Road


The Bannock County Sheriff's Office told KTVB that no one has been injured in the fire, and that no more evacuations will likely take place.

Bannock County has declared a county disaster, which allows more resources to be available to help fight the fire and help any victims who may be injured or homeless.

BLM officials say Holt Arena and Century High School in Pocatello have been temporarily converted to emergency shelters for evacuees.

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