PINE, Idaho -- Firefighters with the U.S. Forest Service will continue to fuel a controlled burn, or back burn, encircling the community of Featherville on Thursday. However, bad weather and smoky conditions could hamper their efforts.
Firefighters started the burn out on Wednesday.
That's when several crews formed fire lines on the ground, while a helicopter crew dropped small, incendiary balls on nearby ridge tops.
Forest Service public information officer Gary Lehnhausen says those efforts caused the exact outcome firefighters were hoping for. The resulting, man-made fire is now about one-and-a-half miles from town.
"We're trying to bring the fire down to Featherville," Lehnhausen said.
Lehnhausen says firefighters hope to use the controlled burn method to singe a circle around Featherville. He says the method should help eliminate larger fuel sources, and prevent the much larger flames of the Trinity Ridge Fire from taking hold in the area.
"People can quit being nervous when can get a circle burned around the town," Lehnhausen said.
The Elmore County sheriff has ordered an evacuation from Featherville to the Paradise area because of thick smoke and reduced visibility due to the Trinity Ridge Fire.
Pine Featherville Road is now closed to all but fire and emergency traffic. An evacuation center has been set up by the Red Cross at the Pine Senior Center and the Pines Resort.
A public meeting is set for 10:30 a.m. at the Pine Senior Center.
Gary Walker with the Elmore Sheriff's Office says law enforcement efforts have gone "seemlessly" during the evacuations and subsequent road closures.
"The Forest Service, National Guard, and us are basically working as a team," Walker said.
CONTROLLED BURN EFFORTS CONTINUE
Lehnhausen said a thick smoke "inversion" would prevent firefighters and aircraft from conducting burn operations until approximately 3 p.m. Thursday when the inversion is forecast to lift.
Approximately four hand crews and 30 to 40 brush engines will be participating in the back burn. An Express Bell 407 helicopter will again be dropping incendiary devices.