Pine residents relieved homes are still standing

Credit: Adam Worthington / KTVB

Pine residents relieved homes are still standing


by Stephanie Zepelin

Bio | Email | Follow: @ktvbstephanie


Posted on August 12, 2013 at 5:52 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 13 at 8:45 AM

ELMORE COUNTY -- Three of the top priority fires in the nation are burning in Idaho.  On Monday, Gov. Butch Otter issued a disaster declaration for the fires burning in Elmore County.

Monday was a tense night for fire crews and folks in Pine, as the flames crept down hill toward homes, businesses, and cabins.

Jay Shannon has owned a cabin off the reservoir for nearly 30 years.

"I saw these flames that looked like they were right at the cabin," said Shannon. "But you couldn't really tell because the smoke was coming through there, and I was looking at those flames and I thought, 'Well that's my cabin laying there on the ground.'"

It was a waiting game for folks like Shannon with cabins on the hillside.

"I just tried not to think about it," he said "I actually shut my eyes and just thought, 'I don't want to see it, I don't want to see it go up. If I wake up in the morning and it's there then that's good.'"

Monday morning, Shannon saw his cabin still standing. He praised the firefighters for protecting it, but was still shaken up.

"This is the worst I've ever seen it. It's kind of emotional," he said.

Fire crews were fighting fire with fire to save homes.

"Last night our priority was to try to save homes and people that didn't leave," said Madonna Lengerich, with the Great Basin Incident Management Team. "What we tried to do was as it came down, we were meeting it with fire to use up the fuels in between, and thus stopping it as much as we could above the houses."

The fire is continuing to move north.

"The priority today is to protect the houses further up the road, more towards Pine, because we know that now that we've secured the area in Lower Pine," said Lengerich.

Power lines and power poles are also in the fire's path.

While firefighters work, Idaho Power crews are trying to get to downed lines and burned poles.

Many have already been lost and more than 600 customers are without power in the areas of Anderson Ranch Dam, Pine and Featherville.  The area's water supply has also been disrupted.