BLAINE COUNTY -- Wednesday, the Wood River Valley woke up to a red air quality, which means everyone is urged to limit time outside.
Driving up here, I almost turned around because of the intensity of the smoke, said Boise resident Larry Kolson, who came up to Blaine County for a day-trip and was fishing in the Warm Springs area.
It's the worst that I've seen. You could hardly see the mountains, said Kolson. The trip up was extremely smoky. As I approached the Hailey / Sun Valley area, it got extremely intense.
The Warm Springs drainage is one of the most threatened drainages near the Beaver Creek Fire. That area experienced a large wildfire in 2007 with the Castlerock Fire.
In 2007 when the Castlerock Fire swept through, Emilie Dupont was living in the fire area and was evacuated.
The Castlerock Fire was interesting because this whole lot didn't have any trees on it, it was kind of just a dirt berm, said Dupont, looking over her property. So all the firemen stayed here. They put all their fire trucks on this lot and slept on couches that I drug out into the yard, and I had chairs out here and they had access to my cabin because it was completely evacuated; I emptied it all.
Dupont said when she was evacuated in 2007, she did not know what to bring. She lives in the area full-time, so she said she brought as much as she could, even her salt and pepper shakers (which became a joke among her friends).
It was really scary, Dupont said. But the firemen did such a good job, and I think that's why I'm actually really calm for this fire, because I know that they handled the last one. And so much has already burned that I don't really feel that nervous.
Zach Crist, a long time Blaine County resident, remembers the Castlerock Fire.
What I remember most about that fire is how quickly it advanced, said Crist. I think what I learned from the last time around with the Castlerock Fire is that there's definitely a pretty good reason to feel confidence in the task force that's out there dealing with it. But I think this is different in that there's other fires going on that might have higher priorities. So, it's definitely got our attention.
On Wednesday, fire managers issued a pre-evacuation order for residents in the upper drainage of Deer Creek (west of the Big Wood River) and Greenhorn Gulch. This is meant to give folks in those areas time to prepare, in case of an evacuation. Blaine County government will provide options for transporting and boarding horses that may be in the path of the wildfire.
There are now more than 500 firefighters on the Beaver Creek Fire, with additional engines from local fire departments being brought in for structure protection. Fire managers say the fire perimeter is nearing residences along Deer Creek Road.
Details about the fire and road closures are available on Inciweb, and Blaine County residents can register for the Everbridge emergency alert system on the Blaine County Emergency Communications Page.
Fire Information Center call lines are open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 877-647-0663 and 877-640-3904.