BOISE -- Gov. Butch Otter has issued a state disaster declaration in support of the firefighting efforts in Elmore County, as well as other areas impacted wildfires.

Idaho s Emergency Operations Center, housed at the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security at Gowen Field, has been activated to coordinate state of Idaho support to the affected areas.

This declarations means we can tap in to the collective strength of the state of Idaho, said BHS director Col. Brad Richy. We thank Governor Otter for his support and we will stand side by side with the impacted county to make sure they have the resources they need.

The declaration will speed up the process of getting financial assistance to the jurisdictions that need help in their firefighting efforts.

A lot of resources are being used to protect homes in the Pine and Prairie areas. There are no formal fire protection districts in those area, and the disaster declaration will help fund firefighting resources. Fire crews from Boise, Meridian, Eagle and Donnelly are assisting with structure protection.

The Elk and Pony Complex fires have seen explosive growth over the past several days leading to large area closures and evacuations. The Elmore County Sheriff s Office is encouraging people to leave the area for their safety and to ensure the firefighters can concentrate on suppressing the fire.

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