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Four Corners Fire: 'You can rebuild things, but you can’t replace people'

While Christopher Kaetzel is worried about his cabin near the Four Corners fire, he is more concerned about those fighting the fire.

BOISE, Idaho — Campbell Creek is a special place to Christopher Kaetzel; it is where he and his wife relax, and it is where they sit around a campfire laughing with friends.

The Kaetzel’s bought their cabin in 2009, but now its existence is threatened by the Four Corners Fire.

As of Saturday, the fire is 35% contained and has burned more than 13,000 acres.

“You wake up in the middle of the night, thinking … that’s when your mind goes wild,” he said.

The Kaetzels were at their cabin when the fire started on Aug. 13. The next weekend, he said they drove up again to gather their most important belongings.

But Kaetzel said things are just things. He is more worried about people fighting the fire.

“You can replace things, you can rebuild things, but you can’t replace people,” Kaetzel said. “So, I want those guys to be safe and do the best they can.”

Four Corners spokesperson Jennifer Diamond said over 800 people are working on the fire. In some areas, the fire burned within a couple hundred feet of homes.  

Saturday’s strong winds and low humidity are not helping anything. Incident meteorologist John Keyes said it is a combination of those conditions that warrant the day’s Red Flag Warning.

“When you have the fuels for the fire, the materials that will burn for the fire, when things are dry … we've definitely had that,” Keyes said.

There is a fire information line available from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. for homeowners with questions about the fire. Diamond said they are also posting daily updates on the Payette National Forest Facebook page.

Despite this, Kaetzel said he wishes there was better communication. Especially since they are unsure exactly how far away the fire is from their cabin.   

But Kaetzel said he will not let those worries consume him.

“Worrying about it just doesn't help,” he said. “So, you just pray and hope that they can keep a handle on it.”

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