Fires Around Idaho Continue To Burn; Pair Of Hotshots Injured

Aug 14, 2018

Crews scout the rough and wild terrain where the Rabbit Foot Fire is burning in the vicinity of Salmon and Challis.
Credit Great Basin Type 1 Incident Management Team

Multiple wildfires continue to burn across Idaho. A pair of elite hotshot firefighters were injured while battling one blaze south of Riggins.

Investigators say it wasn’t lightning or some other natural trigger that sparked the Rattlesnake Creek Fire. Law enforcement investigating the blaze say it was started by a person.

That human-caused fire injured two hotshots battling the flames Sunday evening. Al Koss, a spokesperson for the Rattlesnake Creek Fire, says a snag – a standing dead tree – is to blame.

“A snag came down and hit two of the Navajo Hotshot crew members,” says Koss. “They were moved from the fire line to ambulances and taken to the hospital in McCall.”

After being treated in McCall, Koss says one of the firefighters was released while the other was sent to a burn center in Salt Lake City.

The Rattlesnake Creek Fire, which started July 23, has burned more than 5,000 acres and is less than 50 percent contained.

To the east, not far from Challis and Salmon, the roughly 35-square mile Rabbit Foot Fire is growing aggressively. The blaze expanded by 8,000 acres Monday, August 13.

Vince Mazzier, a spokesperson on the Rabbit Foot Fire says the blaze could continue to balloon.

“It’s in very steep, mountainous terrain,” Mazzier says. “Where it’s up on the ridges and in the mountains it’s heavily timbered – fuels are very dry – and with the right wind, it will line up to the different drainages and make major runs.”

Firefighters across the state aren’t expecting much immediate help from the weather. They’re hoping a chance of rain at the end of the week comes through.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, 11 large wildfires are burning in Idaho.

Which of these wildfire-themed questions should we answer in our next episode of Wanna Know Idaho? That's up to YOU! Vote below.

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