Collaboration Credited For Saving Homes From Wildfire Near Eagle
The Ada County Sheriff's Department credits the swift response of multiple fire agencies for saving about 30 homes along Highway 16 north of Eagle Tuesday night. The fire started around 8 o'clock when lightning from passing storms struck. Within minutes, families in the area near Firebird Raceway started to evacuate.
Ava Linhart lives in the area. She says she and her daughter were home watching the storm when the lightning hit.
"Five minutes later, there's flames maybe 500 feet high," Linhart says. "We were terrified. We packed everybody up into the car and drove off [with] what we could. We just threw all the dogs in there and grabbed my purse and ran."
Linhart was among evacuated residents who spent the evening at an Eagle church before being allowed to return home overnight.
Ada County Sheriff's Department spokesperson Andrea Dearden says more than a dozen fire agencies assisted. Firefighters from Ada, Canyon and Gem counties, as well as the BLM and Idaho Air National Guard, were called to the scene.
"Certainly having all those resources available immediately, certainly helped us get control of this fire," Dearden says.
Crews had the fire contained in about four hours. No homes were lost though a barn and an outbuilding burned. The fire burned about 1000 acres. Dearden says considering how bad things looked early on, it was a good outcome.
"When the fire was first spotted, it was moving very quickly," she says. "It looked big and was heading for homes."
The fire closed Highway 16 between Eagle and the Gem County line. The road reopened around midnight.
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