Life On The Soda Fire; One Idaho Rancher Watches The Blaze Unfold

Aug 14, 2015

The Soda Fire has burned more than 400 square miles of sage brush and rangeland 40 miles west of Boise. It’s just eight miles from Jordan Valley.

Ranchers and farmers are building firebreaks to protect their property. Power poles have burned up, leaving some without power. Despite the danger, the communities throughout the area are coming together to help those in need.

Neal Durham has a ranch between Caldwell and Marsing. He is four miles away from the fire, but is protected by the Snake River, which is keeping flames away from his property. He has been watching the fire since it started on Monday.

“During the day you can’t see the fire, all you can see is smoke. But when it gets dark, that’s when you can see the flames,” says Durham.

He says at night he sees a string of car lights driving down Highway 78, because they want to gawk at the fire.

“What are people thinking of?” he asks. “If that fire jumped the highway, guess who’s going to get trapped? They are. That’s stupidity. It amazes me that people would do that.”

Friday Durham was helping gather food and supplies for the people without power in Jordan Valley.

“They’re using camp stoves. It’s back to the old days, I guess.”

He says vans and trucks from as far away as Boise have brought supplies to help people affected by the Soda Fire.

“We’re a small group of people in this area and when things happen, people pull together. That sums up the whole thing. People are trying to help each other out.”

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