The reason for the massive response is all too familiar as well–lives and property are endangered because people move into areas subject to wildfire and local politicos allow the development. GROWTHOPHOBES can complain forever, but it seems little changes and emergency crews are forced to respond as fire rages across the so-called “urban wilderness interface.”
At this writing it appears three homes are damaged or destroyed by a Wednesday fire believed to have been caused when lightning strikes dotted the landscape Wednesday morning north of Eagle. An estimated 2,500 acres which is currently targeted for residential development was scorched. One firefighter told the GUARDIAN, “It certainly wouldn’t be a pretty sight” if the area is developed as proposed.
At least 50 fire engines, 5 air tankers, and hundreds of firefighters from Boise, Eagle, Meridian, Star, BLM, etc. etc. are as the TV folks like to say, “On Scene!”
As a former editor at the trade journal “FIRE ENGINEERING,” the GUARDIAN is an old hand at covering fires and the fire service. Yellowstone’s Old Faithful firestorm was the worst. Over the years we find politicos put an unneeded burden on fire chiefs and firefighters alike when they increase the demands–and risks–all in the name of GROWTH. One issue which hampered emergency crews was also familiar: Police and Fire can’t communicate. The technology exists with the new radio communications system, but the players can’t seem to agree on who gets access to which frequencies.
On the bright side we saw one McMansion north of Beacon Light Rd. that survived a direct wildfire assault because the owners did the right things creating “defensible space.” From everything we observed and heard, the emergency responders did their jobs well battling the fire, traffic, and conducting evacuations.
EDITOR NOTE–For all of you getting updates during the day about the fire from your favorite media outlet. It is a pretty sure bet most of it was funneled (not filtered) through the Boise PD/Boise FD spokeslady, Lynn Hightower. The GUARDIAN and all the rest of the media outlets got Lynn’s constant updates–sometimes as often as only 4 minutes apart. She provide important information to the media–and by extension the public–about the fire, damages, direction of travel, evacuation, etc. She also let the media folks know where they could get information at the scene without bothering commanders directing firefighters. At one point she even sent warnings to field reporters to avoid the path of the fire. From the GUARDIAN on behalf of all our colleagues we offer a hearty WELL DONE!
To insure more advertising-free Boise Guardian news, please consider financial support.