Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Crews extinguish blaze near Trail Creek

Late-season wildfire deemed ‘accidental’


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

A late-season wildfire near Trail Creek northeast of Sun Valley drew an eight-person response from two local fire departments Saturday afternoon.

Ketchum Fire Department Assistant Fire Chief Robbie Englehart said the fire started as a campfire that got out of control when winds kicked up unexpectedly.

“It was accidental,” he said. “This girl from out of town had stopped at Antelope Creek, near the camping spots out there.”

Englehart said the woman had thrown papers on the remains of a smoldering campfire and turned away to hit golf balls off a nearby cliff. When the woman turned back, the wind had kicked up the burning paper and blown it across an area roughly 80 by 20 feet.

A Ketchum Fire Department brush truck, a Ketchum ambulance and two chiefs—one from the Sun Valley Fire Department—responded to the scene at about 3:30 p.m., Englehart said. He said there were eight firefighters on scene, including one Ketchum Fire Department volunteer who also is a U.S. Forest Service firefighter.

Englehart said the woman tried to extinguish the blaze using soda and other liquids she had in the car before a passerby stopped and helped put it out with a shovel. Crews then arrived to mop up the fire. No injuries were reported.

Englehart said that though it is late in the season for wildfires, the warm temperatures and lack of snow allow for the potential of a fire.

“There’s always a chance of having wildfires until the ground is really wet or there’s snow on the ground,” he said. “It’s all dependent on weather.”

Kate Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com




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