A fire early Wednesday morning burned a half acre or so of the Draper Wood River Preserve on the west side of Hailey.
The 80-acre wooded parcel adjacent to Lion’s Park is owned by the Wood River Land Trust and is a popular spot for Hailey residents to walk their dogs.
Hailey Fire Chief Craig Aberbach said his department received a call on the fire at 1:10 a.m.
“Somebody from Bellevue saw and smelled smoke and just followed it up to where they found it,” he said.
Aberbach said his department called for wildland fire-fighting resources from Wood River Fire & Rescue and for help from the Bellevue Fire Department. He said two engines, three wildland firefighting apparatuses, two command vehicles and 25 firefighters responded to the blaze. He said the wildland apparatuses have four-wheel drive and lighter hoses.
Aberbach said the fire was off the 400 block of Robin Hood Drive, but the fire-fighting vehicles entered from the north off Croy Creek Road.
“Even though the fire didn’t cover a large area, it had significant fuel load,” he said. “It was so thick that it was tough to get into, especially with 1:30-in-the-morning conditions. All of our guys did a very aggressive attack to keep the fire contained.”
Aberbach said that even after the fire was contained, it continued to smolder high in the trees, and firefighters monitored it all night. He said firefighters from Wood River Fire & Rescue remained on the scene throughout the day Wednesday.
He said Wood River is investigating the cause of the fire.
“There was no clear area of where it started,” he said.
Aberbach said that even though part of a popular natural area has been scorched, the fire will provide a benefit in the long run.
“Everyone loves the natural beauty, but fires are naturally designed to clean out underbrush so new growth can occur,” he said. “There was a lot of fuel on the ground in that area.”
Aberbach said he was pleased at how the three departments worked together.
“The interoperability among all three departments has been absolutely fantastic,” he said. “We respond to fires as a single resource.”