Wise River evacuations continue as Alder Creek fire spreads
WISE RIVER – Smoke has blanketed the Wise River area from the Alder Creek fire, which burns just seven miles west of town, and the Type 1 fire crew in command have increased their numbers and its resources and is preparing for a long and hard fight.
“We are getting more resources, so we are strengthening our capacity to work on this fire,” said southern area incident management spokesperson Todd Schroeder.
The blaze was first reported on July 8 and has escalated to the point that dozens of homes in the area are threatened by the blaze and have been evacuated. Authorities want to be proactive in getting people out before the fire spreads to their homes.
“If the fire suddenly moved and went down and I still had all the people in there, then I would have to fight to get them out and also fight the fire,” Schroeder said.
Many people were still removing valuables from homes, stocking up and refueling as they left town. Employees at the local store say it’s heartbreaking to see their neighbors evacuate.
“We just keep watching and hoping and praying that the wind doesn’t move towards their homes, it’s awful. As the only house up there, they lost their father last summer and this year they could lose their home, so it’s difficult, ”said Danette Enrooth, a resident of Wise River.
Sean Larson said his home was less than a mile from the blaze, but he is grateful he and his family can evacuate safely. He said he was grateful to the firefighters and that he will be fine if they cannot save his house.
“If they don’t, that’s what insurance is for, but we got everyone out, all alive, and I said to these guys, I tell them ‘don’t hurt yourself not trying to save my earth, ‘it’s always rebuildable, ”Larson said.
Teams are ready to protect homes if the fire gets too close; they have containment ponds filled with water and they can pump water from the pool to houses, spray the land or put water directly on the fire.
“We have this structural protection in place around the houses that have been evacuated and I think we will be in good shape to defend those houses,” Schroeder said.
The Alder Creek Fire burns over 5,670 acres, while the Trail Creek Fire 20 miles west of Wisdom burns over 23,000 acres.