Idaho Wildfires 2013, A massive wildfire in Idaho raged out of control for a 12th straight day on Monday.
The Beaver Creek Fire has burned nearly 160,000 square miles, forcing the evacuation of more than 2,200 homes near the tourist towns of Hailey and Ketchum, reports USA Today. The fast-moving central Idaho blaze also threatens the Sun Valley ski resort where a number of Hollywood stars own vacation homes including Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Barbara Streisand.
Approximately 1,200 firefighters are fighting the blaze on the ground, with the help of helicopters, bulldozers, conventional engines and airplane tankers carrying fire-retardant chemicals.
Since the lightning-sparked fire began on Aug. 7, it has charred some 101,000 acres of parched sagebrush, grasslands and pine forests in the Sawtooth National Forest. On Sunday, firefighters managed to contain a little less than 10 percent of the blaze.
Beth Lund, incident commander with the U.S. Forest Service team managing the blaze, nevertheless expressed cautious optimism on Sunday about prospects for gaining ground on the fire.
“I think we’re getting to the point where we can start making some progress rather than just be on the defensive,” she said, according to Reuters. “But when Mother Nature feels she has the upper hand, she keeps it for a while.”
The fire has displaced occupants of at least 2,250 homes in posh developments outlying Sun Valley and Ketchum and Hailey immediately to the south. Authorities have put the value of land and property threatened in the resort region, known as the Wood River Valley, at $8 billion.
At the Sun Valley Resort, on Sunday workers turned on water cannons usually used to make snow to wet down the mountain as part of a concentrated assault by firefighters to protect the southeastern face.