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Firefighters pulling off Red Devil Fire near Hailey due to thunderstorms

Posted at 10:04 AM, Aug 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-06 20:12:34-04

UPDATE: Firefighters are pulling off the Red Devil Fire due to thunderstorms happening over the fire.

“They’ve just pulled them off the mountain right now due to the thunderstorms that are in the area," said Ryan Berlin, the Fire Information Officer for the Twin Falls District of the Bureau of Land Management. "With the thunderstorm there’s some lightening, possibility of heavy rain and drafts, downdraft winds.”

Crews did work through the night and morning with help from a Type 1 Helicopter to gain containment.

“We ordered a type 1 helicopter to try and secure the line even more and they just finished up after about an hour of bucket work on the fire line," said Berlin. "So, everything is looking pretty good up there.”

The fire is still estimated at five acres and is burning one mile northeast of Hailey however conditions have improved from since the fire started.

“There is definitely still some risk, although it’s much less than it was last night," said Mitch Silvester, the Incident Commander for the Bureau of Land Management. "We’ve had helpful weather with a nice sprinkle as well as crews have made great work, great progress.”

For residents that received the pre-evacuation order, they have also witnessed the progress that fire crews have been able to make.

“At six o'clock in the morning you could still see a small blaze that looked like a campfire from our second story deck, but of course you still can’t assess the full size but it's much better," said local resident, Shelly Abell. "It’s just the overcast, it’s not really smoky here, it’s just the overcast that kind of makes everything seem doomy.”

With fire crews having worked through the night, some residents have also reached out to try and do their part like Shelly Abell who helped bring lunch to the fire crews.

“I said, well if you guys need anything just let us know. We’re just two blocks away, I’ll be home or my girls will be there and they could knock and come over," said Abell. "They were like, well we might be getting lunch and I said let us pick it up for you. So, they called in an order and we were happy to meet their needs. It’s the least we could do.”

Although evacuation orders in the area have been lifted, residents should maintain situational awareness if conditions change.

“It would be very helpful for us if people could avoid the hiking trails in the area," said Silvester. "I worry about the public that are coming out to look and see what’s going on and right now we’re a little short staffed and don’t have the manpower to help.”

ORIGINAL STORY: Wood River Fire and Rescue responded to a reported wildland fire northeast of Hailey near Red Devil Hill Thursday night. The fire was then determined to be on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land and several federal ground and air resources were requested.

At approximately 9:56 p.m., The Blaine County Sherriff’s office issued a Pre-Evacuation Notice for all residents in the Old Cutters subdivision and people living along Quigley Road.

During pre-evacuation notices, they asked everyone in those areas to please pack all necessary items for children, pets, medications, irreplaceable documents and valuables.

At 11:00 p.m., the Sheriff's Office announced the issue of level two evacuation alerts for Old Cutters subdivision and all residents of Quigley Road. The Sheriff's office said level two evacuations indicate there is a significant risk to your area, and residents should either voluntarily relocate to a shelter or with family or friends outside of the area or be ready to leave at a moment's notice.

All residents of the Deerfield area also got moved to a Level one evacuation. During a level one evacuation, residents should be aware of the danger that exists and monitor local media outlets for information. Residents with special needs, or those with pets or livestock, should take note and make preparations for relocating family members, pets, and livestock.

According to Wood River Fire and Rescue, BLM arrived on the scene at 1:30 AM. Supplemented by local resources, an 11-person team worked throughout the night to open and begin a line around the five-acre fire.

Crews will rotate out in the next few hours and BLM has ordered additional air resources while will likely be in the area to assist with additional containment Friday morning.

BLM reports that currently, structures near the fire remain secure. Rain over the night gave crews the upper hand, slowing fire progression. Minimal fire activity has allowed firefighters to engage and create containment lines and mop up hot spots.

The fire now known as the Red Devil Fire is currently estimated at five acres. Control is estimated for Friday at 12 p.m. and containment is estimated to happen on Saturday at 6 p.m.

At around 9:41 a.m. on Friday the Blaine County Sherriff's office announced a change in evacuation orders. Residents in the Old Cutter subdivision and residents of Quigley Road have been moved to a level one evacuation order, and the Level one notification in the Deerfield area has been removed.