Close to 60 homes under mandatory evacuation in Blaine County as Governor Otter meets with public

Posted at 5:50 PM, May 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-13 18:39:48-04

Nearly 60 homes in Blaine County are now under mandatory evacuations as flood waters from the Big Wood River and surrounding creeks continue to pour into residential streets.

41 homes in Hailey are under a mandatory evacuation, along with 17 homes northwest of Ketchum in the Warm Spring area. 

On Saturday Governor Otter along with state, local and federal leaders met with the public in Blaine County as the Big Wood River continue to flood cause significant damage.

"This is a crisis," Governor Otter said. "This is the time when we need to recognize that we are not simply neighbors, we're family."

Emergency Managers updated state leaders and took questions from the public. Leaders from utility companies also attended, as well a representative from the National Weather Service.

National Weather Service leaders say the worst is yet to come, as the Big Wood River usually doesn't reach peak flows until late May or early June.

"It's going to be middle of June before we have any reprieve of the snow we have left in the mountains," Idaho Office of Emergency Management Deputy Chief Brad Richy told Blaine County residents at a public meeting Saturday. "So I would highly encourage over the next couple weeks, to continue to be prepared and prepare yourselves for what's going to happen when the temperatures do start to warm up."

At last check, the Big Wood River was more than a foot above flood stages and the snowpack at the Big Wood River Basin is 193% compared to normal.

At the public meeting, a Hailey resident expressed frustration with the amount of support residents are receiving. "I'd welcome anyone here to come feed the three pumps I'm trying to run to keep my house basically a float 24/7 every hour. You know we're spending upwards of $150 a day to keep those pumps running?" she said.

"Our concerns are going up and it's it's unsettling for people in those communities to see the amount of water that is roaring through their areas and threatening their home and their businesses and obviously as unfortunately  as we've seen this week in some cases their lives," Jon Hanian Governor Otter's Press Security said Friday.

Last Saturday, fire crews performed a water rescue on three individuals on a Ketchum property, and Thursday a Ketchum man was found dead in a flooded basement. It's not known exactly was caused his death.