My Idaho: How an old mining town in Idaho's secluded high country prepares for wildfires

Posted at 3:29 PM, Jul 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-17 17:29:23-04

SILVER CITY, Idaho — How does an old mining town secluded in Idaho's high country stay safe from fast moving wildfires? For a small fire department, they're about as prepared as they can be.

Dan Wilper is the town's caretaker during the long cold winters, but also knows the town is doing everything possible to be ready during the summer — just in case.

"It's amazing the town is still here," Wilper said. "When something catches it can spread instantly and if the winds are blowing in the right direction the whole town would be gone in two hours that's the scary thing here. Silver City has had a couple of close calls with wild land fires."

My Idaho: Silver City Fire Department

Wilper said because of the town's location and size, it's getting more challenging to keep the hoses turned on so to speak.

"Most of our young guys are trained we started the fire department about fifteen years ago, and now they have moved off to college and left just us old guys, our youngest is in his late 50's and our oldest is in his 80's and I'm right in the middle," he said.

Besides having two trucks and sixteen fire stands around town than can fit hoses to, they also have another interesting way to draw water.

"The Morning Star mine has a 450 foot shaft with four levels of tunnels and it's full of water," Wilper said. "The people who own it allow us to pump water out of that for fire protection."

The also get a lot of support from local fire departments. Coming up next Sunday night, Idaho News 6 will take a close look at new fire training center in Ontario that provides those rural departments the training they need.