Phillips Fire forces evacuation at Soldier Mountain Resort

Posted at 2:39 PM, Aug 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-08 21:04:08-04

FAIRFIELD, Idaho — The Phillips Fire just north of Fairfied in Camas County continues to grow spurred by a change in the wind.

This wildfire started on Thursday because of lightning, and it has burned more than 1,600 acres, with the fire being only five percent contained.

On Friday, the winds shifted directions and picked up in intensity, sending the fire quickly in an unexpected direction and right for Soldier Mountain Resort.

Employees of the resort quickly evacuated the area at the request of the Sawtooth National Forest Service, the lift manager saw the flames emerge over the ridge.

"The next thing you know, there were 20-foot flames coming right over the top of Bridge Creek, and they kept dropping fire retardant, but it wasn't putting it out," said Brandon O'Donnell. "I start shaking, my heart was pounding."

Soldier Mountain Resort planned on hosting a grand opening for their new bike park this weekend, but instead, the new owners of the resort experienced a scary situation.

"Our welcome to Fairfield and Soldier Mountain was a bit unexpected," said Paul Alden. "I'm glad we have insurance, but I'm concerned obviously this is not the way we wanted to have our grand opening weekend."

At this time, no structures have been damaged, but they remain threatened as a team from the Great Basin Interagency Management team has arrived in Camas County.

That team will take over the management of fighting this fire on Sunday morning.