FORT HALL — With the aid of numerous agencies along with both fixed-wing and helicopter support, the Fort Hall Fire Department has contained the Ross Fork Fire.
The fire burned 6,400 acres, BLM spokesman Chris Berger told EastIdahoNews.com.
No injuries were reported, according to a news release provided to EastIdahoNews.com by Shoshone-Bannock Tribes spokeswoman Randy’L Teton.
“The Fort Hall Fire Department wants to remind people if you are out in the backcountry be extremely careful and check for burn bans for the area you are in,” the release says. “If you live in areas that are rural, build defensible space around your home. Please keep the grass short around your home and outbuildings. Keep items out from under decks and porches, this way the fire has less of a way to catch your home or property on fire.”
The Fort Hall Fire Department received calls reporting a grass fire near the intersection of Ross Fork and Ross Fork Creek roads northeast of Pocatello around 5:50 p.m. Tuesday. After the fire was reported, assistance from other local agencies was quickly requested.
Fort Hall BIA Wildland Firefighters, BLM, Forest Service, North Bannock County Fire, Central Fire District and the Pocatello, Chubbuck, Shelley, Firth and Ucon Fire Departments were all brought in to aid efforts.
With assistance and equipment from the Tribal Transportation Department, crews were able to create fire lines around the perimeter of the fire. Using these lines, crews had the majority of the fire contained by 11:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Around 2:30 a.m. Thursday, increased winds helped the fire jump the lines. The fire once again began moving, north this time toward homes in the Ross Fork Creek area, necessitating evacuations in that area.
By 8 a.m., the fire had once again been controlled. Residents were allowed to return home and some of the fire crews assisting had been released.
Increased winds once again pushed the fire outside of the perimeter of control around 10:45 a.m., this time forcing it east. Residents were evacuated from Ross Fork Creek Road and outside agencies were called back to the fire around noon.
Crews once again controlled the fire and residents were allowed to return home by 3 p.m.
One outbuilding was destroyed by the fire, but several homes near the fire area were spared due to the actions of fire crews.
“We want to thank every department that assisted in protecting the Ross Fork Creek Community,” the release reads. “Without their assistance, this fire could have been a lot worse.”