Soda Fire: Idaho Residents Dealing With Largest Active Fire In U.S.

The Idaho Soda Fire is now considered the largest active fire in the U.S. It stretches over 265,000 acres and is currently only 10 percent contained.

A type-1 incident team joined those already battling the Idaho Soda Fire on Thursday. The team included many relevant experts and they have been offering insight on how to further control the blaze.

Four-hundred and two firefighters are currently working on controlling the fire. Fifty structures are being threatened, and countless livestock/wildlife has been killed due to the heightened fire activity on Thursday.

With thunderstorms in the forecast for Friday, officials are concerned that lightning strikes could spread or worsen the Soda Fire.

The Owyhee County Sheriff’s Office has issued a recommended evacuation of the Wilson Creek and Hardtrigger areas. With the winds picking up, even if residents choose not to evacuate, they should be prepared in case it becomes mandatory.

High winds and low humidity have caused a Red Flag Warning for the remainder of Friday.

“Fire behavior will continue to be very active as a cold front begins to move overhead,” the firefighting team wrote on InciWeb.

“It has been devastating to watch the Soda Fire take over parts of Owyhee County throughout the past two days,” said Lt. Gov. Brad Little. “Idaho families are doing all they can to protect their homes, their livestock and their livelihoods as this massive fire only continues to grow.”

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Ranchers have been seriously affected by the Soda Fire.

Cutbacks in the ranching business have left many acres un-grazed. Some people believe that this has caused the unforeseen drawback of leaving more possible fuel for this Idaho fire, allowing it burn longer and hotter.

“The range that is burning hasn’t been harvested the way it could or should have been,” Cleo Shaw, a Cadwell rancher, said to the Idaho Statesman.

Jeff Foss, deputy state director for resources with the Bureau of Land Management, agreed with her. He explained that the extreme dryness combined with unusually high grass and high winds could be the reason the Soda Fire has been able to continue spreading at such a rate.

Idaho Power crews were able to restore power overnight to many people who lost it due to the fire. They are using a mobile generator, however, so the restoration is temporary.

Regional custom relations manager, Jake Perryman, issued a news release asking residents to be mindful of their electricity usage.

“As power is restored, we need customers to conserve as much electricity as possible. This will help to maintain reliability and avoid overloading the generator.”

[ Image courtesy of Bureau of Land Management ]

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