Residents urged to grab essentials, pets and ‘go now’ as Idaho fire inches closer

Photo by Jay Diem.  
A Wachapreague firefighter walks by a house fire suspected to be the most recent arson set in Accomack County. The fire was set in a vacant house on Wachapreague Road on Tuesday, March 5, 2013.

Photo by Jay Diem. A Wachapreague firefighter walks by a house fire suspected to be the most recent arson set in Accomack County. The fire was set in a vacant house on Wachapreague Road on Tuesday, March 5, 2013.

(CNN) — An Idaho blaze burned its way through a forest, sending massive walls of fire closer to homes and resorts in the Sun Valley area.

Local authorities evacuated at least 1,600 homes near the towns of Hailey and Ketchum as the wildfire grew.

“Take your essential belongings and pets and go now,” the Blaine County Sheriff’s office said in a statement late Friday. “Maintain situational awareness and be prepared. If you are physically unable to evacuate call 911.”

Areas under evacuation orders included Greenhorn Gulch, Golden Eagle and Timber Gulch. The sheriff’s office provided a breakdown of all areas under evacuation on its website.

Idaho’s governor, Butch Otter, surveyed the fire damage on an aerial tour.

“Those folks’ job is to fight fire, not rescue people, and evacuate them after they were told to do it, and refused to do it,” Otter told CNN affiliate KTVB. “I understand you want to protect your property. But, I will guarantee you that nobody is going to go out of their way to get you out of your house, if it isn’t necessary.”

Authorities said Highway 75 was intermittently closed due to fire, smoke and firefighting operations.

“All area residents should register for emergency alerts through the Blaine County website. If you are advised to evacuate, leave immediately,” fire officials said on

The blaze, dubbed the Beaver Creek fire, is 6% contained and has burned about 64,000 acres.

CNN’s Travis Sattiewhite and AnneClaire Stapleton contributed to this report

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