Ian Max Stevenson and Kevin Fixler
The Idaho Statesman
Oct. 7—A 200-acre fire blazed through the Foothills northeast of Eagle on Wednesday night, leading law enforcement to recommend evacuations of several homes before the flames were knocked down.
The fire was reported at around 5 p.m. Wednesday and burned through vegetation and grass between Seamans Gulch and Horseshoe Bend roads, according to Ada County Dispatch. The “voluntary evacuations” of a dozen or so homes on the north side of West Hill Road were recommended by authorities at one point, according to a tweet.
Eagle, Boise, Meridian, Star, and BLM fire crews are battling a grass fire near Hill Road between Horseshoe Bend and Seamans Gulch roads. Deputies have recommended voluntary evacuations on about a dozen homes on the north side of W. Hill Rd.— Ada County Sheriff (@AdaCoSheriff) October 7, 2021
In a tweet posted at 8:35 p.m., the Bureau of Land Management said that “all active flame has been knocked down.” The BLM also said it expected to achieve containment of the Goose Fire by 10 a.m. Thursday and control by 7 p.m.
Late Wednesday evening, Hill Road between Idaho 55 and Gary Lane was still closed, according to a tweet from the Ada County Sheriff’s Office. Shortly after 9 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office said Hill Road would remain closed to through traffic “for a while,” but that homeowners would be allowed back in “soon” if they had left.
#BLMBODFire, Eagle Fire, Boise Fire and other cooperators responded to the Goose Fire in the foothills earlier today. Estimated at 200 acres. All active flame has been knocked down. No structures lost. Estimated containment tomorrow at 10 am and control at 7 pm. pic.twitter.com/dpz4GnCEOS— Bureau of Land Management Idaho Fire (@BLMIdahoFire) October 7, 2021
“We don’t anticipate any traffic closures for Thursday a.m. commute,” read a tweet from the Sheriff’s Office posted just after 10 p.m. It added that all residents who left their homes while the fire was being fought could return.
While the fire was burning, gray haze hung over the area Wednesday night, illuminated by the orange light from flames and the flash of sirens from law enforcement. The Eagle Fire Department responded to the scene and was assisted by the BLM, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Boise, Meridian and Star fire departments, according to the Sheriff’s Office. In all, around 30 Treasure Valley fire vehicles battled the blaze.
The BLM sent two fire engines and a bulldozer to the scene, and the Forest Service provided a helicopter.
The fire’s size was estimated at around 200 acres by the end of the night, and it had burned in a southwesterly direction, according to Bureau of Land Management spokesperson Jared Jablonski.
BLM and the Sheriff’s Office said on Twitter that it appeared no structures were lost, but at least one building on the north side of West Hill Road was burning at around 8:30 p.m., according to an Idaho Statesman reporter at the scene. Spots of burning embers and small fires were still visible on the hillside above the road, and residents who had come to watch the blaze were told by law enforcement to go home.
All people who left their homes while crews battled the Goose Fire can return. Crews will continue to mop up through the night. About 200 acres burned, and one outbuilding was lost. We don’t anticipate any traffic closures for Thursday a.m. commute— Ada County Sheriff (@AdaCoSheriff) October 7, 2021
Earlier in the evening, Sara Grigg, who lives on West Utahna Street near West Hill Road Parkway, a few blocks south of the blaze, said she had just gotten out of the shower and was blow-drying her hair when she smelled smoke. She thought it was the new hairdryer.
“I thought I was just frying my hair,” she told the Idaho Statesman.
When her husband returned from the grocery store, the couple and her in-laws — who live up the road — walked toward the flames to watch the fire.
“It literally looked like a stream of lava on the hillside,” Grigg said.
Nearby residents saw a major conflagration on the hillside above Hill Road, and several who live off of Bogart Lane, south of Hill Road Parkway, said they were nervous the fire might jump the roadway and enter the neighborhood. But by 9 p.m., winds had died down and firefighters had gained the upper hand.
At around 8 p.m., a resident who lives on Hill Road, west of Seamans Gulch Road, told the Statesman that he was going to leave his house temporarily to assist first responders, who had asked some residents to evacuate. He declined to give his name but said he had lived in the area off and on for over 50 years.
“I’m not too worried,” he said, referring to the fire. “It’s not the first time (the hillside has) burned. It was a house fire last time. People get too twitterpated.”
The cause of the fire remains unknown. According to the Sheriff’s Office, the blaze started near West Jay Road.
This story was originally published October 6, 2021 6:46 PM.
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