FEATHERVILLE Pat Christensen kept telling his wife, Cyndie, to leave smoke-covered Featherville on Saturday after an official evacuation order was issued.
Firefighters had thinned out the surrounding forest, cleared debris from around homes and cut two lines between the fire and the mountain community.
But at the end of the day, the Christensens decided to stay. Pat Christensen had signed a waiver in order to stay with their business, Cyndies Featherville Cafe, with the Trinity Ridge Fire only 3 miles away.
We put our heart and soul into this place, said Pat Christensen, who retired from the Air Force to live in Featherville.
Firefighters had hoses in place, and 3,000-gallon storage pools, pumps and engines stood ready for burning out the slope between town and the 83,000-acre blaze. But an inversion that lasted into the evening dramatically slowed the fire.
As a result, firefighters decided to wait until the fire intensified so they could get the setting they want for a burnout. Firefighters seek to light a back burn at the exact moment the main fire is sucking the surrounding air into it.
We would like a little better fire behavior or we wont get full consumption (of the fuel), said Dick Spiess, the incident command team branch director for the Featherville area.
Wed like to be able to burn at a time of our choosing before the fire gets here, but we dont always get our way.
In the meantime, the firefighters and the community play a waiting game.
Id like to see it sooner than later, Spiess said. Wed like to get people back into their happy homes.
Featherville sits along the South Fork of the Boise River on the edge of the Boise National Forest. It swells from about 100 year-round residents to as many as 1,000 visitors on summer weekends.
Deputies went door to door ordering people to leave Saturday, but the thick smoke throughout the town already had driven most people away.
In Pine, 10 miles south of Featherville, evacuees were fed at the senior center by the Red Cross.
Standing on the porch of the Featherville Resort next to Cyndies, Cindy Heda, who works there, had one last rum and coke before she closed the doors and left.
This is very eerie, Heda said. Its like a monster is right out there and we know he is coming over the hill but we dont know when.
Rocky Barker: 377-6484