Gov. Butch Otter added Cassia, Minidoka and Twin Falls counties to the state declaration, according to an Idaho Office of Emergency Management press release. The declaration already included seven other Idaho counties: Ada, Boundary, Canyon, Elmore, Payette and Washington.
IOEM said rapid snowmelt has caused the flooding, which has led to “significant damage.”
“A State Disaster Declaration ensures that all necessary state resources are made available for recovery efforts,” the release said.
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In Cassia County, which includes Burley, crews are working to keep the water storage level in the Lower Goose Creek Reservoir, or Oakley Reservoir, at a safe level, according to the release. Though officials say the dam is structurally sound, they expressed concern over “record amounts of water” flowing into the reservoir.
In addition, 15 counties currently have local disaster declarations related to snowfall or flooding, the release said.
Officials urged residents to avoid crossing water-covered roads in vehicles and to take care using well water in areas that have experienced flooding, as septic tanks can contaminate drinking water.