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Firefighter injured in Pioneer Fire

By Nicole Blanchard

nblanchard@idahostatesman.com

Helicopter helps fight the Pioneer Fire

Almost 1,000 people are working on the Pioneer Fire, with 36 engines, 10 helicopters, nine water tenders, four bulldozers and five tree-chippers. Crews are focusing on preventing the fire from burning farther north or east, building lines and seek
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Almost 1,000 people are working on the Pioneer Fire, with 36 engines, 10 helicopters, nine water tenders, four bulldozers and five tree-chippers. Crews are focusing on preventing the fire from burning farther north or east, building lines and seek

A firefighter was injured and taken to Saint Alphonsus in Boise via air ambulance while working the Pioneer Fire, which has burned along Idaho 21 since July 18, according to Jose Acosta with the U.S. Forest Service.

The firefighter, a hot shot team member from Nevada, was released with injuries “not as serious as we first feared,” said Acosta. The firefighter returned to his team, which had completed its service on the fire, Saturday to head back to Nevada.

“It was not a happy ending, but far better than we could have hoped,” said Acosta.

Acosta said there have been about 11 heat-related illnesses for responders over the almost two-week duration of the blaze. In addition, one firefighter lost a tooth when a hose fitting connector blew out and hit him in the face.

The fire burned another 3,000 acres by Saturday afternoon, increasing to 18,733 total acres burned, according to a Forest Service press release. Still, crews were able to hold the fire at 27 percent containment.

More than 1,100 people are now working on the blaze, which previously was 35 percent contained. Yesterday the fire grew by another 3,000 acres, setting crews back. Officials said they expect hot, dry weather conditions to continue and potential storms in the evening to produce gusty winds that could increase fire behavior.

According to the release, winds are pushing the fire south and east, while the west edge of the fire is increasingly secure. Later Saturday afternoon, the fire spotted across Highway 21 at Mores Creek Summit. Firefighters are working to protect several popular yurts in the area, which are managed by Idaho State Parks and Recreation.

Fire managers are providing updates and taking questions at two community meetings this weekend: Saturday evening at the Crouch Community Hall and Sunday at the Boise Basin Senior Citizens Center in Idaho City, according to the release. Both meetings start at 7 p.m.

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