Update: Idaho County sheriff orders evacuation of Burgdorf; fire now nearly 1,000 acres

Nethker Fire Thursday.jpg
A lightning caused fire near Burgdorf Hot Springs has burned 1,000 acres, and firefighters are working to save 20 structures in the area. Geoff Liesik Payette National Forest/inciweb

The Idaho County sheriff on Wednesday afternoon ordered a full evacuation of Burgdorf — about 30 miles north of McCall — due to a wildfire burning near a popular hot springs resort.

The fire has grown to nearly 1,000 acres, according to information released by fire officials on InciWeb Thursday. Winds from anticipated thunderstorms Thursday could increase fire activity, but cooler conditions and precipitation into the weekend may help slow the fire.

The fire is threatening about 20 structures in the area, including Burgdorf Hot Springs, a historic sheepherders cabin and Forest Service guard station.

Closures include the fire perimeter on Warren Wagon Road south and northeast of Ruby Meadows and Burgdorf/French Creek Road at Corduroy Campground; and Jeannette Campground and dispersed camp sites along Warren Wagon Road, Burgdorf/French Creek Road, Lake Creek and Summit Creek.

The fire is moving north and east, and that’s the side of the fire that firefighters will be focused on Thursday.

The evacuation notice was posted on Facebook just before 5 p.m. Wednesday.

“An Idaho County Sheriff’s Office Deputy is on his way to issue residents evacuation notices at this time. If you live in this area and for some reason are not contacted by a Deputy, please be proactive and remove yourself from the area.”

Here’s our story from Tuesday:

Riggins is about 35 miles northwest of Burgdorf — where firefighters are working to contain the 250-acre Nethker Fire — but smoke drifting into town has worried some residents.

Brian Harris, a spokesman for the Payette National Forest, said Riggins is likely also getting smoke from the 2,000-acre Cove Creek Fire, burning in the Salmon-Challis National Forest.

“In the evening, the smoke settles into the canyon and comes down the Main Salmon River corridor,” Harris said. “Some folks in Riggins are concerned about the fire activity. They’re not threatened. It’s just, unfortunately, they’re the recipient of a fair amount of smoke.”

As temperatures rise and winds change during the day, the smoke clears.

Cloud cover and lower temperatures Tuesday decreased fire activity and made conditions more favorable for the firefighters and support personnel working the Nethker Fire, which is burning in heavy timber about 30 miles north of McCall and just a couple of miles southwest of Burgdorf. The Type II Incident Management Team was taking over management of the fire Tuesday night, Harris said.

By Tuesday night, the size of the fire was updated to 350 acres, and the number of personnel had grown to 403 firefighters and support personnel, according to Inciweb.

The fire was started by lightning on Sunday afternoon.

Harris said Monday that 15 to 20 structures in Burgdorf were threatened. That’s still true but fire officials do not anticipate the need to evacuate residents from Burgdorf.

Jeanette Campground and dispersed camp sites nearby remained closed Tuesday, while major roads in the area remained open, including Warren Wagon Road.

Bergdorf Hot Springs was closed Monday but “tentatively” opened Tuesday, according to the the site’s Facebook page.

“What an incredible firefighting effort that is currently taking place across from us!!!” Burgdorf Hot Springs posted on the page Tuesday. “All of the firefighters & supporting aircrafts are doing absolutely everything possible to stop this fire and it is truly amazing to witness. Thank you all so much!!! The fire is still very active so we are cautiously watching.”

But later in the day, the hot springs announced on Facebook that it would be closed until further notice.

KTVB-Channel 7 reported Tuesday that the fire was just 1.5 miles from the hot springs resort.

“We’re in harm’s way every fire season and I suspect there might come a time the efforts to save it might not be successful, but it’s hung on for over 150 years so we’ll keep our fingers crossed,” owner Scott Harris told KTVB.

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