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Otter issues disaster declaration for wildfires

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has issued a state disaster declaration for Elmore County and other parts of the state impacted by significant wildfire activity, allowing firefighting resources from various parts of the state to be tapped to help respond. Already, fire engines to protect structures have been sent from Boise Meridian, Eagle and Donnelly to help protect homes in Pine and Prairie, which have no formal fire protection districts. The disaster declaration means the state can process requests to fund those efforts.

“This declaration means we can tap in to the collective strength of the state of Idaho,” said Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security Director Col. Brad Richy.  “We thank Governor Otter for his support and we will stand side by side with the impacted county to make sure they have the resources they need.” Click below for the full BHS news release.


Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security News Release

For immediate release, August 12, 2013

Governor Declares Support to Firefighting Efforts

(Boise)  Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter has issued a state disaster declaration in support of the firefighting efforts in Elmore County, as well as other areas impacted by significant fire activity.  Idaho’s Emergency Operations Center, housed at the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security (BHS) at Gowen Field, has been activated to coordinate state of Idaho support to the affected areas. 

The declaration, approved today, provides authority to the Idaho Emergency Operations Center to assign missions to state agencies and to process requests for financial assistance to the impacted jurisdictions. 

Elmore County has ordered and deployed a task force of structural fire engines to assist in protecting the residences in the Pine and Prairie areas.  These areas have no formal fire protection districts, and the disaster declaration will assist in funding of those resources.  The structure protection assets have been mobilized from the Boise, Meridian, Eagle and Donnelly Fire Departments through the Idaho Fire Chiefs Resource Response Plan.

The Elk and Pony Complex fires have seen explosive growth over the past several days leading to large area closures and evacuations.  The Elmore County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging people to leave the area for their safety and to ensure the firefighters can concentrate on suppressing the fire. 

“This declaration means we can tap in to the collective strength of the state of Idaho,” said BHS director Col. Brad Richy.  “We thank Governor Otter for his support and we will stand side by side with the impacted county to make sure they have the resources they need.”

Note to reporters:  The Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security is the State of Idaho's emergency management agency.  Please note that Idaho BHS is an Idaho-specific agency, and should not be confused with the federal Department of Homeland Security. 
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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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