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Idaho fires prompt Otter to declare disaster

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter issued a state disaster declaration Wednesday as fires raged across Idaho.

The move comes after Elmore County, the Idaho Department of Lands and the Great Basin Multi-Agency Command requested the state’s assistance.

The declaration provides the means necessary for the IDL to use its agreement with the Idaho National Guard to provide support to fire incident management teams. The IDL is the state agency generally charged with responsibility for coordinating state actions regarding firefighting in Idaho.

The Idaho Emergency Operations Center, housed at the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security, is activated and will be issuing mission assignments to the National Guard for its support to the fire events.

In addition, Elmore County has requested that the bureau pursue assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to support protection of threatened communities near the Trinity Ridge Fire. Earlier Wednesday, people living in the towns of Pine and Featherville were told to pack their most important personal belongings and prepare to leave their homes.

The Fire Management Assistance Grant, if approved, would provide funding to offset those costs of protecting private property and businesses in the area.

“With the extreme conditions and current and expected fire activity, the Bureau of Homeland Security stands ready to assist and support firefighting efforts,” said BHS Director Col. Brad Richy in a news release from the governor’s office . “I would like to thank Gov. Otter, the Department of Lands, and the Idaho National Guard as we work together to protect Idaho’s people, property and resources.”

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