“I’m still in shock from what happened. My home just seemed to vaporize.”-Suzanne Bielinski
Saturday morning, 30 June 2012, officials reported the Charlotte Fire 50% contained, with hopes for full containment by Sunday. At least one building re-ignited overnight.
Officials think homes in the Johnny Creek area escaped damage.
Pocatello Police and Bannock County Sheriff’s deputies are escorting some residents back to their homes, however there’s been an increase of looky loos trying to sneak in by car, or even trying to hike in: “Please don’t make us start arresting people.”-Lorin Nielsen, Bannock County Sheriff
Not only are fireworks banned, in Pocatello, but so are outdoor BBQs.
People are reporting lost pets, but officials said it will be at least Monday before pet owners can check with Pocatello Animal Shelter.
“I’m sorry that people lost their houses but we did the best we could. Every agency worked their guts out trying to save those houses, but we couldn’t save them all.”-Steve Hadley, Bannock County Commissioner
Friday, 29 June 2012, evacuees from the Charlotte Fire at the south end of Pocatello, Idaho, were told Monday would be the soonest they could enter the burn area.
Buildings the Charlotte Fire missed. Near Mink Creek, Johnny Creek and Gibson Jack areas Pocatello, Idaho, 29 June 2012.
Many people are wondering why such a delay in allowing residents back in, especially when it looks like the fire is out? Local officials insist there are still hot spots, and many downed power lines. They are also concerned about weather conditions, as air temperatures are expected to be even hotter on Saturday and Sunday. Weather forecasts are calling for near record high temps.
Smoke still rising from Mink Creek, Johnny Creek and Gibson Jack areas, 29 June 2012.
The wind is also an unpredictable factor, as anyone who lives here can tell you. Forecasts are calling for single digit wind speeds, but as temps rise so does the wind speed. The winds are also finicky as to which way they like to blow, wait five minutes and wind’ll change direction.
Another reason is that more than a dozen investigators are trying to find out why the fire started. They say they’ve determined the ignition point, but are still trying to figure out how it started.
At this point 66 homes were lost, along with 29 outbuildings (sheds, detached garages, barns, etc). A rough estimate on the cost of damage to homes is $7.6 million USD. There is still conflicting acreage reports. Eastern Idaho Interagency Fire Center claims an estimated 1,038 acres burned, however, state and federal fire agencies say only 450 acres burned.
More than 1,000 people were evacuated from the Mink Creek, Johnny Creek and Gibson Jack areas. Some roads around the burn area are open to residents only, who must prove they live there using identification such as Idaho drivers license.
Little Bird (Air Tractor 802F) water dropper ready for another run, Pocatello (Pokey) airport, 29 June 2012.
So far the cost to fight the Charlotte Fire has exceeded $1 million USD. Despite some evacuees being a little upset about not being allowed back home ’till Monday, they applauded efforts to fight the fire.
Ex USN PV2 Neptune, now a water bomber operated by Neptune Aviation Service of Montana.
Charlotte Fire, 66 homes now destroyed