The storm that came through Garden Valley around 3:30am Tuesday morning set off a lightning strike near the Mountain Shadows subdivision, causing a fire to erupt. The storm rolled in with loud, thunderous lightning that woke up local residents out of a dead sleep. Immediately there was cause for concern because of the close proximity of one lightning bolt to the residences. Calls were made by several local residents that saw the fire happen and quick response by the local fire department kept the fire contained.
Fire Chief John Delvalle said the fire was seen even from areas of Crouch and the phones “were blowing up.” Delvalle and his local volunteer fire unit was able to get there by four wheelers and able to quickly draw a line for containment. There were no roads to the area, so equipment such as chainsaws were shuttled around the mountain to the fire by the ATV’s. By daybreak the fire was somewhat contained. Delvalle said, “By 9:00am his crew was back in the station after turning the fire over to the Forest Service crews to mop it up.”
A helicopter with a water bucket was part of the mop up operations and could be seen flying over the area working to get water from the Payette River to the fire site. This was the only way to get water to that particular area because of the hillside that did not have roads. Much of the work was done by mid-afternoon, though Forest Service crews are still keeping an eye on the situation.
Delvalle confirmed that fire fuels are still fairly wet but noted that needle beds and other debris are drying up. There were several small fires ignited across the valley from the lightning strikes but the only one close to any homes was this fire. It came within a quarter of a mile from the subdivision.