A wildfire that started in a field of sagebrush and cheatgrass spread quickly up a ridge destroying 10 homes and damaging another nine, the Boise fire chief said.
Within two hours, firefighters had managed to build two containment lines and were dousing remaining flames on the exterior of homes.
“‘We still have an active fire, but we think we have it contained,” Fire Chief Dennis Doan told The Idaho Statesman newspaper.
More than 50 homes were evacuated in the middle-class neighborhood on the city’s southeast side. Shelters were set up in nearby schools.
Ada County paramedics reported no homeowner injuries but several firefighters suffered minor injuries. KTVB reported that seven Boise police officers were treated for smoke inhalation.
Fire officials have not yet determined the cause of the fire.
“The wind is so strong we’re literally just watching houses go up in flames,” resident Susan Hallamore, 42, told The Associated Press. “Our house went up in flames.”
Michael Robinson told KTVB that city firefighters came to the neighborhood last week, urging homeowners to get rid of dry grasses and other fuels and create fire breaks around the houses. Robinson said he and others complied, but it didn’t make any difference.
“The fire just jumped across the fire break,” he said.
Associated Press writer Matt Mygatt also contributed to this story.
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