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Rock Creek Rural Fire Protection District receives an outpouring of donations from community

Department is being recognized for work on Badger Fire and saving homes.
Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 9:03 AM MDT
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Kimberly, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - As of Wednesday, the Badger Fire was still sitting around 49 percent containment, and more than 89,000 acres were destroyed. One of the local crews working the fire is the Rock Creek Rural Fire Protection District, and their effort and bravery are being recognized by the local community.

The fire department has more than 30 crew members made up of full-time and volunteer firefighters, and at the height of the Badger Fire 20 of them were up on the mountain fighting it.

“The rapid growth this fire experienced. It’s not burning just in daytime hot and fast its burning 24 hours a day, and it’s growing at a rapid rate,” said Aaron Zent, chief of the Rock Creek Rural Fire Protection District

He said one of the major obstacles the department has had to deal with during the Badger Fire is responding to calls in their district while assisting on the wildfire. Zent said his department recently had its 1,000 call for the year, and it covers the communities of Hansen, Kimberly, and Murtaugh, as well as, the Magic Mountain Ski Resort, and the cabins and structures up there. Zent said the wildfire has made staffing and resources very limited fo his department, but they have been able to do both thanks to assistance from their neighboring fire departments.

“We do have a great working relationship with the Twin Falls Fire Department and Burley Fire Department. Both chiefs agreed to send resources if needed, to help us with any major incidents we would have had within the district,” Zent said.

The fire chief said he has also received support from fire departments in Jerome, Cassia, and Lincoln County.

“It’s been great working with all the neighboring departments that we have had,” Zent said.

Due to the extraordinary work of the Rock Creek Rural Fire Protection District, and other firefighters, more than 60 homes in the Rock Creek and Dry Creek area were able to be saved. Zent said its a miracle, considering the weather conditions were not favorable.

“A combination of proper strategies for the situation that we had. Extremely tough work by the men and women that were on the trucks, and probably some answered prayers,” Zent said. “I was excited and a little emotional that we were so successful with the situation that we had at our hands.”

Since the fire started the community has been recognizing the hard work and effort of the Rock Creek Rural Fire Protection District, with an outpouring of donations from water and Gatorade to snacks. In some situations, the community has been delivering them to the department in pallets.

“It’s been great to give out to our crews and guys out on the lines, and really help people out on this,” Zent said. “I think it’s a great tribute to us, and a great tribute to the community of how supportive they are of us.”

The fire chief said they have been sharing the donations with neighboring stations because they are part of the reason his department was able to be so successful.

He also said currently his department is doing good on donations, and if people have some things they are looking to donate they should try local food banks, such as the ones in the Kimberly area.

Zent said at this time he is feeling pretty good about where containment is on the fire, but until the fire is completely contained he and other crews will keep an eye on it.

The Rock Creek Rural Fire Protection District currently has three crew members up on the mountain working 16-hour shifts for a two-week stretch until they are rotated out with a new crew. The department also has one truck assigned to the incident. The truck carries 700 gallons of water and is being used for cooling hot spots, putting tress out, and securing the line.

Zent said the fire is primarily on public land, but fire crews are monitoring private cabins in the are and the Magic Mountain Ski Resort. All are currently safe.

Copyright 2020 KMVT/KSVT. All rights reserved.

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