House fire ignites 100 acre wildland fire & damages homes near Kooskia

KOOSKIA, ID - A house fire that started a 100-acre blaze spared lives but damaged several homes.

A fire that started just west of Kooskia Tuesday evening was just about contained by Wednesday afternoon, but not without extensive damage to the area.

"Our camper where we stayed in was here," said Kooskia resident Shari Brown.

Shari Brown, who lives just down the street from where the fire started, lost two cars, her camper where she lived and most of her belongings.

"I was screaming," said Brown. "I had my father-in-law's medicine scooped up and threw it in the trunk. And I said 'let's go, we gotta' get out of here.'"

Geronimo Hotshots Incident Commander Trainee Mark Babieracki said the fire started because of an electrical problem with a toaster oven in this charred home. The structure fire turned into a wildland blaze and spread to approximately 100 acres because of the wind and dry fuels.

"There has been two structures, that have burned two residences," said Babieracki. "Three out buildings and four camp trailers at this time we know have been burned. There has been come electrical damage due to some of the electrical lines in the area as a result of the fire and some power poles burning down."

Some residents were spared their homes, others were not so lucky. However no injuries have been reported at this time.

"Like I said, we lost everything except for a few things we have in storage," said Brown. "I don't have pictures left of my youngest son anymore."

Initially the Kooskia Volunteer Fire Department and the BPC Volunteer Fire Department, of Battle Ridge, Pleasant Valley and Clearwater, were working to contain the fire. However other entities were called into assist, including the the Geronimo Hotshot crew from Arizona, when structures became threatened and the potential for it to reach a local mill became likely. Babieracki said the fire could have been a lot worse if it were not for the many agencies working together to get it quickly contained.

"I feel lucky to be alive," said Brown. "I just wish I could have saved more stuff but I just started freaking out."

Crews will continue to mop up the area and keep an eye on hot spots.
Officials said those who were evacuated have been allowed back to their homes and electricity has been restored to the area.