TODAY

TODAY   |  August 19, 2013

Massive Idaho wildfire rapidly spreading

More than 1200 firefighters are on the ground battling what could possibly be the biggest fire in America. The Beaver Creek fire, which broke out 12 days ago, is rapidly spreading across Idaho, threatening billions of dollars of real estate. NBC’s Miguel Almaguer reports.

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>>> stretched thin out west. dozens of wildfires are burning right now. the biggest and probably most dangerous the so-called beaver creek fire. it's creeping closer to thousands of homes in idaho . miguel almaguer is in hailey. good morning to you.

>> good morning. firefighters are rotating in and out of this fire camp 24 hours a day . resources from all across the country pouring in right here but despite the massive and rapid response they have not been able to contain this blaze.

>> reporter: swallowing forest lands, slicing across ridge tops overnight. the nation's most dangerous fire is a blow torch , closing in on 5100 homes.

>> it's scary to look out your window and see the flames coming down the hill.

>> raging out of control the fire has decimated 150,000 square miles . more than 7 times the size of manhattan. more firefighters are on the way. hot shot crews are working to build containment lines trying to pin down a stubborn blaze still on the move. 30 miles per hour gusts can carry hot embers for miles igniting new fires impossible to outrun for crews on the front lines .

>> winds really push the fire in one direction or another. that's extremely hazardous for firefighters on the ground.

>> reporter: the air attack in idaho is critical. they drop over homes another layer of protections. properties here cost millions. arnold schwarzenegger , tom hanks , and bruce willis among the rich and famous with homes under threat. fires are scorching the west. 35 uncontained infernos from oregon to california, across 11 states to colorado are burning today. though this fire is threatening billions of dollars in property, incredibly only one home here has been lost. the good news, this blaze is 9% contained, savannah.

>>> all right. miguel almaguer in idaho for this. thank you. meantime, breaking news in the oscar pistorius case. the sprinter appearing in a south african court this morning formally charged