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'Survivor' winner protects his home from Boise Foothills fire

The Marine said his experience winning 'Survivor' impacted how he responded to the threat.

BOISE, Idaho — On Thursday morning, the ground in the Boise Foothills was still smoldering after the Goose Fire burned more than 400 acres Wednesday night.

About a dozen homes on W. Hill Road were recommended to voluntarily evacuate due to the encroaching blaze. However, not every Boisean listened to the recommendations and some stayed behind to protect their property.

One homeowner who stayed was Ben Driebergen, who knows what being a "Survivor" means. The Marine won the million-dollar grand prize on "Survivor," during the Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers season in 2017.

"Saw the helicopters dropping water and then the wind started picking up and flames started rolling through the bush and it was like a big ol' freight train of fire coming down," he told KTVB on Thursday.

When the Goose Fire crept towards homes, police and fire crews arrived and began evacuating people. Driebergen's family left but he decided to stay behind.

"I wanted to see what happened and if there was anything I could do to help, plus it's kind of weird when fires happen, a lot of people start walking around your house so I wanted to make sure my doors were locked and to make sure no one was coming around to look at what was going on in the house," he said.

According to the Ada County Sheriff's Office, the Goose Fire was started by fireworks.

Driebergen said his experience winning 'Survivor' impacted how he responded to the threat.

"We kind of survived last night too," he said. "Just right over this hill, you could see where it burned down and there's a canal here that saved us, there's a fire break, the bulldozer put in a line that saved us too, and down there you can see it jumped the road, jumped the canal and it was a hot fire."

Driebergen and his neighbors now share a sense of relief as charred hillsides, burned trees and blackened trails highlight the path of destruction the Goose Fire traveled.

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