Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter arrived in North Fork on what is the 41st day of trying to tame the Mustang Complex Fire.
The helicopter carrying Otter emerged from the smoke around 10:20 a.m.
"All we could see was smoke," the governor described of the flight. "We could see there was plenty of timber that could be burnt. There was a lot of dead dying up there."
The fire grew 20,000 acres over the weekend as more evacuations were ordered.
As everyone along the Highway 93 corridor between Quartz Creek and North Fork was urged to leave, the Idaho National Guard has been settling in.
The governor toured the incident command post, sitting in on a morning meeting where optimism dominated the conversation.
"They've got it all under control," Otter said, praising the more than 1,000 personnel battling the fire. "Whether it's traffic, to security of the dwellings that could be threatened and have been evacuated ... They've got a good plan."
Much of Monday's focus was contingency work, while crews worked to protect a major power line that serves Salmon, which is right in the line of fire.
No homes or businesses have been damaged so far.
"We've got a lot of work ahead of us," Otter said.
Otter expects this fire to last at least another 30 days.
The Mustang Complex Fire has now burned more than 281,560 acres.