[UPDATE 9:19 p.m. Photos of Hwy 36, Latest Fire Summaries] Day 8: Lightning Fires

Fires Bushnell Fish

“Our fish better hit the bottom,” says photographer Michelle Bushnell, as a helicopter dips into her pond to fight fires.

A week ago this afternoon, a swarm of lightning strikes stung our communities. From the first blazes in Mendocino to fires near Denny, a rash of fires sprung up in the wake of the storm. (There is a slight chance of lightning today and tomorrow for much of our Emerald Counties. We’ll let you know if something develops there.)

Here’s our quick overview of the fires. As we update each incident throughout the day, we’ll note the time the facts were posted so you can quickly see if there is something new on the fires you need to know.

  • Fork Complex (Trinty Pines and north to Hayfork):(Current as of 8:30 p.m.) 14,434 acres burned and 9% contained. Structures Destroyed: Residences 8, other buildings 4 Firefighter injuries to date: 2 Total Personnel: 1,165 “Warm and dry conditions will continue through the end of the week and as the smoke inversion begins to clear; this presents the possibility of more direct heat in and around the fire areas as well as more intense burning.” (More info here)
  • Gasquet Fire: (Current as of 7:30 p.m.) 1000 acres burned and 2% containment. “Closures: A closure order has been issued for the Bear Basin Lookout, Island Lake Trailhead, and Doe Flat Trailhead. The Forest requests visitors avoid the South Kelsey Trail, Summit Trail, and the Gunbarrel Trail. The Gasquet-Orleans Road remains at the gate.”(More info here)
  • Humboldt Complex (Alderpoint and surroundings):(Current as of 4 p.m.) 4,062  acres burned and 35% contained. Structures Destroyed:  4 outbuildings. Firefighter injuries to date: 7 Total Personnel: 1,515 “[T]his incident is now classified as a complex, and will be referred to as the Humboldt Complex. In addition, each of the 7 active fires has been assigned a name based on its geographical area. Fires will nolonger be referred to with a number, and the overall incident will no longer be referred as the Humboldt Lightning Control Area (LCA).” (More info here, an excellent KMUD written report here and a video explanation here.)
  • Mad River Complex (Ruth Lake and Surroundings):(Current as of 4:30 p.m.)15,760 acres burned and 10% contained. “High pressure will remain for one more day, bringing another day of marginally hot and dry conditions. Low pressure is on track to move into California tonight and Friday. The storm system will bring a chance of thunderstorms with the slight possibility of lightning.” (More info here) Telephone number for the public information officer is 707-574-6289California Interagency Incident Management Team 5 wants to make sure you know about two upcoming public meetings that fire and USFS personnel are holding tomorrow and Saturday. The meeting tomorrow, Friday, is at 6:00 p.m. at the USFS Ruth Guard Station east of the Ruth Store on the Lower Mad River Road. The meeting on Saturday is at 11:00 a.m. at the Lamb Creek Christian Center in Mad River.
  • River Complex:(Current as of 8 p.m.) 10,912 burned and 1% contained. “Over the next few days, additional lightning is expected.” (More info here) Telephone number for the public information officer 530-276-8559.
  • Rocky Fire (Lake County): (Current as of 5:55 p.m.) 69,600 acres burned and 45% contained, 43 residences, 53 outbuildings destroyed; 8 structures damaged.  “ Firefighters continue to work aggressively to build control lines and sustain perimeter control. Barring further fire spread damage inspections are complete.” (More info here Telephone number for the public information officer is (707) 967-4207.
  • Route Complex (south and west of Hyampom and Buck Mt. area):(Current as of 9 p.m.) 14,709 acres burned and 10% contained. “Predicted warming trend produced hotter and drier conditions with an increase in fire activity. The continued warming trend will bring the potential for instability, thunderstorms and the possibility of lightning.”(More info here.) Representatives from the US Forest Service and incident management teams working on the Mad River and Route Complexes will hold two meetings to discuss the current status of the recent lightning-caused wildfires affecting the area. The first meeting will be held for local residents on Friday, August 7, beginning at 6:00 p.m. at the USFS Ruth Guard Station, 19500 Lower Mad River Road, 1.3 miles east of the Ruth Store in Ruth. The second meeting will start Saturday, August 8, 11:00 a.m., in Mad River at the Lamb Creek Christian Center, located at the junction of Highway 36 and Forest Service Road 1.Telephone number for the public information officer is 707-574-6865.
  • South Complex (north and west of Hyampom):(Current as of 6 p.m.) 14,071 acres burned and 3% containment. “Today is the hottest and driest day of the week. Isolated lightning possible from late tonight through Friday afternoon.” (More info here)

Here’s our tools to keep you abreast of what’s happening:

Newest Info: Next, the twitter feed near the bottom right of our home page is continuously updated with the latest tweets from Cal Fire, other local news organizations, weather, etc.

Above that are two scanner feeds–one that will take you to Eureka/north coverage. The other that will take you to Eureka/south coverage.

Past Info: Reminder, at the bottom of this post under Earlier Chapters are links to our previous coverage. Much of it still very relevant. Particularly note our newest fire maps. We’ll be updating them throughout the day.

Don’t miss a post: In our right hand column is a subscribe box (for those accessing on mobiles, scroll down to the bottom and the box is just above recent posts.) Fill that out and a link to every story will appear in your email.

UPDATE 10:02 a.m.: KMUD has an excellent report on the Humboldt Complex. Here’s an excerpt.

At this morning’s Calfire briefing, Night Operations Chief Vince Bergland said that the southern section fires laid down nicely but the Bluford Fire needs more tightening up. Firefighters did ignite fire as a defensive firing operation on the West side of the Pine Mountain Fire last night, Wednesday to keep the fire from burning out of it’s projected containment lines.

Night operations reported 1 accident, a water tender slipped off a spur road near Pine Mountain Lane, so crews will be in the area cleaning up the traffic accident and re-opening that water supply. [Read the entire piece here.]

UPDATE 10:08 a.m.: Excellent video report here from KMUD.

UPDATE 10:24 p.m.: Caltrans’ report on the roads.

UPDATE 1:15 p.m.: There are no new fires in the Southern Humboldt area. It is just terrible smoke.  Here’s what the National Weather Service says:

UPDATE 3:25 p.m.: The Trinity County Sheriff’s Office has released the latest updates on the evacuation situation in their area. Click here for more information.

UPDATE 6:15 p.m.: Caltrans posted some photos of Hwy 36…

36b36a 36

Earlier Chapters:



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