[UPDATE 9:51 p.m.] Day 15: Lightning Fires


Peak Fire burning August 10 south of Hayfork. [Photo by Gary Robertson, see more of his images of the fires here.]

On Thursday, July 30, two weeks ago this afternoon, a lightning storm rolled northward. First, a few strikes hit near Willits touching off two fires there. Then, it went crazy with more than 400 air to ground strikes. Since those first blazes in the Mendocino area, we’ve been following the disastrous results of this storm. Each day, we start a new post. Then, as we update each incident until late evening, we’ll note the time the facts were posted so you can quickly see if there is something new. Look for the most recent general updates on the bottom but new information for individual fires are posted in the summaries below in blue.  (Newest maps of the fires here.) Those that have expanded 20% or more will have their acreage in red bold type

  • Fork Complex (Trinty Pines and north to Hayfork):(Current as of 8:15 p.m. ) 28,736 acres burned and 26% contained. Structures Destroyed: Residences 8, other buildings 4, Firefighter injuries to date: 3, Total Personnel: 2,394. “Winds shifting to West-Northwest with gusts up to 20 mph in aligned drainages late in the afternoon on Thursday.” (More info here.)
  • Gasquet Fire: (Current as of 8:45 p.m.) 2693 acres burned and 25% containment. “Improved morning conditions led to a longer burn period. Increasing humidities in the afternoon slowed down the fires. Fires continue to actively back into surrounding drainages. Short uphill runs and consumption of interior islands led to single tree torching in multiple locations.” (More info here)
  • lassic 12

    Lassic Fire rolled south yesterday sending plumes of smoke into the air. [Photo by Robert Moore.]

    Humboldt Complex (Alderpoint and surroundings):(Current as of 6:30 p.m.) 4,879 acres burned and 70% contained. Structures Destroyed:  6 outbuildings. Firefighter injuries to date: 14, Total Personnel: 1,728. “Fire growth is not anticipated on the Blocksburg, Bluford, Dobbyn, Steelhead, Wildcat or Winchester Fires.” Note that the Pine Fire is not listed here. (More info here)
  • Capture

    The Jerusalem Fire (red) has burned up against the southern edge of the Rocky Fire (pink). [Screen grab from the Google Earth images of the fires.]

    Jerusalem Fire (Lake County): (Current as of 7:16 p.m.) 24,000 acres burned and 50% containment. “The fire is burning in heavy vegetation and the lack of improved roads continue to hamper fire suppression efforts. ” (More info here.) Telephone number (707) 967-4208
  • Mad River Complex (Ruth Lake and Surroundings):(Current as of 8 p.m.) 21,278 acres burned and 50% contained. Estimated Cost to Date: $16.5 million Injuries: 4 Total Personnel: 1,221 Structures Destroyed: 2 residences, 2 outbuildings. “Personnel from the Mad River Complex made contact with CalFire personnel to the west of the Lassic Fire to coordinate efforts and establish communications plans. Evacuation orders are being evaluated for possible repopulation in the near future.” (More info here) Telephone number for the public information officer is 707-574-6289.
  • River Complex:(Current as of 9:33 p.m.) 28,592 burned and 18% contained. “There will be a South Complex community meeting Friday, August 14, 6:00 p.m. at the Burnt Ranch School with Northern California Team 2. We will discuss the South and fires in the surrounding area.For questions or more information on this meeting call the River Complex information center at (530) 628-0093.” (More info here.) Telephone number for the public information officer 530-276-8559. Estimated containment: October 01st, 2015
  • Rocky Fire (Lake County): (Current as of 7 a.m.) 69,438 acres burned (acreage changed but time of posting wasn’t updated) and 95% contained, 43 residences, 53 outbuildings destroyed; 8 structures damaged.  “There are still isolated pockets of smoldering fuel deep within the interior of the burn with minimal fire activity near the perimeter. Resources will continue to construct line, mop up hot spots and patrol the line for several days.” (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 7:45 p.m.) 26,571 acres burned and 27% contained. “On the Johnson Fire crews continued burnout operations along the southern edge while additional crews made progress improving dozer line along the western perimeter. Last night’s burnout operation along a portion of the eastern flank went well, and crews continue to cool that line with mop-up operations.The Buck and Chance Fires are in the final stages of mop up and are expected to move into patrol status tomorrow.” (More info here.) Telephone number for the public information officer is 707-574-6865.
  • Helicopter on the South Complex. [Photo from the InciWeb]

    Helicopter on the South Complex. [Photo from the InciWeb]

    South Complex (north and west of Hyampom):(Current as of 8:40 p.m.) 16,554 acres burned and 20% containment. “A public meeting will be held in Hyampom at the Hyampom VFD at 4pm on Friday, August 14. A public meeting will be held in Burnt Ranch at the Burnt Ranch School at 6pm on Friday, August 14.” (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, the National Weather Service, 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. 

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 9:40 a.m.: Trinity County has issued more mandatory evacuations and road closures. Click here for the latest information.

UPDATE 10:05 a.m.: Trinity County has concerns about air quality. View the information here.

UPDATE 11:02 a.m.: Evacuations and road closure information for Trinity County has been updated here.

UPDATE 11:34 p.m.: Trinity County says you could get a property tax break if you were hit by the fires. See below.

California has a “Calamity” program for any property that has exceeded $10,000 in damages through no fault of the property owner. This program allows the County Assessor to reduce the assessed value of the property that was damaged and could lower the property tax liability. If you or anyone you know, could benefit from this program, contact the Trinity County Assessor’s office at (530) 623-1257 or assessor@trinitycounty.org.

UPDATE 12:41 p.m.: Neighbors talk about fighting the Trinity Pines Fire.

UPDATE 12:50 p.m.: Gusty winds forecast after calmer fires last night.

UPDATE 5:35 p.m: Trinity County evacuations and road closures updated again. Click for more information. 

UPDATE 5:36 p.m.: Cool tweet showing where firefolks on the South Complex come from.

UPDATE 5:39 p.m.: Gasquet fire.

UPDATE 5:53 p.m.:


Earlier Chapters:



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