[UPDATE 9:34 p.m.] Day 21: Lightning Fires

Firefighter keeping the firelines clear. [Photo from InciWeb]

Hand crew keeping flames from spreading on the Nickowitz Fire. [Photo from InciWeb]

For nearly three weeks we’ve covered the havoc wreaked on our communities by the Lightning Fires. Today we continue the coverage. According to the US Forest Service, “Some crews assigned to the fire complex are timing out and availability of new resources has dropped as fire activity increases in other parts of the nation. California National Guard soldiers trained to fight wildfires are assisting in firefighting efforts on the Fork Complex fires for the next few days.”

[Note: The Sawtooth Fire has been discovered near the Gasquet Complex and the Horse Fire started yesterday north of Shelter Cove. Neither yet has their own incident page but we’ll add information as available here.]

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 is 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 7:45 p.m.) 35,165 acres burned and 60% contained. Structures Destroyed: Residences 8, other buildings 4, Firefighter injuries to date: 12, Total Personnel:1,728.Firefighting efforts tonight will focus on the southeast side of the Shiell Fire to strengthen containment lines.” (More info here.)
  • Gasquet Fire: (Current as of 8:10 p.m.) 7711 acres burned and 20% containment. Total Personnel: 715. Injuries: 5.  “An Evacuation Progression Plan has been developed for the Coon Fire…Increased activity as the inversion lifted out early… leading to fire spread on uncontrolled lines. Strong backing fires with good consumption with slope reversal becoming head fire. increased activity present on the Bear and Coon fires. The Williams and Peak fires burned together today and will be reported as the Peak Fire from today forward. The Summit and Peak Fires will burn together within the next 24 hours.” (More info here)
  • Humboldt Complex (Alderpoint and surroundings):(Current as of 7:15 p.m.) 4,883 acres burned and 100% contained. Structures Destroyed: 1 residence, 6 outbuildings. Firefighter injuries to date: 14, Total Personnel:1,392. “Currently, no additional fire growth is anticipated.  (More info here)
  • Mad River Complex (Ruth Lake and Surroundings) Now Combined with the Route Complex -see below:((More info here) Telephone number for the public information officer is 707-574-6289.
  • Nickowitz Fire (northern Humboldt/southern Del Norte):(Current as of 8:15 a.m.3,866 acres and 53% contained. Total Personnel: 435. “On Wednesday the Nickowitz Fire grew by 535 acres. The fire continued to be under a thermal inversion that reduced fire activity but also resulted in dense smoke and poor air quality in the fire area and along the Klamath River corridor.”  (More info here) Phone: 530-627-3246. New Closure click here.
  • River Complex:(Current as of 7:30 p.m.) 45,477 burned and 20% contained. Total Personnel: 675. “As the fire began to move into the northern part of the Denny area today, firefighters began implementing a previously prepared structural protection plan…Progress was made in keeping the fire north of Forest Road 5N18. Hand crews also worked an area of fire line southeast of Belle Flat to create a direct fire line in an area too steep for using dozers…A public meeting will be held Thursday August 20th at the Umpqua Bank in Willow Creek, California at 6:00 p.m.”(More info here.) Telephone number for the public information officer 530-276-8559. Estimated containment: October 01st, 2015
  • Route Complex (south and west of Hyampom and Buck Mt. area)Now Combined with the Mad River Complex:(Current as of 7:45 p.m.)59,321 acres burned and 37% contained. Structures destroyed: 2 outbuildings. Total Personnel: 893. Injury: 1. “The Route and Mad River Complex is participating in a public meeting being hosted by the South Complex on Thursday, 20 August, at 4:00 p.m. at the Hyampom volunteer fire department….The Route and Mad River Complex and US Forest Service are hosting a public meeting on Friday, 21 August, at 5:30 p.m. at the Lamb Creek Christian Center on Highway 36 in Mad River” (More info here.) Telephone number for the public information officer is 707-574-6865.
  • South Complex (north and west of Hyampom):(Current as of 7:30 p.m.) 22,367 acres burned and 40% containment. Personnel: 1130.  “A public meeting will be held at 4pm tomorrow, Thursday, August 20, 2015 at the Hyampom Volunteer Fire Department. ” (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 9:15 a.m.: Smoke from fires choking our skies [Image from NASA.]



UPDATE 7:52 p.m.: Satellite photo of the smoke blanketing the west.

UPDATE 9:34 p.m.:

Earlier Chapters:



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