[UPDATE 8:40 p.m.] Day 23: Lightning Fires


Firefighters making sure that flames don’t return on the Mad River Complex. [Photo from the InciWeb]

With Lassic continuing to roll south and east and the new Horse Fire growing in the west, we continue to bring you the latest information on the fires. Here’s today’s summaries.

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. 

  • Horse Fire (northeast of Shelter Cove): (Current as of 6:30 p.m.) 137 acres  and 15% contained. (Better mapping dropped the total acreage) Total Fire Personnel: 791. “The fire is burning in steep rugged terrain with limited ground access for fire crews. Resources will continue to construct fire line over night with hand crews and bulldozers in accessible areas. Fuels are at critical levels and are burning in the same pattern as the Saddle fire of 1988. …Motorists need to please drive cautiously while driving near the fire area where heavy equipment and fire engines are traveling to and from the fire.” (More info here.) Fire Information Line: 925-588-9192
  • Fork Complex (Trinty Pines and north to Hayfork):(Current as of 8:05 p.m.) 36,473 acres burned and 73% contained. Structures Destroyed: Residences 8, other buildings 4, Firefighter injuries to date: 12, Total Personnel: 2150. “The Shiell Fire continues to slowly advance east into the Chanchelulla Wilderness. Existing containment lines are being reinforced along roads near the Wilderness’ north and east boundaries. Additional containment lines are being scouted and will be constructed to contain the Fire within the Wilderness using Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics (MIST). The anticipated slow eastward movement of the fire should allow firefighters adequate time to complete new lines..” (More info here.)
  • Gasquet Fire: (Current as of 7:15 p.m.12,841 acres burned and 17% containment. Total Personnel: 778. Injuries: 5.  “Increased activity and large growth present on the Bear and Coon fires.” (More info here)
  • Humboldt Complex (Alderpoint and surroundings):(Current as of 7:15 p.m. on 19th) 4,883 acres burned and100% 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: (8:25 p.m.) 31,190 acres and 65% contained (More info here) “Hwy 36 has reopened…The Lassic Fire continues to spread to the west and south.” Telephone number for the public information officer is 707-574-6289Also check out our maps, photos and measurements by clicking here.
  • 2015_08_21-

    On the Nickowitz Fire [Photo from InciWeb]

    Nickowitz Fire (northern Humboldt/southern Del Norte):(Current as of 7 p.m.) 4,922 acres and 53% contained. Total Personnel: 432.The inversion is expected to settle back in early in the evening with areas of smoke once again settling in.”  (More info here) Phone: 530-627-3246.
  • River Complex:(Current as of 8 p.m.) 50,424 burned and 22% contained. Total Personnel: 675. “Fire operations were hampered by smoke today as the inversion failed to lift. An unexpected rock slide limited access to the Denny area. Fire crews in Denny were unable to complete their firing operations due to these access issues, but are expected to be completed tomorrow morning.The fire continued to push to the southeast towards the communities in the Del Loma area along Highway 299. A spot fire near French Creek was contained by fire crews, and is in patrol status. A contingency line is being proposed along the east side of Pelletreau Creek to Highway 299 to check the fire’s easterly spread.Due to the fire’s movement to the southeast a voluntary evacuation has been issued by the Trinity County Sheriff for residents on Forest Roads 5N32 (Prairie Creek Road), 5N13 (French Creek Road) and 5N04 (Big Mountain Road). This order became effective at 3 p,m. Friday, August 21.Wind gusts up to 20 mph are expected tonight and will challenge containment operations..” (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 8 p.m.) 34,543 acres burned and 35% contained. Structures destroyed: 2 outbuildings. Total Personnel: 920. Injury: 1. “” (More info here.) Telephone number for the public information officer is 707-574-6865. In addition more information here states, “Incident is expected to see active fire behaviors. 
  • South Complex (north and west of Hyampom):(Current as of 8:10 p.m.) 23,565 acres burned and 50% containment. Personnel: 1031.  “ Today the inversion remained in place, preventing the use of aircraft but also moderating fire spread. ” (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 8:55 a.m.: Here a great spot for smoke information.  Or here’s a quick summary below.

UPDATE 9:05 a.m.: DENNY ROAD OPENING (TO RESIDENTS ONLY) TODAY, JUST TO NOBLE RANCH (LOWER DAILEY RANCH) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.–travel only allowed between those times. People have to have IDs with them and be on the list that has been made up. (If you are not on the list but are a resident, it doesn’t mean you can’t go in–but it might take some phone calls to the Sheriffs Dept. This is Stage One–Stage Two where more of the road will be opened, may be several days away depending upon the fire activity. During the time each day the road is open, a crew with a chain saw will be patrolling to cut downed trees and remove debris. [Also, be aware that trees still might fall.]

UPDATE 9:30 a.m.: From cold to hot–firefighters deal with extreme temperatures and tough conditions. The photo below shows crew members riding in the back of truck on the way to fight fire.

Photographer Gary Robertson said, this was “taken about 7:30 this morning (Aug. 21) about three miles south of Hayfork on Highway 3 – morning deploy – were going in the direction of Highway 36.   Had to be chilly riding in the open truck – temperature in the 40s – and with moving wind chill.”



UPDATE 10:22 a.m.: Current Trinity County evacuation and road information. Click here.

UPDATE 10:35 a.m.: Terri Klemetson from KMUD rolls out the latest information on the Horse Fire (better than expected–better mapping shows the acreage is smaller.) Lassic, however, grew 1100 acres. (Closer to two square miles than is comfortable.)

UPDATE 10:42 a.m.:  We received a report of “convoys and equipment heading out Briceland road” around 8:30 a.m. Remember, to drive extra slowly on roads with extra traffic. Be careful.

UPDATE 2:05 a.m.: Hwy 36 is open!

UPDATE 2:06 p.m.: A short story to make you smile:

Terri Klemetson from KMUD told us that when she was at the Farmers Market today, a group of firefighters walked in and the crowd spontaneously started clapping. Aww!

UPDATE 2:20 p.m.: Smoke bothering you? Clean air centers are opening in Humboldt. Click here for more information.

Earlier Chapters:



  • The smoke is horrible all this contributing to green house gases .There has to be a better way
    not to early to think about what comes next .I think its clear the national forest is a public nuisance .We need too find a new balance to get out of the smoke we find ourselves in.

    • The USFS has tried to do prescribed burning in fall for years now…people complain about the small amounts of smoke that makes, and made them almost fully stop. They were trying to prevent this, large amounts of smoke and devastation…a trade off.. a lil smoke now or a lot of smoke later…

      • That’s fine and you have a right to your opinion however if you feel that prescribed burning alone would’ve prevented this mess you are sadly mistaken .

      • Blame smokey bear

        Unfortunately the usfs often does not do controlled burns at the appropriate time. I remember speaking with a native woman from a tribe in eastern oregon who told me that their tribe was working with usfs on controlled burns. Their elders have passed the info on about the right conditions for doing controlled burns in their area based on their long history of doing burns in that area. The elders told them to burn after a certain amount of rain, when certain plants and the landscape looked a certain way. Basic criteria for a safe burn based on hundreds if not thousands of years of trial&error. She said the forest service didnt listen, that they said well we have a crew lined up for such and such date and thats when we’re doing it. The tribe members explained why it was not a good time to burn but usfs did it anyway and the fire got out of control. Usfs wants to manage a forest, ie have control over it. If they really cared there wouldn’t be cows grazing in our natl forests nor would they utilize a fire to punch a road into an area so it can be logged. Unfortunately that’s how they get to log areas they previously wouldn’t have been able to get logging equip to nor allowed to punch in a road into. Selling off our natl forests for resource extraction is so sad. Cant see the forest for the life just the money.

  • As bad as it is here I guess it could be worse?

  • Appears from arcgis [ http://iurl.no/wr3a7 ] that they’re letting most of Alaska burn.

  • “Who” thinks the national forests are a public nuisance? Does he/she have any idea as to what all those trees and plants do to IMPROVE our air. Many of the pollutants, carbon gases, etc. are used by the trees in the same way we humans use oxygen. When we inhale the oxygen, we then exhale carbon dioxide and others. The conversion takes place in our bodies. Likewise when the trees “inhale” carbon dioxide, etc., they “exhale” oxygen. Oxygen that we breathe and live on. Our national forests and other such places are necessary for our lives. I wasn’t the greatest student in school, but I learned early on how necessary all these trees are for our survival.

  • They paved paradise and put up a parking lot: they call it Los Angeles.

  • Well your trees are not doing so well this night …and neither are the humans you speak of..

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