[UPDATE 2 p.m.] Helena: Maps and 299 to Remain Closed
At 2:45 this morning, a pilot and crew flew heat imaging cameras over the Helena Fire. Then the maps were created and sent to leaders of the fight to save the homes and property in the area.
The fire imagery shows that there is an 85 acre fire to the northeast of the Helena Fire. At this point, we’re not sure nor is the mapper if this is a known fire or something new. We’re trying to get you that information. [UPDATE 2 p.m.: This fire is the Fork Fire. According to Inciweb:
Surveillance aircraft reported no significant growth from the time the fire began on August 7th until the morning of September 1st. Fire activity increased over the night of August 31, and was reported to be approximately 80 acres as of the morning of September 1st. Smokejumpers were unable to jump on the fire today due to hazardous conditions.
The map, using some of the best methods for understanding fires, also shows that the Helena Fire is actually about 5170 acres rather than the 6000 acres it was reported to be at one time. It did not grow significantly. But there was 0% containment as of last night about 5 p.m.
The red dots show isolated heat. The yellow areas have scatter heat in them. The orange shaded areas are where there is intense heat. The Fire is pushing towards Brock Gulch on the northwest and jumped over Hocker Meadow Road to the south. The river is holding it to the southeast.
You can explore this yourself in several different versions we have for you.
Immediately below is a pdf of the top map. Allow it a minute or so to load.20170901_Helena_11x17topo
If you have Google Earth, these links will open and allow you to see the fire maps in three dimensions. First, save the images to your computer then open them in Google Earth.
For details on this fire, check Inciweb.
Caltrans is reporting that Hwy 299 will likely not open until September 4. Hwy 36 remains the best alternative route at this point. Hwy 36 is open without significant delays through Monday.
UPDATE 12:30 p.m.: According to District 2 Caltrans, “[A]t this point, we haven’t received any ETA on the reopening of the highway.”
UPDATE 12:37 p.m.: According to District 2 Public Information Officer Christopher Woodward, “Hwy 299 will stay closed through today and overnight and then we will be assessing the situation tomorrow.”