[UPDATE 2 p.m.] Helena: Maps and 299 to Remain Closed

Heat map of the Helena Fire

Forestry map made from heat imaging of the Helena Fire. At the bottom of this post is a pdf of this map that will allow you to zoom in. Allow some time for it to load.Please allow a minute for the map to upload.

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.


Note the unnamed fire in the northeast corner of the map.

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.



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.

HWY 299

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.”



  • What are the donation sites to use?

  • HWY 299 closed for Labor Day weekend?? WOW. Blue Lake Casino is not going to like that. That is going to leave a mark.

  • The mapport fire viewer which generated this info has more info. If you click on the red isolated fire points while in the viewer you will see temps of the point which gives you an idea of fire activity and may be more current. Some of the points are relatively cool . I would need to speak with a representative from mapport for more info but this might give you more fire info.

  • Thank you for the great job you do keeping the community informed.

  • Your specific, credible coverage helps us all. A comfort in comm-unity. Thank you for your effort, time and concern!

  • The fire in the corner is monument peak and the ridge above rush creek and looks typically burns down into the heavy timber on the Rush and Van Matre creek area. Usually the cause is lightning and those fire scan smolder through duff on top of the 7000 ft ridge for at least a week before being found . I’m wondering if weaver bally lookout is still inhabited?

  • That un named fire looks to be in the alps wilderness, maybe up by boulder lakes? Scary for anyone hiking up there, with no cel service.

  • Radio reports of 130 structures lost.

    No report on how many were homes, sheds, etc.

  • We own a place at Junction City (the building the store/post office are in). We heard over 60 people have lost their homes. So heartbreaking! Smoke is super thick. Praying for them all.

  • Thanks for your constant updates. I was going to head north to Willow Creek Thursday. You saved me a long trip.
    How do I get on you website?

  • Special thanks to CalFire, USFS,CHP,TCSO,Redding Fire dept.BLM, and the local VFD’s, if I’ve forgotten anybody I apologize.
    For people! using alternate routes such as Corral Bottoms , Underwood mtn, etc . there are a lot of emergency vehicles, residents, and others not familiar with area using these routes, please be careful and watch your speed roads are narrow and not all ways enough room to pull over or hit a ditch because you are trying to make up for lost time. Don’t add to the problem

  • Very insensitive to worry about a casino when people’s homes and properties have been destroyed..

    • Casino’s provide jobs that help people pay for their homes. Of course, people care about their homes but others care about other things, too. To me, it seems perfectly natural that some will worry about their favorite campground, others will worry about a favorite casino and others about their homes. As long as folks aren’t actively hurting someone, I think it’s natural to fuss about what affects your life personally.

      • I agree. So glad you shared that. We have friends and family in Blue Lake, one due with a baby any day. It is helpful information knowing where 299 is closed.

      • Im pretty sure that was a sarcastic statement. Probably from someone who lost their home so they could build the damn casino

  • >”HWY 299 closed for Labor Day weekend??”

    Gonna be lot-sa people er… ‘sweltering’ over there in Redding.

  • http://hotlist.wildlandfire.com/threads/61336-CA-SHF-Helena/page4

    I think you need to register to view, but this is a good resource for knowing what’s going on tactically. E.g. what strike forces, what aircraft, what dozers are diverted to the particular incident. Also updated maps.

  • HUGE Thank You! to all those working up there in that horrible heat!

    • Maybe the only blessing of heavy smoke is it keeps the temperature down. Right now, 20 miles downriver from Helena, it is 79°F at 1pm PDT.

  • I just spoke with Caltrans in the Redding office. Your statement above said “Caltrans is reporting that Hwy 299 will likely not open until September 4.” Though it is realistic for anyone to assume this would be the case, as far as Caltrans is concerned Hwy 299 is closed for now until they are advised it is safe to reopen the highway. They (Caltrans) suggests that motorists refer to what is posted on their website. Until then it is closed right now. Thank you

  • Inversion is all gone. Smoke is now being taken to the west.

    Fire activity in hot spots is ramping up.

    Fresh growing columns on south, southeast side of fire.

    I’m sure more is happening, that’s just my view now.

    Good luck.

    • Yikes…Please let me know what you see. mskymkemp@gmail.com.

    • Where are you? I feel/see a slight shift in Burnt Ranch, but it is still very smokey.

      • Ullr,

        I’m 10 miles south of fire by way of crow. @ 4000 feet. I can climb barker mt. for views of 6000′.

        Wind shifts, seems like smoke is now all over the north, NE, NW of fire.

        Fire growth on south, SE side for a couple hours, fresh smoke columns from my view.

        Hope u get some smoke relief, best wishes to all that had the worst of this fire so far. These types of events are incredibly stressful for those directly affected.

        • Good luck to you and thanks for the reply. I see a lot of hot zones on the south edge of the fire. If the forecast holds it will favor you.

      • I have been working at Bigfoot days in Willow Creek and the smoke got a lot thicker in the last hour or so. Wind change? Usually in the afternoon it shifts up river… Hopefully not an increase in fire activity.

  • Hi Kym –

    Your post was great. I was able to share with other folks. Can you tell me where I can get the IR map information regularly? Thanks in advance!


  • Does anyone know where the fire camp is located where the fire fighters eat?

  • HWY 36 is seeing heavy traffic with many cars attempting to pass on double yellow lines. Big rig use is high. USE CARE when on 36.

  • To help

    The Trinity County Animal Shelter is in need of dog food, cat food and kitty litter. If you have any of these items to donate call (530) 739-2247

    The Outpost Church has collected many donations of clothing, bedding and toiletries for community members affected by the fire. Gas cards and gift cards for Tops and CVS would also be appreciated. Donations can be brought to the Trinity Alps Performing Arts Center from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sept. 1-4. If someone has been affected by the fires, contact Heidi at (530) 722-5025. Transport can be arranged to bring people to the TAPAC to “shop,” and deliveries of donated items can also be made.

    Bins have also been set up at Tops Super Foods.


  • Poster formerly known as Matt

    Brian – since 299 is closed there’s no way to take supplies from Eureka. Is the next best thing to donate money to the animal shelter through the Go Fund Me link on their website or is there another more direct donation method?

  • Coming home tonight from Eureka to Ruth lake Hwy 36 was as crowded as I’ve ever seen it with West bound traffic. Strings of cars and trucks up to 20 long. A LOT of them doing stupid and dangerous stuff. PLEASE drive safely and be thoughtful of the others on the road with you. I know this is a major inconvenience. But is it worth your live or that of another person?
    I had to avoid two different drivers passing on a double yellow. One required me to leave the road entirely to avoid a head on. So lucky there had been somewhere to go. That’s not always the case on that road.

  • I sure wish people would stop throwing lit cigarettes out of their vehicles, last night on my way back to Eureka from Modesto I saw Cal fire pull a car over, I’ll bet that’s gonna be an expensive ticket, I can’t believe people, half the state is on fire and out the window go the lit cigarettes, talk about self centered idiots. I myself am turning in my dash cam footage of the offenders every time I see it, and I encourage others to do the same

  • Now 6,812 acres.

  • Thank you for all the updates. They are very much appreciated

  • I am worried sick as I see the fire moving towards Junction City. My grandma lives right over the hill from Junction City camp ground.


    Several hrs ago she was staying put but has an emer plan. Does anyone have anymore updated info. from that area? It looks as if it is coming up over the ridge? (from mapport map)


    • Jas,

      Inciweb just put a few sentences in their update.

      “Status: The fire continued to be active through the night and is moving toward Junction City. …”


      Number of homes destroyed updated.

      I drove to Eagle Rock quarry today, there are a lot of resources around. Thanks to all firefighters for coming in from far to help.

      Best to yours

  • Thank you so much Brian!
    We will continue to pray…

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