[UPDATE 11:51 a.m.: Road Closures, etc.] Helena and Fork Fires: Maps and Morning Update

Fire trucks in smoke

Firefighters from across California responded to the Helena Fire. [Photo by Brian Romanoff]

[See below for the update at 11:51 a.m.]

The Helena Fire, which began August 30, continues to threaten Junction City and several other small communities in Trinity County. Over 2000 people were evacuated and 140 structures destroyed or damaged. Hwy 299 continues to be closed with no estimated time for reopening.

Burned hulk of a vehicle.

A burned vehicle in this photo from the Helena Fire. [Photo from the Facebook page of the Mountain View Fire Department which is fighting the Helena Fire]

Yesterday, fire crews laid down some containment lines–just 6% of the fire has those (the black lines in the map below show where they are located.)

HElena fire sept 3, 2017

A Wildland Fire Module is scheduled to begin staffing the Fork Fire today.

Last night, the aircraft that carries the infrared camera was unable to fly and the maps were not able to be updated as fully as management teams would normally prefer. [UPDATE 11:51 a.m.: For the Helena, 7440 Acres, 6% Containment]

Hot weather continues to beat down across the area. The Weather Service issued an Excessive Heat Warning which is expected to last until 10 p.m. today. According to InciWeb, “the high temperatures, very dry conditions and terrain influenced winds will continue to drive fire behavior.”

Below is a pdf map of the fire area which can be zoomed into. Please allow a minute for it to load.


Firefighters from the Mountain View Fire Department help fight flames.

Firefighters from the Mountain View Fire Department help fight the flames in Helena. [Photo from the Facebook page of the Mountain View Fire Department]

Here is the latest press release from the US Forest Service as of 8 a.m.:

The Helena Fire continues to burn near Junction City, Helena, Red Hill and Hocker Flats. A public meeting is being planned for 3:00 pm [today] at the Performing Arts Center in Weaverville.
Helena Fire – Date/Time Reported: August 30, 2017 Cause: Under investigation Size: 6,812 acres Containment: 6%
Location: near Junction City, CA
Status: [Last night, crews were] conducting strategic firing operations on the ridge between Clear Gulch and Felter Gulch to bring fire safely down toward Highway 299 and secure a critical part of the fire near Junction City. Crews continue to protect and secure structures and critical infrastructure in the community of Junction City and vicinity including Coopers Bar Estates, Hocker Meadow Road, Power House Road and Canyon Creek. Direct and indirect fire lines are being constructed to keep the fire east of East Fork Road. Roads and dozer lines on the south side of the fire are being used to keep the fire west of Feleters Gulch.
Fork Fire – Date/Time Reported: August 7, 2017 Cause: Lightning Size: 514 acres Containment: 0%
Location: north of Monument Peak and southwest of East Fork Lakes in the Trinity Alps Wilderness
Status: The Fork Fire began as a single tree fire that was one of 42 fires reported during a lightning event that occurred August 7-23, 2017. A wildland fire module is enroute to staff the fire.

Fire Resources:
Fire Crews
Fire Engines
Water Tenders
Total Personnel
Helena Fire
Evacuations: The Trinity County Sheriff’s Office issued an evacuation order for residents between Helena and Oregon Mountain Summit, including the Canyon Creek area; Red Hill Road and all roads off of Red Hill Road; Valdor Road; Canyon Creek and all roads off of Canyon Creek; Power House Road and Upper Road.

An evacuation center has been established at the First Baptist Church in Weaverville. The animal shelter has been moved from the Trinity County High School to the Hayfork Fair Grounds 7250 Highway 3, Hayfork for all animals.
A Local Assistance Center (LAC) will be set up in the near future to provide assistance for those effected by the fire. A specific date and time will be released soon.
Damage Assessment: A damage assessment has been completed for structures in the Helena Fire area. The Trinity County Sheriff’s Office will provide property information to residents. The Sheriff’s Office can be reached at 530-623- 8103 and will post walk-in office hours on their Facebook page.
Weather and Smoke: The fire area is under a hazardous weather outlook with an excessive heat warning. Smoke from fires in northern California and southern Oregon is creating unhealthy air conditions. Visit ncuaqmd.org for air quality information and hours and locations of clean air shelters.
Road Closures: The Highway 299 Road closure has changed from the Helena Bridge to Sky Ranch Road instead of Rifle Range Road.

Wilderness / Recreation Access: The Canyon Creek and Hobo Gulch Trailheads are not accessible due to the Hwy 299 closure. Hikers and horseback riders in other areas of the Trinity Alps Wilderness should be aware of smoke and other potential hazards due to nearby fires. The BLM Junction City Campground and Bagdad River Access along Highway 299 and the Grapevine Swimming Hole on East Fork Road are closed until further notice.

UPDATE 11:51 a.m.: From the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office:

Highway 299 Road is closed from Helena Bridge to Sky Ranch Road.

7440 Acres
72 Homes lost & 4 homes damaged
61 Outbuildings lost & 4 damaged
6% Containment

514 Acres
0% containment
Mandatory evacuations on Upper Canyon Creek Road is still in effect.

* JUNCTION CITY MAIL can be picked up at the Weaverville Post Office, it is recommended to bring your Identification.

* CLEAN AIR SHELTER is at the Golden Age Center, 201 Browns Ranch Road, Weaverville, and is open from 8:00 am – 7:00 pm

*ANIMAL SHELTER is located at the Hayfork Fair Grounds, 7250 Highway 3, Hayfork, due to the High School being at capacity.

TAPAC is full and not currently accepting donations.

* A Local Assistance Center (LAC) will be set up in the near future to provide assistnace for those affected by the fire. A specific date and time will be announced by the Office of Emergency Services soon.

* For updated Fire information you can call (530)628-0039

UPDATE Monday: Helena: Containment Creeps Up in Some Areas But Fire Continues to Expand

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