Helena: Containment Creeps Upwards in Some Areas But Fire Continues to Expand

Firefighters on the Helena Fire on September 2. [Crop of a photo from the Facebook page of Mountain View Fire Department]

Since the Helena Fire burst out destroying or damaging over 140 structures last Wednesday, the flames have continued to push outward. Today, the fire has burned around 8940 acres and is 14% contained. Mandatory evacuations for about 2000 people are still in place. Hwy 299 is mostly closed by Caltrans is periodically opening the road to through traffic only. (See here for more on 299.)

Yesterday, when the inversion layer lifted, the fire grew to the northeast towards the Fork fire (now at 1050 acres and 0% containment) and the southwest towards Rattlesnake Gap. The same pattern of fire growth in the afternoon is expected again today.

However, a public information officer on the Helena Fire reports that the lines towards Weaverville “are holding” and even improving.

The plane carrying the infrared cameras was unable to fly again last night so the following map isn’t as detailed as we would like.

The black lines around the Helena Fire show where the containment areas are located.

WEATHER:

Though somewhat cooler temperatures are expected in the region, the temperature is still expected to exceed 100 degrees. Smoke blankets the region throughout the day, though the inversion layer might lift around 3 p.m. allowing the fire to expand more quickly. Be aware that smoke levels are considered to be between unhealthy and hazardous. There is a slight chance of thunderstorms developing tomorrow and Wednesday.

SCHOOLS:

According to the Trinity County Office of Education, “Trinity Alps Unified and Douglas City Elementary School District have canceled school for tomorrow, Sept 5…Schools will notify parents by tonight if [other] closures will continue.”

In addition, “the Klamath Trinity Joint Unified School District is canceling school tomorrow Tuesday, September 5 due to unhealthy air conditions,” according to an employee.

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