Helena Tops 11,000 Acres as It Rolls Toward the Fork Fire

The Helena Fire pushes towards the Fork Fire.

The Helena Fire pushes towards the Fork Fire. [Photo from InciWeb]

A week ago tomorrow, the Helena Fire erupted in Trinity County sending residents fleeing as it destroyed homes and historic businesses. Today, the fire is estimated to have consumed over 11,000 acres and is still only 14% contained.

The heavy smoke which has caused hazardous conditions for the locals lifted in the afternoon yesterday. This provided welcome relief for residents but fanned the fire spreading to the northeast towards the Fork Fire and also to the southwest. The Helena and the Fork (that fire is now at 1700 acres) are expected to merge on the west side of the Weaver Bally divide in the next 36 hours or so.

A spot fire broke out yesterday east of Weaver Bally Lookout. According to the US Forest Service, “The reported spot fire is actually part of the Helena Fire and within planned containment lines.”

Hwy 299 is closed except for a few windows of opportunity to be escorted between the east and west sides of the fire–at 5:30 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

There is a small chance that showers and thunderstorms could pass over the area from Tuesday through Friday. Temperatures are still expected to top 90 degrees for today and tomorrow. Firefighters are watching for “[s]trong and erratic winds” which might spread both the Helena and the Fork Fires.

The Helena Fire continues to threaten structures from west of Helena to Weaverville. The Fork Fire threatens 14 structures and is 0% contained.

Map of the Helena and Fork Fires

UPDATE Wednesday: Helena and Fork Fires Together Now Over 16,000 Acres

Earlier Chapters on the Helena Fire: 

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