[UPDATE 12:25 p.m.: Roads Update] Lightning Striking Near Helena Fire This Morning

Thank you to firefighters with American Flag

A Weaverville resident thanks firefighters for their work on the Helena Fire which threatens the town. [Photo used with permission from Matthew Henderson. Click here to see more of his work]

A thunderstorm with lightning covers much of northwestern California from Myers Flat to Brookings, Oregon this morning. Lightning strikes resulting in flames have been reported near the Helena/Fork Fire and near Weitchpec among other places.

According to a senior commenter on a site frequented by firefighters, “This system is producing heavy rain and frequent lightning. There have been a few down strikes in the Weaverville and Trinity Center areas. Personnel on the Helena incident should take shelter in vehicles and appropriate safety areas until this storm cell passes out of the area.”

The good news is the rain is slowing the fire. InciWeb reports, “Rainfall totals ranged from .5 to .75 inches.”

The Helena/Fork fire expanded on nearly all sides yesterday. The Fork and Helena combined encompass over 20,000 acres. According to InciWeb, the Helena fire is 16,145 and Forks fire is 3,417. The two are only about 1/2 mile apart and are expected to merge soon.

20170907_Helena_Fork_IR_11x17topo

The infrared flight last night found five possible spot fires. These are

 (1) north side Brock Gulch in small drainage west central; (2) south side Rarick Gulch on north facing slope just east of road/canyon running north/south thru central area fire; (3) east facing slope off east end fire between edge and FS33438 (?) road near Low Gap; (4) west of Hocker Flat on northeast facting slope; (5) West end fire, East facing slope just west of Miller Creek.

WEATHER: Thunderstorms, lightning, rain, and highs in the Eighty’s are predicted for today, according to the National Weather Service.

TRAVEL on Hwy 299: According to Caltrans, The windows of traveling for today are:

• 5:30 a.m.
• 9 a.m.
• 2 p.m.
• 5:30 p.m.
• 9:30 p.m.

SCHOOLS: Trinity County:

UPDATE 10 a.m.: Some residents are being allowed back into evacuated areas. The Trinity County Sheriff’s Office issued the following press release:

UPDATE 12:25 p.m.: The CHP released  the following information,

Per the Trinity County Sheriffs Office and Office of Emergency Services along with the CIIMT #3, as of noon today, the evacuation order will be lifted for the residents on the south side of SR-299. Residents will be allowed to re-enter as of 12:00 pm, in cycles of 20 cars every 15 minutes. Residents are encouraged to be aware of the continued fire suppression operations in the area, and the dangers associated with increased traffic. All other evacuation orders remain in effect :

  • Canyon Creek Road, Upper Road, Lower Road, Valdor Road, and Powerhouse Road.

To prepare for this, the CHP and Caltrans will be moving the east highway closure to just west of the Junction City Campground. As of now, the closure for through traffic will remain as regularly scheduled at:

  • 5:30 am, 9:00 am, 2:00 pm, 5:30 pm, 9:00 pm

Please check Caltrans District 2 and the CHP Trinity River Facebook and Twitter pages for updates as highway conditions can change quickly.

The California Interagency Incident Management Team #3 and the USFS Shasta Trinity National Forest will be holding a community meeting today, September 7, at 5:30 p.m. at the Trinity Alps Performing Arts Center in Weaverville. If technically possible, the meeting will be livestreamed on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest’s Facebook page USFSShastaTrinity NF .

Earlier Chapters on the Helena Fire: 

 

  • Laytonville Rock
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7 comments

  • Live in Big Bar and everything you stated/reported was accurate and up-to-date. Thank you. Scarey enough without rumors.

  • Why is Caltrans changing the Hwy openings? Scheduling around them is tough enough, but changing them on the spot makes scheduling impossible.

  • Took this last night. Im pretty sure the bright glow is the Fork fire.

    The smouldering to the right is the northeast section of the Helena fire.

    Woke to and watched the lightning from 4-4:45 this morning. Lots of water and moisture.

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    The more you know!!! Stay Safe everyone!!!! Please share by COPYING and PASTING!

    Please share this people. This is for our pets.

  • Great video of a 747 super tanker dropping retardant.

    https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/photograph/5564/0/73212/

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