[UPDATE 5:16 p.m.] The Carr Fire Switches Attack: Some Redding Area Residents Allowed to Return Home; But Trinity County Residents on Edge as It Turns on Them

Plumes of flame rise from broken gas lines. [Video by Mark McKenna]

Yesterday, the Carr Fire pushed mostly to the west and to the south threatening residents of Trinity County. It is now at 98,724 acres and is 20% contained. 723 residences, 240 outbuildings, and three businesses have been destroyed. More have been damaged. Two firefighters and four civilians are dead.

The National Guard is assisting firefighters in battling the blaze.

The fire is still dangerous and active but the weather will be slightly cooler and more moist. The National Weather Service has dropped its Red Flag Warning. (See more below.)

Last night, more evacuation orders were posted in the Trinity County area. But today, some residents, most in the Redding area, are being told they can go home. But Cal Fire reminds them “to stay vigilant on current fire conditions.”

For the latest on evacuations and road closures, click here.

Scenes from the Carr Fire:

 

Burned boats on the marina at Whiskeytown Lake. [Photo by Mark McKenna]

Half-sunken wreck on Whiskeytown Lake. [Photo by Mark McKenna]

Video by Mark McKenna of a forest burning several miles west of Whiskeytown Lake.

The Plan: 

Helicopter

A helicopter dips a bucket into the water on July 28. [Photo by Mark McKenna]

Today’s plan is similar to yesterday’s. Cal Fire is working to keep the fire west of Interstate 5, south of Dog Creek Road, north of Cottonwood Creek and Hwy 36. And, they are also trying to keep it east of Deer Lick Springs Road to Hwy 3 to Hwy 299 to Trinity Dam Blvd.

The Weather: 

The fire can create its own weather. Big winds from the fire dropped this tree onto a vehicle.

The fire can create its own weather. Big winds from the fire dropped this tree onto a vehicle. [Photo by Mark McKenna]

Cal Fire expects “[h]ot, dry, and unstable conditions” again today. However, an inversion layer will tend to tamp down the temperature and shade vegetation especially in the earlier part of the day and the Red Flag designation has been dropped by the National Weather Service as temperatures will be slightly cooler today. Still, a plume can develop and, according to Cal Fire, “produce it’s own weather, including strong localized winds and whirlwinds.”

Here is one of the whirlwinds created by the fire on July 27.

The MAPS:

  • Operations Map –to see details either zoom or click on the map and download a pdf.

    Carr ops map 30

  • KMZ Map–Zoom for detail or for 3D imagery, click on the map and download a file that connects with your Google Earth program.

    Carr KMZ 30

Donations:

  • Northcoast Horticulture Supply is working with Pay It Forward Humboldt to collect donations for the Carr fire.

McKinleyville 1580 Nursery Way

Arcata 639 6th St

Eureka 852 W Wabash Ave

Fortuna 126 Dinsmore Dr

Note: “Pay It Forward Humboldt has asked us to collect gift cards and N95 respiratory masks only at this time. We’ve tried to be specific about what’s needed at this point in time in our social media because folks tend to drop off random and sometimes heavy items that are not useful until folks can set up temporary housing.  Once they have the donation centers set up over the next days/weeks, they will be accepting clothes, household donations and larger items.”

UPDATE 2:03 p.m.: Cal Fire clarifies an earlier release about who is allowed to return home with this:

repop_addendum_07.30

UPDATE 5:16 p.m.: More evacuees can return home.

Evacuations orders have been lifted and residents may return home in the following areas
Douglas City and communities along SR-299 East to Poker Bar Road.
Poker Bar Road northwest to Union Hill Rd.
*SR299 will be closed at Poker Bar Road to through traffic*

 

 

Evacuations orders have been lifted and residents may return home in the following areas

 

The Happy Valley Community except for Cloverdale Road west of Heavenly Valley Lane
All residences on China Gulch Drive from Canyon Road to Oak Street and Oak Street south to the intersection of Cloverdale Road
Hawthorn Avenue from Happy Valley Road to Oak Street
Cloverdale Road at Heavenly Valley Lane will remain closed and all areas west of this closure will remain under mandatory evacuations

Earlier Chapters:

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41 comments

    • Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. This lends to that:

      “…..cal fire battalion chief told my brother they had 6 dozers and several engines on site and were able to snuff that fire at ten acres before they got ordered out by forest service because the fire was on some protected wildland park area vehicles prohibited….5 days later we got dead people and and almost 50k acres…”

      The brother to whom this quote refers works for a local company that rebuilds helicopters for firefighting, utility and other services.

      • IF this is true it should be pursued, if for no other reason than to get the regs changed when fire or disaster could be imminent. Any chance of following up Kym?

        • It’s not the first time. The Zaca fire in Santa Barbara in 2007 was almost controlled by Calfire when a portion slopped over into USFS. A calfire helicopter dumped water and were immediately reprimanded and pulled off that portion of the fire because of the “sensitive ” area. I know the calfire captain who was on that flight.

          It blew up from there.

          Date(s): July 4, 2007 – October 29, 2007
          Cost: $118.3 million (2017 USD)
          Burned area: 240,207 acres (972 km2)

      • Hard to believe, if it started right next to 299: “A fire burst out alongside Hwy 299 just west of Whiskeytown Lake around 1:15 p.m. According to Cal Fire’s Whiskeytown unit, it started at “HWY 299 & Carr Powerhouse Rd in French Gulch.”(from Kym’s first report.) For one thing, there’s no Forest Service land there.

        • It comes from a reliable source. The alphabet agencies may have been mixed up… Whiskeytown is under federal jurisdiction, just not USFS, rather it is US Park Service.

        • Let them have their conspiracies.. it’s as old as time

      • It happens more than people know. We have a friend that works for a local construction company as a heavy equipment operator that was in an area when a fire broke out and was told he could not attempt to help put the fire out even though he has done that type of work before and he had to leave and let it burn.

        • Lots of stuff goes on that nobody knows about. I’m not judging Cal Fire but I will say some of what I know happened on the Lodge Fire in 2014 on Elkhorn Ridge- 1)Cal Fire bulldozer blew right through a coho-bearing creek in 2 spots. The operation maps show the dozers not going thru creek and the fire being battled by hand there yet there are dozer tracks across the creek still. 2) Cal Fire blew multiple roads across wilderness area- they are not supposed to do that. One dozer ran up the ridge and across an archaeology preserve site. Other things happened that were also swept under the rug by BLM and CalFire. Again- not judging but I find it as secretive government behavior…Current News- If people are concerned about federal agencies screwing up firefighting efforts you need to know that there is a new wilderness bill just introduced to the US Congress by Huffman. It includes parts of Trinity, Humboldt and Mendocino counties and by declaring wilderness will restrict firefighting activities in these areas. If that concerns you then get on the phone to your federal rep or to Huffman and let them know you oppose it. This is a terrible time to further restrict firefighting options!

    • Lost Croat Outburst

      Follow the smoke.

  • The whirlwind video sent chills down my spine! God bless all firefighters, first responders and folks that are in the middle of this hell!

  • Thanks for the great coverage. Sierra Pacific is feaverishly working to remove valuables from our manditory evacuation zone

  • Preparation..

    • One rainbird will not cut it in a windblown inferno, might stop a spot fire but you got metal roofing to do that.

      • Thanks for allowing me an opportunity to say more.

        It’s a 30′ roof, I put 3 birds up. It’s not to fight the fire, it’s to protect my family and house while I fight the fire with a separate pump, 300′ fire hose and dedicated fire water.

        To person below. It’s all off grid. No city water or electric.

      • Lost Croat Outburst

        Pipes on the roof are obviously just to protect the house. If the surrounding acreage burns but your HOUSE does not, you haven’t lost everything.

    • Looks awesome! It can stop an ember from catching around your house not just on the metal roof (metal roof is awesome tho) I would feel a lot better about evacuating if I had something like that. Nice

    • Lost Croat Outburst

      Lookin’ good. Metal roofs are in; fire-rated shingles are OK maybe, and shake roofs are completely out of the question. A non-starter.

  • Great preparation . Hopefully it’s spring-water fed with underground piping to ensure its not interrupted by fire. Water district sources are sometimes shut off in emergencies

  • Good job and good luck Brian. Sincerely

    • I really am optimistic that I won’t need to fight it at my place.

      The next 2 afternoons are critical for trinity, I hope the lines can be held where they’re drawn.

      Deerlick Springs would be the next big line before me going 100% get-ready- for-the-shit mode.

  • We saw 2 fire trucks from Santa Fe, New Mexico refueling at a gas station in Fortuna this morning. Thank you, fire fighters and thank you, Kym, for your reporting. Stay safe, Mark McKenna –

  • 2 2.5 miles from lewiston and of course it has taken off with the winds.

    Big plume.

  • Thank you for posting the “Operations Map” its always nice to see what the plan of attack is and gives those in the path a better idea for planning.

  • God bless the fire fighters 👍

  • Lost Croat Outburst

    Great job, Kym. What a tragedy. Bad all around, but when boats out on piers on the lake get incinerated, that’s a hot fire. Thank you more than I can say to the firefighters.

  • Orange Sunshine

    It’s way past time to talk about “WUI”, wilderness urban interface. From the National Academy paper: “Because of the people and property values at risk, WUI fires fundamentally change the tactics and cost of fire suppression as compared with fighting remote fires and account for as much as 95% of suppression costs.” Between 1990 and 2010 two million new homes were built in the interface. Few of those incorporated fire prevention into their construction.

    • California building code requires all homes on parcels over 5 acres in the wildland urban interface to use building materials that are WUIBS certified. Wildland Urban Interface Building Standards that are specifically burn rated.

      Of course, almost anything, subjected to enough heat for enough time is going to burn. If the USFS and other related agencies would focus their energies in the off-season to reduce fuels in these wildland urban interface zones a lot of damage could be mitigated. This does not imply that individual property owners don’t have a responsibility to take care of their own parcels.

      • Orange Sunshine

        “on parcels over 5 acres…” leaves many homes built without those protections. Just look at all of the photos of not just this fire, but that Santa Rosa fire last year where homes are burned to the foundation while trees next to them are still standing. Instead of metal roofs, tile roofs are not only fire proof but provide insulation to the heat preceding ignition. If this truly is the “new normal,” we need to address the fact that wildfires will be impacting more urban areas in the future and prevention is key. Prescribed burning during the wet season is also integral to the issue, but it is made more difficult because of the WUIs.

  • How bout it? My home defense confidence levels just went through the roof.

  • Most of the WUI zones are Calfire ground and they don’t do much to reduce hazardous fuels except send you a bill hidden as a “tax”.

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