Crews Hope to Garotte the Carr Fire With a Thin Ribbon of Flames

A cloud of smoke from the Carr Fire confronted dozer drivers last Saturday afternoon.

A cloud of smoke from the Carr Fire confronted dozer drivers last Saturday afternoon. [Photo by Stephen Thomas Riley]

Yesterday, a massive backburn from dozer lines to the north of the Carr Fire sent a ribbon of controlled fire slithering towards the unrestrained northern head  of the beast which had been plunging towards Lakehead to the north of Shasta Lake. Firefighter hope the thin fiery line burns away fuel and starves the flames. This, they hope, will halt the Carr’s northward push.

So far the fire has consumed 181,496 acres and is only 51% contained. Though the fire’s increase in size has only slowly crept upwards the last few days, winds and high temperatures which forced the announcement of a Red Flag Warning are worrying those battling this beast.

Cracking a thin whip of flames, crews set backburns above the northern head of the monstrous Carr Fire.

Cracking a thin whip of flames, crews set backburns above the northern head of the monstrous Carr Fire. [Crop of today’s heat map]

According to the Northern California Geographic Coordination Center, “1,077 residences have been destroyed and 191 residences have been damaged; 500 outbuildings are destroyed.” They also list a number of other concerns including,

Shasta Bally repeater has limited operability due to damage from the fire. This repeater is critical to the public safety radio system. A mobile repeater is being placed on Sugarloaf. The South Fork Repeater site has sustained major damage. This site hosts the local AM/FM radio stations and local TV, including local news. Other components damaged at the site include AT&T cellular site.

For more information on evacuations and road closures, click here.

The Plan: 

Crews consult about where to put in containment lines.

Crews consult about where to put in containment lines. [Photo by Stephen Thomas Riley]

Branch I (around the City of Redding) is solidly contained. Strong afternoon winds could cause fire weakened trees to fall but, as a whole, this area is under control.

Branch II, the southwest of the fire: The fire is pushing south through the mountains around Rainbow Lake and across the County Line Road north of Bully Choop Mountain. Afternoon winds may cause torching and crown runs.

The Carr Fire through the window of a dozer.

The Carr Fire as seen from the driver’s seat of a dozer. [Photo by Stephen Thomas Riley]

Branch III, the west end of the fire: The containment lines are mostly holding along Lewiston and Trinty Lake. Firefighters will be alert however for the “possibility of roll-out across established lines,” according to Cal Fire.

Branch IV, the north side of the fire: The north of the fire pushed past dozer lines and firefighters will have to deal with winds from the south and west today. Spot fires pushing across already established lines are also a problem. However, a massive backburn yesterday (see above) has been added to the firefighter’s arsenal of weapons that they hope to use to choke the beast.

The Weather: 

Sunset over Whiskeytown Lake.

Sunset over Whiskeytown Lake. [Photo by Stephen Thomas Riley]

The Red Flag Warning weather conditions that began Thursday will continue through tomorrow. Firefighters are concerned about the late afternoon winds that occur about 3 p.m. through 7 p.m. which might cause gusts from the southwest up to 25 to 30 mph.

The humidity will be low and the temperatures will be high (up to 103 degrees in some areas) as it has been through much of the fire.

Look for some improvement in smokey conditions today.

The Roads:

Thank you first responders.

Caltrans road sign thanks first responders. [Photo by Stephen Thomas Riley]

Highway 299, the major east-west route for northern California, is open with restrictions. According to Caltrans District 2,

While firefighters and other emergency personnel continue efforts to contain the Carr Fire, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) District 2 announces the limited reopening of State Route 299 between Redding in Shasta County and Weaverville in Trinity County. The roadway has been closed at several locations since the fire broke out on Monday, July 23, 2018, for public safety.

Effective Thursday, August 9, 2018, State Route 299 is open on a limited basis, as follows:

  • The public can drive through between Trinity Dam Blvd and JF Kennedy Memorial Road (Whiskeytown Visitor’s Center) from Noon to 1:30 PM and 6:00 PM to 5:00 AM daily. The highway will remain closed during all other times.
  • One-Way Traffic Control Operations will be in place. Motorists are to follow a pilot car, slow down, and follow directions. PLEASE DO NOT ARRIVE MORE THAN 15 MINTUES EARLY TO TRAFFIC CONTROL. Early arrivals will be turned back.
  • Motorists are advised of possible significant delays.
  • This schedule is subject to change at any time.
  • Caltrans, contractors and subcontractors will continue diligently repairing State Route 299 while traffic travels through.
  • These hours pertain to repopulated communities as well. Caltrans, its contractor Tullis Inc. and subcontractors have been working nonstop since Tuesday, July 31st at several stretches of the highway, removing thousands of burnt trees deemed hazardous to the traveling public, replacing several miles of damaged guardrail, road signs, and culverts, along with dozens of crews from utility companies who are repairing key infrastructure.

“In the aftermath of the Carr Fire, all agencies involved are doing their best to manage this critical situation,” says Dave Moore, Caltrans District 2 Director. “Caltrans has been focusing on reopening State Route 299 as soon as possible and at a point when we deem it safe for the traveling public.”

Caltrans continues asking for the public’s patience and understanding. Caltrans is committed to informing the public as often as possible.

Caltrans District 2 is informing the public through the “Caltrans District 2” page on Facebook and “@CaltransD2” on Twitter, via our website, the (530) 225-3452 hotline and our one-on-one customer service via telephone to those who call (530) 225-3426 during business hours.

More information about the closure from Caltrans District 2 below:

For more on other roads in the area, see this Cal Fire site.

The MAPS:

  • Operations Map –to see details either zoom or click on the map and download a pdf.
    Carr Fire Operations August 10

    Carr Fire Operations August 10

  • 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 Fire Heat Map August 10

    Carr Fire Heat Map August 10

Donations:Stuffed toy drive for victims of Carr Fire

  • Stuffed Toy Drive in Eureka, Weaverville, and Willow Creek for victims. (See more information here.)
  • 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.”

Resources:

Redwood Acres Fairground is accepting evacuees for free camping.

Earlier Chapters:

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