[UPDATE 11:31 p.m. Hwy 36 Closed/Evacuations] The Lightning Fires, Day Two


As the sun struggles through a thick blanket of smoke to the east, Emerald Triangle government agencies and local fire departments are trying to determine how many fires are still burning, what structures are threatened, and how to fight back. We’ll be updating with information today on the fires in this post. (See yesterday’s photos and information here.)

First Note of the day 7:05 a.m.: A Humboldt resident helped a friend evacuate from near Hyampom in Trinity County on a forest road known as Route 1. He took the above photo at 2 a.m. He said he was told by CDF that there were 13 fires in the area.

UPDATE 7:15 a.m.: High temperatures predicted today inland will impede firefighting efforts. Below are some of the forecast numbers for our area posted by the National Weather Service (NWS) on their Facebook page. Occasional lightning is predicted. The NWS posted, “Isolated thunderstorms are expected today and tonight across the NW California interior. Trinity [C]ounty and Mendocino National Forest will be the focus for activity today, but chances will spread west into far eastern Del Norte and Humboldt counties as well.”

UPDATE 7:30 a.m.:  Cal Fire states, “33 lightning sparked fires for 50 acres in the Alder Point-Blocksburg area (Humboldt Co). Also a quick update on two fires burning before yesterday in Humboldt County–Cal Fire says, “#‎BuckFire‬ [final] off Alderpoint Road & Wallan Road near Garberville (Humboldt County) is now 100% contained at 16 acres.” And, “‪#‎QueenFire‬ [update] off Hwy 169 & McKinnon Hill Rd, 5 miles SE of Pecwan (Humboldt County) remains 158 acres & 85% contained.”

UPDATE 7:31 a.m.: Redway Fire Chief Brian Anderson tells us there are 37 fires in Southern Humboldt as of midnight.

UPDATE 8:07 a.m.: There is a fire on South Fork mountain across the road from the water district near Ruth Lake.

UPDATE 8:15 a.m.: Tweet from Cal Fire:

UPDATE 8:32 a.m.:

UPDATE 9 a.m.: New fire called in. Red marker indicates roughly where it is located.

CaptureUPDATE 9:15 a.m.: Cal Fire writes, “#‎MendocinoLightningFires‬ [update] 6 lightning sparked fires for 34 acres & 80% contained in the Willits & Brooktrails area (Mendocino County.) All but one 8 acre fire is contained.”

UPDATE 9:35 a.m.: A landowner sends us this photo taken “half way between Casterlin School and the Blocksburg Dump, looking west.” 20150731_092129Smoke from multiple fires clog the view. The landowner tells us how incredibly grateful he is for Cal Fire, the inmate crews and especially the volunteer firefighters. He said the Alderpoint crew was at his place and they worked in the heat and smoke to put out the fire. It choked him up. He said, “That’s not their paid job and they’re…busting their ass for you… .”

Take a minute and say thank you to your firefighters–the paid crews, the inmate crews and the volunteers. Next time they have a fundraiser, drop a chunk of change in their jars.

UPDATE 9:42 a.m.: Possibility of Evacuations in Hyampom

UPDATE 9:52 a.m.: Will Oliver, watch commander at the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed there are evacuations ordered west of Hyampom. See below:

**Official Sheriff’s Department Notice**

Manadtory Evacuations have been requested by US Forest Service and ordered by the Trinity County Sheriff’s Department for parcels located near the west end of Kerlin Creek Road (FS Road 3N44). Residents are highly encouraged to quickly, but calmly evacuate the area due to wildfire conditions.

Reverse 911 notifications are being made, but may not reach residents without hard line or cellular phones. Deputies are responding to the area to perform door to door notifications.

Updates will made as available.

UPDATE 10:24 a.m.: Photo taken about 7:20 a.m between Alderpoint and Blocksburg. Right after this was taken Cal Fire began fighting it.

UPDATE 11 a.m.: **Official Trinity County Sheriff’s Advisement***

US Forest service has requested an advisement for “Recommended Evacuations ” of the town of Denny.

US Forest Service advises wildfire activity is threatening parts of the Denny Road and may hamper future evacuations of the town of Denny, if needed.

All residents of the town of Denny, should be reminded wildfire conditions can change rapidly and to be prepared to evacuate with short notice.

Reverse 911 notifications are being made, but residents without hard line phones or cellular phones may not receive these notifications.

Updates will be made as available.

UPDATE 11:52 a.m.: Photo taken last night at the fire near Ruth. Next to Imperial’s, says photographer Heather Toland.

RuthUPDATE 12 p.m.: The Trinity County Sheriff’s Office states that the Red Cross is setting up an evacuation center at the Solid Rock Christian Church is 66 Tule Creek Road, Hayfork.

UPDATE 12:05 p.m.: Photos from the fire near Denny. The first photo is by Santosha Hays and the second two are by Sarah Schuette. Schuette said that she and Hays went to the area burning above Denny. She described how easy it was to access the area as stretched thin fire personnel struggled to deal with a very large fire.  “There [were] no fire personnel there when we got there last night around 10:30 pm and we were able to go right up to the fire boundary. [W]e left the fire around 11:30 pm and a couple of fire vehicles were headed up to check the scene.”

denny1 Denny2 denny3

UPDATE 12:25 p.m.:

UPDATE 1:15 p.m.: Video taken yesterday evening of the local hills burning after the onslaught of lightning strikes. According to Cal Fire spokesperson Laura Coleman, The “Humboldt Del Norte CAL FIRE Unit as well as USFS Six Rivers are battling multiple blazes started by lightning….This …video was taken by a HIA Helicopter that has been stationed in Hoopa this fire season and responded to the fires.”

UPDATE 2:03 p.m.: Humboldt Bay Fire joins the fight against the lightning fires.

UPDATE 2:10 p.m.:

UPDATE 2:30 p.m.: These blackhawks are your friends…

UPDATE  2:47 p.m.: Video of Calfire tanker doing dropping retardant on fire across Eel River from  Fort Seward Ranch taken by land owner Kelly Patton.

UPDATE 2:49 p.m.: Press release from the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office:

The Trinity County Sheriff’s Office is issuing a voluntary evacuation for both sides of Lower Mad River Road, from Ruth Marina/Journey’s End to Ruth/Zenia Road. Evacuations are voluntary at this point but may change to mandatory at short notice.

UPDATE 3:05 p.m.: More mandatory evacuations from the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office:
The Trinity County Sheriff’s Department has issued a “Mandatory” evacuation notice for the following areas.
Barker Creek Road, in the Hayfork valley.
Residents near the end of Barker Creek Road are being advised to evacuate the area, due to wildfire activity. A Mandatory evacuation is in effect as of this time.
Updates will be posted as available.

UPDATE 3:13 p.m.: Mendocino resident writes in to tell us “[a]t least 35 fire crews just came through heading north.” Thank goodness!
UPDATE 3:20 p.m.:
More mandatory evacuations per Trinity County Sheriff:

**Official Trinity County Sheriff’s Department notice**
The Trinity County Sheriff’s Department has issued a “Mandatory” evacuation notice for the following areas.
Skunk Ranch and Manzanita Ranch in the Hyampom valley.
Residents in the Skunk Ranch and Manzanita Ranch areas are being advised to evacuate the area, due to wildfire activity. A Mandatory evacuation is in effect as of this time.
Evacuation center is located at the “Solid Rock Church”, located at 66 Tule Creek Road, in Hayfork.
Updates will be posted as available.

UPDATE 3:25 p.m.: Some great advice!

UPDATE 3:35 p.m.: Cal Fire update on the Barker Fire.

UPDATE 3:45 p.m.: More evacuations:

The Trinity County Sheriff’s Office is issuing a mandatory evacuation from Hobart Road to Highway 36 in Mad River.

The Red Cross is setting up an evacuation center at Lambs Creek Church on the corner of Highway 3 and Highway 36

UPDATES 3:48 p.m.: Thunderclouds rolling in to Trinity County. This photo was taken south of Hayfork about 3:15 p.m. by a reader.

UPDATE 3:52 p.m.: Scanner reports (which can be inaccurate) are telling us that there have been more fires discovered in the Dobbins Dobbyn’s Creek area that have the potential to impact structures.

UPDATE 4:03 p.m.: Scanner traffic indicates there are multiple fires between Dobbyn Creek and Fort Seward. Firefighters are now calling it the East Dobbyn Complex. Fire is estimated to reach structure in approximately one hour. (Caution: scanner traffic may be inaccurate.)

UPDATE 4:30 p.m.: Scanner traffic indicates there is a fire advancing slowly on several three to four structures. Some trees are torching. Red marker is at the coordinates given for the fire.

fsUPDATE 4:32 p.m.: Scanner traffic indicates that a woman in the Dobbyn’s Creek area has called reporting a fire burning at approximately the red marker in the map below. The fire she says is creeping near her house and nearer a neighbor’s. Fire crews are racing to her area. (click on maps to enlarge.)


UPDATE 4:45 p.m.: 

UPDATE 4:51 p.m.: Scanner traffic (caution: information gotten this way is not always accurate) indicates that two fires recently discovered, 58 and 59, are heading towards the town of Blocksburg. “You may want to make this a priority.”

UPDATE  5:05 p.m.: Governor Brown declares State of Emergency. 

UPDATE 5:09 p.m.: Cal Fire says, “CAL FIRE confirms 60 [fires] in the Blocksburg area and Six Rivers National Forest confirms 25 as of this afternoon. There are no active evacuation orders or advisories in effect for Humboldt County at this time.”

There are however evacuations in Trinity County.

UPDATE 5:15 p.m.:

Cal Fire tweeted, “#BarkerFire [update] off of Barker Valley, north of Highway 3, northeast of Hayfork (Trinity County) is now at 500 acres.”
Also Cal Fire Humboldt says, “Lightning: 205 acres 20% contained for all.”

UPDATE 5:31 p.m.:

The Trinity County Sheriff’s Office is issuing a Mandatory Evacuation for the following areas: Hyampom – The end of Kerlin Creek Road, 3N44 & 3N50, Road 16, Road 47, and Road 60.

Hayfork – The end of Barker Creek Road, the Mill Gulch area, mile marker 3.18 Highway 3 all the way to the Hayfork dump, Morgan Hill Road, Kingsbury Road, Pine Street, and Dirt Street.

Mad River – Mad River Road from Highway 36 to Three Forks.

Voluntary Evacuations are still in place for the Denny area, in Hayfork Farmer Ranch/Big Creek Road, in Ruth on Lower Mad River Road from the Ruth Marina/Journey’s Inn to the Ruth/Zenia Road.

Highway 3 south bound is closed from Hyampom Road to Highway 36.

The Red Cross is setting up evacuation centers in Hayfork at the Solid Rock Christian Church, 66 Tule Creek Road, and in Mad River at the Van Duzen Elementary School, 680 County Road 511.

UPDATE 5:40 p.m.: According to Dick Assam who sent in the following photos taken from about 10 miles away, “The fire coming up from Ruth lake on the other side of Picket Peak went apeshit this afternoon, heavy winds low humidity. The fire crested the summit just as really strong winds kicked up and sent a 400ft fireball across the top of the whole mountain.”

fire3 fire2UPDATE 6:40 p.m.: According to Cal Fire,

  • the Rail Fire which is near Rail Canyon and Hwy 3 south of Hayfork is now at 800 acres.
  • the Barker Fire which is north of Highway 3, 5 miles NE of Hayfork   is now 500 acres. Mandatory evacuations for Barker Creek Rd. An Evacuation Shelter has been set up at the Solid Rock Christian Church, 66 Tule Creek Rd. Hayfork.
  • Humboldt Lightning Fires which is multiple fires scattered over a large area has reached a total of 205 acres 20% contained.
    53 lightning fires

According to the US Forest Service,

  • the Fork Complex (see map below for approximate location) is 150 acres. Capture

UPDATE 6:47 p.m.:

UPDATE 7:05 p.m.:

Map roughly indicates areas with fires

UPDATE 7:20 p.m.: Pass this on to people who might have to evacuate.

UPDATE 7:40 p.m.: Scanner traffic describes that Mad River Road is going to be closed. Two structures are threatened nearby.

UPDATE 8 p.m.: Scanner traffic has someone requesting help for the Ruth Guard Station. “Structure threat imminent–Immediate need!” This map (click link) says the guard station is located roughly where the red marker is.


UPDATE 8:07 p.m.: 

UPDATE 8:30 p.m.: Ash falling in many northern Humboldt towns. Here’s a photo by Megan Regal showing ash on her vehicle in McKinleyville.

UPDATE 8:55 p.m.: Chris Moulton tells us that even though there are mandatory evacuations at the Ruth Rodeo, there are still folks “bucking bulls” at 8:30 p.m.

He also sent us this shot from Journey’s End taken this afternoon.0731151627

And here are some Ruth Rodeo shots.

cm2 CMUPDATE 9:45 p.m.: Photos of the incidents from Cal Fire Humboldt labeled just “Looking East.”

lc2 lc

UPDATE 10:10 p.m.: Caltrans writes that State Route 36


UPDATE 10:23 p.m.:
PG&E is reporting over 700 customers are without power in the Mad River area.
UPDATE 10:48 p.m.: Video taken roughly north of Hyampom towards Underwood Mountain about 3:30 p.m. today.




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