[UPDATE 10:51 p.m.] Day 22: Lightning Fires


A helicopter collects water to fight the Coon Fire in the Gasquet Complex. [Photo provided by Matthew Parrott.]

Three weeks after a massive lightning storm lit up the Emerald counties, we’re still reeling from the aftereffects. Today we continue the coverage in our daily post.

[Note: The Sawtooth Fire which was discovered near the Gasquet Complex  showed no heat during infrared photography of the area last night. The Horse Fire, which started the day before yesterday north of Shelter Cove, has been added below.]

As we update each incident until late evening, we’ll note the time the facts were posted so you can quickly see if there is something new. Look for the most recent general updates on the bottom but new information for individual fires is posted in the summaries below in blue.  (Newest maps of the fires here.) Those that have expanded 20% or more will have their acreage in red bold type. 

  • Horse Fire (northeast of Shelter Cove): (Current as of 6 p.m.) 250 acres and 12% contained. Total Fire Personnel: 271. “Strong daytime winds off the ocean are influencing the fire behavior.” (More info here.)
  • Fork Complex (Trinty Pines and north to Hayfork):(Current as of 7:30 p.m.) 36,285 acres burned and 62% contained. Structures Destroyed: Residences 8, other buildings 4, Firefighter injuries to date: 12, Total Personnel: 2002. “Strategic firing overnight on the south and southeast side of the Shiell Fire helped crews strengthen containment lines. A spot fire in the area is being suppressed.” (More info here.)
  • Gasquet Fire: (Current as of 6:30 p.m.) 11,484 acres burned and 17% containment. Total Personnel: 778. Injuries: 18.  “The southwest corner of the Coon Fire continues to back downhill to the South Fork of the Smith River in the Paradise Flat area. The current management strategy is to allow the fire to work down to the South Fork, which is being utilized as a natural containment line. A structure protection group continues to implement preparations in the community of Rock Creek, Paradise Flat and Tollefson Ranch. We are working closely with local and state agencies to make sure all residents have been advised of the existing structure protection plan. The Coon Fire has not crossed Deer Creek. Hand Crews and dozers have completed a secondary containment line on the ridge top south of Deer Creek.” (More info here)
  • Humboldt Complex (Alderpoint and surroundings):(Current as of 7:15 p.m. on 19th) 4,883 acres burned and 100% contained. Structures Destroyed: 1 residence, 6 outbuildings. Firefighter injuries to date: 14, Total Personnel:1,392. “Currently, no additional fire growth is anticipated.  (More info here)
  • Mad River Complex (Ruth Lake and Surroundings) Now Combined with the Route Complex -see below: (More info here) Telephone number for the public information officer is 707-574-6289.
  • Nickowitz Fire (northern Humboldt/southern Del Norte):(Current as of 6:40 p.m.) 4,770 acres and 53% contained. Total Personnel: 466. ” As expected, fire activity increased in some areas, but was generally favorable for meeting suppression objectives. Holding and securing the Soapstone Gulch area on the south flank is a priority for Thursday night, as is holding and securing the west flank. ”  (More info here) Phone: 530-627-3246. N
  • 2015_08_16-

    River Complex after the fire moved through. [Photo from InciWeb.]

    River Complex:(Current as of 8:45 p.m.) 48,099 burned and 22% contained. Total Personnel: 675. “Tonight fire crews will continue activities in the Denny area and support holding the fire north of Forest Road 5N18. Even with the return of the inversion in the evening hours firefighters can expect active fire behavior supported by warmer temperatures and lower humidity.” (More info here.) Telephone number for the public information officer 530-276-8559. Estimated containment: October 01st, 2015
  • Route Complex (south and west of Hyampom and Buck Mt. area)Now Combined with the Mad River Complex:(Current as of 7:45 p.m.64,434 acres burned and 37% contained. Structures destroyed: 2 outbuildings. Total Personnel: 920. Injury: 1. “The Route and Mad River Complex and US Forest Service are hosting a public meeting on Friday, 21 August, at 5:30 p.m. at the Lamb Creek Christian Center on Highway 36 in Mad River–Johnson Fire (32,681 acres and 29% contained) After successful burnout operations earlier in the week the north end is in patrol and mop up status. The east side of the fire near Hyampom is in patrol status. …Continued burnout operations are planned for the south and west sides of the fire. Pickett Fire (10,935 acres, 78 percent contained) Debris continues to create a hazard on the highway 36 and is not yet safe for travel by the general public. Structure protection crews remain in the Forest Glen area. Lassic Fire (10,870 acres, 24 percent contained) Dozer line has been constructed on the western portion of the fire in coordination with Cal Fire to prevent any further spread to the west. The fire continues to spread in a south easterly direction, as expected. Structure defense remains in place in the Rutledge Area..” (More info here.) Telephone number for the public information officer is 707-574-6865.
  • South Complex (north and west of Hyampom):(Current as of 7:50 p.m.) 22,807 acres burned and 50% containment. Personnel: 1062.  “Fires on the South Complex became more active today as the wind picked up and the inversion lifted at about 5pm. Most activity observed was on the north western side of the Pattison Fire in the area northwest of Rays Peak and north of Forest Road 3N05. Dozer lines are in place to stop the forward spread, and crews will monitor and hold those lines overnight. Crews also continued to construct containment lines to the east and on the south side of the fire. A masticator working on the fire line caught fire at approximately 3pm this afternoon. The fire was contained to the masticator and did not spread to the surrounding wildland. No one was injured in the equipment fire.” (More info here)


Here’s our tools to keep you abreast of what’s happening:

Newest Info: Next, the twitter feed near the bottom right of our home page is continuously updated with the latest tweets from Cal Fire, other local news organizations, the National Weather Service, etc.

Above that are two scanner feeds–one that will take you to Eureka/north coverage. The other that will take you to Eureka/south coverage.

Past Info: Reminder, at the bottom of this post under Earlier Chapters are links to our previous coverage. Much of it still very relevant. Particularly note our newest fire maps. 

Don’t miss a post: In our right hand column is a subscribe box (for those accessing on mobiles, scroll down to the bottom and the box is just above recent posts.) Fill that out and a link to every story will appear in your email.

UPDATE 1:42 p.m.:


UPDATE 3:03 p.m.:

More photos and a map of the Horse Fire.

UPDATE 3:05 p.m.:

UPDATE 3:30 p.m.: The US Forest Service and the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office have issued the latest information for individuals in the areas affected by fire.  The Forest Service is now allowing residents to travel more freely within the mandatory evacuation area of the River Complex between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and the Sheriff’s Office has updated their recommendations. Click here for more information.

UPDATE 5:20 p.m.:

UPDATE 5:40 p.m.: Supervisor Fennell reports that Garberville Airport will be closed to regular use 


UPDATE 6:15 p.m.: National Geographic loves the firefighters fighting our wildfires.  We love the firefighters and the gritty photos featured in the article. Click here to see more.

UDPATE 7:40 p.m.: Wind whipped Lassic Fire rolls south and east. Click here for more.


Earlier Chapters:



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