Red Salmon: Nearly Three Months Old and Just 63% Contained

Aug 8 Sunset looking sw into the Red Salmon fire

Sunset on the Red Salmon Complex on August 8. [Photo from InciWeb]

Press release from the Red Salmon Management Team:

Yesterday: The Red Flag Warning from the past two days expired Friday at 6 PM. During the day, fire activity increased in the South Fork Salmon River, Methodist Creek, Plummer Creek, East Fork New River, and Horse Linto Creek. Firefighters used water from prepositioned firehose and drops from helicopters to aid in cooling hotspots. The fire remained within planned containment lines. Night and day crews remained vigilant near structures to provide protection in case fire moved closer to residences.

Weather and Fire Behavior: Warm temperatures, lower humidity, and light terrain driven winds are expected the next few days. No rain is predicted in the near future. With shorter daylight hours and a slight increase in humidity, fire behavior is expected to moderate, but higher elevations with unburned islands will continue to ignite. Smoke impacting the area remains possible.

Today’s Operations: Along the western flank of the fire, crews will continue to monitor containment line in the Colgrove Branch drainage and repair fireline no longer needed. On the northeastern side, crews will patrol and mop up along the Salmon River to keep fire south of the river. On the southeastern side, firefighters are securing fireline to keep fire east of Miller Ranch and west of the East Fork New River.

Structure defense crews continue to evaluate needs for structure defense systems in Denny, Miller Ranch, Cecilville, Forks of the Salmon, Godfrey, Blue Ridge, and Black Bear and are beginning to remove systems where the fire is contained.

Fire suppression repair (restoring fireline to prevent soil erosion) is being completed within the Wilderness and on all flanks of the fire where fire has been contained. Resource advisors help direct this work to protect sensitive natural and cultural resources. As fire containment increases and fireline equipment is no longer needed, an important task for crews is to gather and bring the miles of hose, water pumps, and portable water tanks back to fire camp for packaging and shipping.

Closures: Areas and roads within and near the fire perimeter on the Klamath, Six Rivers, and Trinity National Forests are closed. More information is available on forest websites: | | Temporary Flight Restrictions remain over the entire Red Salmon fire area, which includes drones. Remember: If you fly, we can’t.

For up to date fire information on the Red Salmon Complex and other fires visit or use the QR code to view the links with your mobile device.



  • I just can’t think of enough wonderful things to say about our firefighters. Their grit, determination, and bravery just leaves me speechless. A fantastic group of guys and gals who put their lives on the line for all of us is a true blessing. Please be safe hero’s!

  • The fire fighters stood around and let everything burn up so if you want to thank anyone then thank the prisoners who were the ones who actually did the work of trying to contain the fire and put it out. Thank you Prisoners!!!! I saw you with my own eyes working your hearts out while the firefighters stood around eating and looking at their phones.

    • Your comment is so far off base it leaves me speechless. About one jail bird to what two or three thousand regular firefighters. You are probably a jail bird. Correct? What about the Marines. They were busting their asses to help put this fire out!!!

  • When this fire started it was all about fighting with low impact. A kinder gentler way. 140 thousand acres later I wonder if that was advantageous.

    • It does seem like the wildfire industry could have put it out months ago when it was burning slowly at high elevation, if that was their actual objective..

      • A few months ago, there were hundreds of other fires burning, with so many higher priority fires threatening structures and not even enough resources for those high priority fires. In hindsight it’s easy to say “this could have been put out sooner” especially now as things have calmed down. You also have to think about all the hazardous fuel that’s being reduced from this slow moving fire. Everyone is always screaming about thinning forests and reducing fuel in our overcrowded forests these days, well that’s what this fire has been doing. Not ideal but it is what it is!

        • The fire started in July when there weren’t so many other fires burning.
          At first they were “practicing natural fire suppression techniques.” After a few days they changed to “full suppression.” By then it was too late. You cannot find their first plan on their website any more.
          Have you been living out here during the weeks of off the chart hazardous air quality? I wonder what the long term health consequences are going to be. This has been unprecedented.

          • The inhaled smoke damage this year has been possibly the worst of my lifetime. Or maybe it’s the 4 consecutive years of bad smoke. I know for a fact, my breathing is under strain.

            • I am sorry Rod.
              I keep an eye on the air quality report. We had levels way over 1000 when hazardous is just 250.
              I hope you feel better!
              Mexico City and Beijing has far better air than we did for weeks.
              And still they lit their backfires.

  • 100,000 acre fuels reduction forest treatment program the town of Willow creek is in serious danger of burning in the future lower trinity six rivers national forest has no plans to do large scale fuels reduction or any commercial logging surrounding Willow creek fire is the way the Feds are going to treat the woods the red salmon fire was a close one people in the trinity valley better start to speak up contact Nolan colegrove and voice your concerns there are major property investments major legal weed farms that have invested if you own property that buts up to federal land take upon your self to go 100′ on federal land to create a fuels break remember the forest service are not going to do any type of fuels reduction or any commercial logging forest service will use fire to reduce the fuels even if the town of WC turns into a big ash heap !

  • How about all the residents of the rivers who put their lives on the line breathing hazardous air from a mis-managed fiasco?
    Aren’t they heroes? The residents who didn’t want to build a fire in their cold homes because they didn’t want to add to the smoke (when none of the high payed fire lighters seemed to care a bit when lighting backfires)? Aren’t these residents heroes? How about the grocery clerks at the stores and gas stations workers and all the other great people risking Covid to serve our communities and firefighters from out of town? Aren’t they heroes? How about our farmers providing us with food, working outside with air that was the most hazardous in the nation for weeks? Aren’t they heroes?
    It’s so popular to thank the firefighters, but let’s also give thanks to our community for putting on a brave and respectful face in an unprecedented hazardous air quality situation. No one felt good for weeks breathing what really wasn’t air.

    • Agreed, all those people you listed are absolutely heroes and get overlooked too often! On another note, Federal wildland firefighters are actually some of the lowest paid in the country. Look it up. Entry level is about $13/hour and even most of their Captains make less than 50k a year base salary. Crazy!

      • Agreed.
        But, In addition to underpaid federal employees don’t forget that there are many many private contractors.
        In the 80s when I worked for FS there were no private contractors and we did fuel reduction when there weren’t fires. My job was cut when it was privatized.
        My friend is a private contractor and when he sees a thunderstorm he used to call it a “money maker,” while we’re worried about our community. I don’t think he does anymore because the death and destruction from so many of these fires is really getting to him and others in his field of work.

  • I am very sorry to say but Stan is right. Common folks were doing their best to put out fires and I too saw many “firefighters” standing around eating and talking on their phones. I drove up and asked them why??? They said they were told to stand down while fire lines were cut. Obviously they were not the ones cutting the line. Sorry Martin…..your totally wrong.

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