Fire Update: Northern California June 26, 2008


Smoke taking the sun

Mandatory evacuations were ordered for 80 homes near Junction City late Wednesday as the Eagle Fire jumped Highway 299.

The Trinity County residents who live in Cooper Bar Estates were told about 10:45 p.m. to leave their homes, Shasta-Trinity National Forest spokesman Mike Odle said.

Firefighters were being pulled off other fires to make a “last stand” in hopes of holding the Eagle Fire, which is part of the Iron Complex, Odle said.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, firefighters marshaled beefed-up crews against the 250 forest fires burning around the north state, containing several.

Even so, new fires flared, including an explosive blaze in a semirural neighborhood near Mountain Gate that destroyed several sheds and cars. That fire was unrelated to Saturday’s lightning storm.

Heavy smoke pouring from the roughly 40,000 acres burning around the far northern Sacramento Valley grounded the air tankers that ordinarily would help firefighters douse wildfires.

“The aircraft is grounded,” said Tracy Gouette, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protectionspokeswoman. “They cannot get out in the smoke. Those are big planes, just parked there.”

Several lightning-sparked fires on Shasta Bally continue to converge and menace the communication towers on the prominent mountain’s summit.

And firefighters on Wednesday turned their attention for the first time to several new large wildfires near Buckhorn Summit, French Gulch and west of Igo/Ono, said Roy Del Carlo, Cal Fire spokesman. The largest of these, the Moon Fire near Paradise Peak well west of Redding, has consumed some 2,000 acres with zero containment, Del Carlo said.

“There were over 6,000 lightning strikes on Saturday,” Del Carlo said. “As humidities drop and temperatures come up, there will be more fires popping up.”

Firefighters marked progress in Shingletown, where authorities lifted road restrictions near burned areas and allowed residents back to their homes. But some road restrictions remained on Cassel Road near Hat Creek, Iron Mountain Road west of Redding and Kirkman Road near Millville.

Elsewhere, the California Highway Patrol closed Highway 299 east to gas tankers and other trucks carrying hazardous material as flames burned to the roadway at Sugar Pine Conservation Camp, some 20 miles east of Redding.

Authorities late Wednesday afternoon closed Highway 36 west between Wildwood Road and Highway 3 in eastern Trinity County as the Telephone Fire reached that road. The Telephone Fire is one of 70 blazes burning in the Lime Complex in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

Here is a list of the fires burning Wednesday around the north state. Spokespersons from Cal Fire, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Parks Service provided this information:

Noble Fire:

The Noble Fire, at 3,200 acres, threatened the Beegum Gorge area near Platina. Authorities ordered the evacuation of the Russian Orthodox monastery a mile south of Platina on Tuesday, but did not call for any new evacuations Wednesday. The Noble Fire is part of the Lime Complex, which has blackened 7,500 acres and has cost an estimated $2 million to fight so far. It was 10 percent contained Wednesday night.

Venture Fire:

This blaze grew to 1,500 acres and was 75 percent contained. No structures were burned and no injuries were reported. There were still some travel restrictions along Cassel Road on Wednesday.

Shingletown Fire:

The fire was 100 percent contained and holding at 475 acres. Evacuation orders and road restrictions were lifted. Some 30 to 40 residents were allowed to return.

Withrow Fire:

This fire north of Shingletown grew to 500 acres near Withrow and One Hundred roads. The fire was 40 percent contained.

Kirkman Fire:

This fire off Highway 44 near Dersch Road was holding at 2,500 acres and was 80 percent contained. No structures were lost.

Donkey Mine:

This blaze south of Highway 299 and west of Oak Run Road grew to 600 acres but was 90 percent contained. No structures were lost.

Democrat Fire:

This fire burning near the town of Keswick was holding at 360 acres, but with no containment. No structures were threatened. Motorists faced restrictions on Iron Mountain Road north of Rock Creek Road.

Pine Fire:

This fire, formerly called the Backbone Ridge Fire, grew to 2,000 acres and was 60 percent contained. No structures have been lost. There were no precautionary evacuations in place Wednesday.

Kilarc Reservoir Fire:

A 20-acre blaze burning near the Pacific Gas and Electric Co.-owned lake was 100 percent contained. No homes were threatened.

Zogg Mine:

This fire in the Igo-Ono area was 80 percent contained at 74 acres. No structures have been lost. However, several spot fires continue burning nearby on steep mountainsides.

Motion Fire:

This fire near Shasta Dam had grown to 2,000 acres.

Barley Fire:

This fire in southwest Shasta County was at 1,000 acres in the Graves Ranch area.

Whiskeytown Complex:

Four wildfires burning 3,000 acres across Shasta Bally were continuing to converge and threaten power lines, employee housing and historic buildings.

The power lines feed television and radio transmission towers, including those used by the emergency agencies. The transmitters have propane-fueled back-up generators, and crews on Wednesday were trying to get a fuel truck in to make sure they were loaded.

By evening, fire was burning within a quarter-mile of the lines, which are strung on wooden poles running through steep terrain.

Go to for updated information on the Whiskeytown fires.

Popcorn Fire:

The Popcorn Fire has burned 3,000 acres about six miles east of Fall River Mills since Sunday and is 40 percent contained. Popcorn has since merged with the Peterson Fire, a 1,500-acre blaze in Lassen County, which is 5 percent contained.

Some 160 residents in Little Valley in Lassen County have been advised that they might have to evacuate, but so far none have been ordered to.

Lime Complex:

Crews continue to fight more than 70 fires spread across hundreds of square miles. These fires range from several acres to more than 2,000 acres in southeastern Trinity County near Hyampom and far southwestern Shasta County near Platina.

All told, fires have consumed an estimated 11,200 acres, with containment pegged at 10 percent. Major blazes in the Lime Complex include the Noble Fire, the Telephone Fire burning in eastern Trinity County, the Maddox Fire south of Hyampom and the Slide Fire farther west. No mandatory evacuations have been ordered.

The Lime Complex command post sits in Hayfork. The cost of this fire alone is estimated at $2 million.

Iron Complex:

A total of 36 fires had grown by Wednesday to more than 4,500 acres in northeastern Trinity County. Officials peg containment at 5 percent. Fires eventually could threaten the communities of Corral Bottom, Denny, Burnt Ranch and Brooks Ranch if they keep growing.

The Ziegler Fire was a top priority and was expected to grow to 900 acres. The Ironside Fire was about 2,000 acres. The Green Mountain Fire was about 1,500 acres in the Trinity Alps Wilderness, where rugged terrain limits crews to hand tools.

A new blaze called the Eagle Fire along Highway 299 and the Trinity River started overnight Tuesday and was about 800 acres. Firefighters are coordinating their efforts from a command post that sits in Junction City.

SHF June Lightning Complex:

Out of 29 lightning-sparked blazes originally reported in Trinity County, 11 have been extinguished and 16 are under control. The fires were listed Wednesday at 85 percent contained. Other fires have been absorbed by the Lime Complex or the Iron Complex. Still other possible fires have not been located because of the haze.

Siskiyou Complex:

Fires have burned some 2,000 acres in rugged terrain south of Happy Camp. Crews closed Highway 96 to motorists and the Klamath River to rafters near Dillon Creek Campground while they attempted to build a fire break.

Tehama County:

Nearly 12,000 acres were burning Wednesday in Tehama County, mostly in remote areas in the foothills and mountains northeast of Red Bluff.

The Antelope Fire had grown to 4,200 acres with 20 percent containment. The Mill Creek Fire had spread to 7,000 acres with no containment.

In western Tehama County, the Vestal Road fire was 95-percent contained at 181 acres.

None of the Tehama County fires damaged or threatened any buildings on Wednesday.

Latest Available Update 6-27-08

Latest Available Update 6-28-08

Latest Available Update 6-30-08

Latest Available Update 7-01-08

Update 7-2-08


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