Northern California Fire Update: 7-2-08

Awsome video of the Martin Mars water bomber on Shasta Lake yesterday, July 1.

The Martin Mars bomber, which arrived here Sunday from British Columbia, was called upon Tuesday, July 1, 2008, to fight the Motion Fire near Shasta Dam. The Martin Mars is able to scoop up and dump as much as 7,200 gallons of water on a fire. Camera operator and editor / Ron Harrington, via Shasta Lake Bulletin

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Firefighters Tuesday continued to make progress on several fires burning in Shasta and Trinity counties, but evacuations remained in effect for several areas.

Evacuation orders were holding for the Coram Ranch and Rainbow Lake Road.

Iron Mountain Road, which had previously been closed, opened to residents Tuesday evening. Residents in other parts of the north state have been allowed back to their homes in recent days.

However, the off-highway vehicle access at Copley Mountain Staging Area was closed Tuesday evening to all but fire personnel. The off-road trail provides access to the Democrat and Motion fires.

Four firefighters reportedly suffered smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion Tuesday battling a fire near Ono. They were sent to an area hospital and released, said Dave Ballard, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Ballard said the firefighters will get some time off, but are healthy enough to quickly go back to their jobs.

Meanwhile, Cal Fire information specialist Jeremy Wilcockson said Tuesday night that 52,500 acres had burned in Cal Fire’s Shasta-Trinity Unit and that overall, the fires are 20 percent contained.

The fires have been split by fire managers into three separate clusters of blazes called the Deerlick, Motion and Moon complexes.

Containment also was declared Tuesday morning on the 1,230-acre Pine and Donkey blazes near Ingot and the 1,200-acre Stein Fire near the Lake Shasta’s Pit River arm.

Here’s how the main Cal Fire complexes blazes break down, according to Wilcockson:

Deerlick Complex:

This series of blazes near the border between Shasta and Trinity counties north of Platina was listed at 16,500 acres with 10 percent containment.

The complex now includes fires that started east of the original blaze.

Such blazes as the Barley Fire and the Lower Grass Valley Fire are now considered part of the complex. The 475-acre Lower Grass Valley Fire is burning along Highway 299 near the Buckhorn Summit. It was 40 percent contained at 7 p.m., and traffic on the highway must follow a pilot car.

Motion Complex:

This complex of fires near Shasta Dam is 16,500 acres and 25 percent contained. The two main fires are the Democrat and Motion fires. Shasta County sheriff’s officials say in the Coram Ranch area that one house, a cabin, a garage and three outbuildings were burned. The fires on Monday forced the closure of the Dry Creek Arm of Lake Shasta because helicopters were filling their buckets there. The Martin Mars super tanker made at least 10 runs Tuesday emptying its 7,000-gallon tank on the fires.

Moon Complex:

This complex of blazes north of Ono and Igo is at 17,500 acres and 15 percent contained. Fires burning near Ducket Peak and Rechtor Peak continue to worry firefighters, who have evacuated more than 100 residents along Rainbow Lake Road.

The Zogg Mine Fire, east of Ducket Peak, was listed Tuesday morning as contained. However, a precautionary evacuation notice is still in effect for the area.

U.S. Forest Service blazes:

The U.S. Forest Service is battling three main complexes in its jurisdiction. Those fires include the Iron, Lime and Alps complexes. Below is a rundown of those blazes, based on Tuesday night’s Forest Service advisory update and information provided by Robin Vora, an information officer for the Shasta Trinity National Forest. Overall, these blazes have burned 58,195 acres and cost $13.7 million to fight.

Iron Complex:

This series of 21 blazes threatening communities along Highway 299 west of Junction City is 19,178 acres and 25 percent contained. Priority fires Tuesday included mopping up the north side of the Eagle Fire near Junction City, closing open fire lines south of the Trinity River, and building lines around the Ziegler Fire to protect the community of Hawkins Bar.

Vora said that the Ziegler Fire was 30 percent contained Tuesday evening.

Lime Complex:

This series of 70 fires burning near Hyampom, Hayfork and Platina had burned 35,766 acres and was 41 percent contained.

On Tuesday, helicopters and tankers hammered the blaze from the air. They battled such blazes as the Telephone, Lime, Iron (in the Yolla Bolly Wilderness), Deerlick, Miners and Rainbow fires. As of Tuesday evening, the Telephone Fire was 90 percent contained.

The Noble Fire, which has burned into Tehama County, continued Tuesday to threaten 175 structures on R-Ranch, Ball Road and other areas. By Tuesday evening, it had burned 12,450 acres and was 81 percent contained.

Alps Complex:

This series of 13 fires in the Trinity Alps Wilderness has burned 3,245 acres and is 2 percent contained. The blazes were slowly increasing in size.

Other fires:

Whiskeytown Complex:

The four wildfires on Shasta Bally continue to burn, consuming 4,900 acres in the park, according to the park’s Web site. The fires were 30 percent contained Tuesday and will likely merge in the coming days. Oak Bottom public launch ramp, the marina, the marina boat rentals and stores remain open, as do Brandy Creek beach, marina, and the Whiskey Creek launch ramps. The Oak Bottom Tent and RV Campground, and Oak Bottom Beach areas remain closed, as firefighters continue to use it as a base camp.

The Siskiyou Complex:

The three main fires here continued to grow Tuesday, reaching 7,988 acres. The complex is 23 percent contained and so far homes and buildings have not been threatened by the fires. Pilot cars continue to escort traffic along one section of Highway 96 along the Klamath River, with about 20 minute delays. The Dillon Creek Campground remains closed but access points to the Klamath River near Dillon Creek have been opened.

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