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Chips Fire 8/18/2012 update

Feather Publishing
8/18/2012
8:00 p.m. update
Chips Fire is now 44,793 acres and 38% contained.

Fire Status: Wind increased fire activity, causing multiple spot fires in the Clear Creek drainage to the east of and parallel to Butt Valley Reservoir this afternoon. The fire made a run to the east, burning 450 acres. Firefighters continued to build fireline along the east flank of the fire with air support from one air tanker and four helicopters. On the west perimeter, crews picked up three spot fires, while lines were reinforced and mop-up continued in other sectors of the fire.

PG&E representatives continue to work closely with the fire management team, and are prepared to de-energize transmission lines as needed for firefighting efforts.

Tonight's Actions: Fire activity moderated early this evening. This will enable firefighters to continue to construct line on the east side of the fire to keep it from moving northeast. Patrol will continue along completed firelines for spot fires.

Public Safety: Motorists are encouraged to use caution on roads within the vicinity of the fire, particularly on Highway 70 and Highway 89 due to increased fire traffic. Travelers should check highway conditions regularly at 800-427-ROAD or http://www.dot.ca.gov/.

Smoke may continue to pose health concerns for the public. Residents are encouraged to visit the "Protect Yourself from Smoke" website for smoke protection information at http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Wildfires/. Local air quality conditions and forecasts are available at http://airnow.gov/index.cfm action=airnow.main.

Ready, Set, Go website provides tips to prepare for wildfire and what to do in the event of an evacuation. Advance preparations on your part will enable firefighters and Sheriff's Deputies to assure your safety and enable them to conduct a safe and efficient evacuation. Visit Ready, Set, Go program and website at http://www.inciweb.org/incident/article/3052/15480/.

Evacuations: For Plumas County evacuation information go to this link : http://www.countyofplumas.com/CivicAlerts.aspx AID=529

5:00 p.m. update

This afternoon the Chips fire burned approximately 450 acres in the Clear Creek drainage to the east of the Butt Valley Reservoir. The fire produced a large column of smoke. The fire made a slow to moderate run to the northeast. Firefighters are continuing to build dozer line and handline along the east flank of the fire. Four helicopters and one air tanker provided air support this afternoon. More information will be provided in the evening update.


9:30 a.m. update

The Chips Fire is now 44,343 acres and 34% contained.

Yesterday, firefighters increased containment lines from 20% to 34%. Favorable weather conditions enabled firefighters to make good progress overnight .

In the Clear Creek drainage just east of Butt Lake dam, crews and dozers continue building new containment line on the east flank of the fire. Crews built line and installed water carrying hoses around three spot fires. The firefighting goal is to keep the fire away from Seneca, Canyon Dam, and the Big Meadows subdivision.

Overnight , crews conducted mop-up operations on the north perimeter from Humbug Road to the west shore of Butt Lake Reservoir.

On the west side of the fire, crews will continue to build fireline next to the fire's edge, working from north to south.

A public meeting was held last night in West Lake Almanor for residents of West Lake Almanor, Canyon Dam, Platteville and Big Meadows. A meeting is scheduled for tonight for East Lake Almanor and Peninsula at the Hamilton Fire Station. PG&E crews continue to restore damaged power poles feeding the Red Hill communication site. The communication site is currently operating off of emergency power. A voluntary evacuation for Rush Creek, Canyon Dam, Big Meadow, and Rocky Point remains in effect. A Sheriff's advisory is in effect for West Almanor, Almanor, and Prattville.

The 940 structures that are considered threatened are in the following communities: Lake Almanor West, Almanor, Prattville, the Big Meadows subdivision, Canyon Dam, Belden, Rush Creek, and Seneca, and structures along Caribou Road. Residents in these areas will continue to see CalFire and Office of Emergency Services engines from various city fire departments moving through neighborhoods as they plan structure protection tactics. Bulldozers and other heavy equipment will continue building and improving contingency lines running southeast from Seneca Road.

PG&E representatives are working closely with the fire management team, and are prepared to de-energize transmission lines as needed for firefighting efforts.

Fire Behavior and Smoke:

Isolated showers will continue through mid-morning. A drier air mass will settle over the fire during the day, ending the chance for showers. Favorable conditions are expected for continued use of aircraft today.

Public Safety:

Motorists are encouraged to use caution on roads within the vicinity of the fire, particularly on Highway 70 and Highway 89 due to increased fire traffic. Travelers should check highway conditions regularly at 800-427-ROAD or http://www.dot.ca.gov/.

Smoke will continue to pose health concerns for the public. Residents are encouraged to visit the "Protect Yourself from Smoke" website for smoke protection information at http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Wildfires/. Local air quality conditions and forecasts are available at http://airnow.gov/index.cfm action=airnow.main.

For tips on how to prepare for a potential evacuation and what to do if you are evacuated, residents in and near evacuation areas are encouraged to visit the "Ready, Set, Go" website at http://www.inciweb.org/incident/article/3052/15480/.

Power Outages:

To report and get updateson power outages please call PG&E's 24-hour emergency and customer service line: 1-800-743-5002.

Evacuations and Closures:

Mandatory Evacuations - The community of Seneca remains under a mandatory evacuation. The Caribou Road from the junction of Highway 70 to Butt Lake Dam as well the Butt Lake Dam, Ohio Valley Road, Butt Lake Road, Humbug/Humboldt and all additional secondary roads West of Highway 89 between Canyon Dam and the Humbug/Humboldt Road are closed to all emergency traffic. Additional evacuations may be necessary depending on fire activity.

To register a cell phone with the Plumas County Emergency Notification System visit http://countyofplumas.com/index.aspx nid=2163.

Sheriff's Voluntary Evacuations are now in place for Rush Creek, Canyon Dam, and Big Meadows. The Sheriff's Advisement for other communities along Highway 89 including Prattville, Almanor, and West Almanor and East Shore Residence (Hwy 147) remains in effect. Residents between Tobin and Twain on Highway 70 are under a Sheriff's Advisement to develop a family evacuation plan. This area includes Belden, Maggie's Trailer Park, and Little Haven. Planning to provide shelter arrangements for local residents will be based on the locations and extent of any new mandatory evacuations issued by the Sheriff's Office.

Butt Valley Reservoir recreation facilities administered by PG&E (Ponderosa Flat Campground, Cool Springs Campground, Ray Adams Day Use Area and Boat Launch, as well as Yellow Creek Campground) are closed due to the fire. Gansner Bar, North Fork, and Queen Lily USFS campgrounds remain closed. The Little Grizzly dispersed camping area and High Lakes OHV area, are also closed.

Communities west of the fire area including Paradise, Jarbo Gap, and Concow are not threatened at this time.

In the interest of firefighter and public safety, the Plumas and Lassen National Forests have expanded the original closure areas due to the fire's growth. The closures will remain in place until the area is safe for the public to enter. Please see the Forest Orders and closure maps on InciWeb (address above). Pacific Crest Trail hikers may bypass the affected area by hiking Highway 70/89 or catching a bus with Plumas Transit to Chester, CA (weekdays only).

7:00 a.m. update
The Chips Fire is now 44,343 acres. Firefighters made very good progress yesterday and the fire is now 34% contained. There have been widespread light rain showers throughout Plumas County since the early morning hours. At least some of the fire area received some rain and more is possible this morning. Hopefully this will provide a significant advantaage to firefighters today,
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