Chips Fire 8/19/2012 update

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

Mandatory Evacuation Alert

As of 7:00 p.m. tonight, the Plumas County Sheriff's Office will initiate a Mandatory Evacuation of the communities of Canyon Dam and Big Meadows. Additionally, the Plumas County Sheriff's Office will escalate to a Voluntary Evacuation for the communities of Almanor and Prattville. West Almanor remains under Advisement.

Highway 89 will be closed with a hard closure from Butt Lake Road to the Hwy 89 / Old Haun Road intersection north of Greenville. Highway 147 from Canyon Dam to County Road A13 will be closed to through traffic. It will be open to residents only. Also, Old Haun Road will be closed to all traffic.

This change in evacuation status is due to a planned change in strategy for fighting the Chips Fire. The management team has planned an offensive approach to stopping the fire through implementing a series of burn out operations along pre-planned and prepared dozer lines. This will allow firefighters to 'fight fire with fire', reducing fuels between the main body of fire and the communities and infrastructure being protected. In order to provide for both firefighter and public safety during these activities, fire managers ask residents to please comply with the Sheriff's Department orders to evacuate. The Evacuation Center will be located at the Memorial Hall Center in Chester on Gay Street

Fire activity increased today as expected when the fire moved up the Clear Creek drainage, approximately one quarter mile from Ohio Valley. Spotting occurred on the east side of the north fork of the Feather River near the northeast corner of the fire. Crews on the south end of the fire continued working to construct line near Red Hill. Completion of fireline in this area is expected by the end of the day tomorrow. Crews patrolled the southeast side of the fire near Caribou and held, improved and mopped up line on the north side of the fire.

Tonight's Actions: In order to take advantage of lower temperatures and higher humidities during the night-time, burnout operations will be conducted southwest of Canyon Dam tonight. Firing crews will begin burnout operations at approximately 7:30 p.m. along pre-planned and prepared dozer lines, slowly putting fire on the ground.

Community Meetings: Two community meetings will be held tomorrow, August 20, 2012. The first meeting will be held at Lake Almanor West Community Park at 10:30 a.m., 177 Lake Almanor West Drive, Lake Almanor West, CA 96020. The second meeting will be held at the Hamilton Branch Fire Station at 12:30 p.m., 791 Big Springs Road Hamilton Branch, CA 96137.

Additional Fire Information: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3052/ or call (530) 283-3593 and (530) 283-3288 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.

11:50 a.m. update

Despite smokey conditions and powerlines in the area, a helicopter crew was able to successfully hoist a firefighter off the fire in the Red Hill area. The firefighter reportedly has a broken leg and is being transported by the helicopter to Enloe Hospital in Chico.

11:00 a.m. update
The Chips Fire is 44,793 acres and 38% contained.

Yesterday, the fire remained active until late evening. Fire spotted across the North Fork of the Feather River at the confluence with Ohio Creek at approximately 2130.
>Overnight, crews continued to attempt direct line construction around the fire's edge in this area, however due to difficult terrain, crews pulled back from the head of the fire. Fire managers will continue to look at additional options and work on constructing line to protect the community of Seneca. The northern perimeter of the fire remains secure, and crews are continuing to construct and secure lines along the western perimeter.

Today's Actions: Fire managers will assess the current fire situation, and develop options for containment of the eastern fire perimeter, including possible burnout operations southwest of Canyon Dam. Further to the south, crews plan to conduct burnout operations today along the Sunnyside Mine Road to secure fuels in between the road and the fire. The fireline along the Caribou road continues to remain secure.

A Wildland Fire Use Module will be placed on the southwest side of the fire today. Crews will continue patrolling the north-west side 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.

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: http://www.countyofplumas.com/CivicAlerts.aspx AID=529

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