Winds associated with the Red Flag warning will be sustained at 10-15 miles per hour with gusts up to 30 miles per hour on ridge tops. Firefighters will continue to patrol and grid containment lines throughout the evening to check for spot fires. This fire has spread by spotting, and with unseasonably high temperatures, drought and wind continuing to keep the probability of ignition high, firefighters will remain vigilant in securing control lines.
Mop-up continued around the fire line today increasing control lines up to 300 feet in spots within the fire perimeter. Firefighters have mopped up at least 100 feet into the fire area along containment lines and continue working the perimeter to deepen control.
The western flank of the fire continues to creep slowly west. Crews of hot shots are constructing containment line in rugged country. This is accomplished not only be digging and clearing but moving large rocks to stop further progression. Crews will be flown in by helicopter to Chips Lake and construct control lines while mopping-up into the interior. Firefighters will also be able to utilize the Chips Lake water sources to cool localized hot spots. Aerial resources have also assisted with water drops in particularly difficult areas.
A suppression repair group continues work to rehabilitate bulldozer lines and ground that was disturbed during fire suppression operations. This process will include a team of specialists called a Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team addressing soil stabilization issues to reduce post-fire erosion. The US Forest Service will consider mid-term and long-term risks that burned trees pose to public safety. This will be evaluated in conjunction with post-fire salvage options to help supply local jobs to local communities as well as the development of estimates of lands requiring reforestation.
Evacuations and Closures: At 10:00 a.m. tomorrow, August 29, the Plumas County Sheriff's Advisement for Prattville will be lifted. The Mandatory Evacuation Order for Rocky Point Campground, Big Meadows, Almanor Boat Ramp, Almanor Day Use Area, Camp Connery and Canyon Dam will be lifted to Advisory Notification. The Voluntary Evacuation Notification for Rush Creek will be lifted. Seneca remains under Mandatory Evacuation.
The Plumas and Lassen National Forests continue to maintain area Closures within and surrounding the Chips fire area. This includes the following area of the Pacific Crest Trail: The PCT is officially closed from Three Lakes (in the Bucks Lake Wilderness) on the Plumas National Forest northbound to the Cold Spring trailhead at the Humbug Road (Plumas County Road 307) on the Lassen National Forest. Additionally, using the Caribou Road (Forest Route 27N26) is prohibited, as the area is also officially closed.
Hikers and equestrians are advised to avoid travel on the portion of the PCT from Bucks Summit, north to Hwy 36. In order to re-route themselves most expeditiously, at Bucks Summit, northbound trail users may travel on Plumas County Road 414 east to Quincy, pick up Highway 70/89 to Chester and then Highway 36 west to resume the trail. Southbound travelers may reverse the process.
Hikers may also use Plumas County Transit between Quincy and Chester, available weekdays only. The transit schedule can be found at http://www.plumastransit.com/qcy to chester 23.html
No new spot fires were identified which allowed firefighters to continue aggressive mop-up of control lines last night. The fire area remained quiet in the cool evening hours as crews prepared for gusty afternoon and evening winds today.
A Red Flag warning is forecasted for this afternoon with sustained winds of 15-20 miles per hour and 35 mile per hour gusts over the fire area. Firefighters will increase patrolling and gridding of containment lines in the afternoon while continuing to deepen mop-up operations along the fire perimeter.
Because conditions were favorable for low intensity burns, firefighters took the opportunity to continue firing operations off of roads in the interior of the fire area. These actions ensure that fire inside the containment lines will not begin to move quickly and create a high intensity burn when pushed by afternoon winds.
Progress continues on the western flank of the fire with crews of Hotshots slowly and methodically securing control lines around the fire with the assistance of aerial resources. Infra-red mapping is still being utilized to identify areas of heat around the fire perimeter so resources can be sent to contain and mop-up hot spots.
Additionally, a new fire line division has been formed to repair and rehabilitate ground that was disturbed during fire suppression operations. This process will include a team of specialists called a Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team addressing soil stabilization issues to reduce post-fire erosion. The US Forest Service will also evaluate the dead and dying trees in the burn area for potential harvesting to contribute to society’s need for wood products, as well as provide for increased employment opportunities. Decision makers will also identify some portions of the burned areas that will intentionally be left to recover naturally to provide habitat for a variety of wildlife and plant species, and to recognize the role that fire plays in a functioning ecosystem.
Smoke: Smoke will continue to be present in the fire area and surrounding communities. With several large fires in the area contributing to lower air quality, residents can experience eye irritation, respiratory issues and aggravated heart and lung health problems. These can impact children and older adults more severely. Residents are encouraged to get more information on air quality in their area by visiting: http://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.local_state&stateid=5&tab=0
Evacuations and Closures: No changes have occurred to evacuations at this time. The Plumas County Sheriff’s Department continues to enforce Mandatory Evacuations for the communities of Canyon Dam and the Big Meadows area. A Voluntary Evacuation is in place for Rush Creek, and an Advisory is in effect for Prattville residents for the potential threat of the fire to the area.
Additional Fire Information: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3052/ or call (530) 283-3593 and (530) 283-3288 between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.