8:30 p.m. The Forest Service provided these latest updates: There are 1,026 personnel on the Minerva Fire, which is now at 1,531 acres and 30 percent contained. Firefighters from across the north state will continue to patrol the neighborhoods and be ready to provide structure protection if necessary. A number of local residents and businesses have begun efforts to thank the firefighters. In tomorrow’s newspaper, we have included a special insert that includes fire photos as well as a thank you poster to display in your window.
3:50 p.m. Quincy residents might notice that the wind has picked up and that there has been some very light precipitation. A Forest Service spokesman advises that the wind is not cause for alarm. An update on the firefighters’ efforts will be made available following tonight’s 6 p.m. briefing. We will publish that information as it becomes available, as well as any other news on the fire.
12:30 p.m. Sheriff Greg Hagwood announced that an evacuation center has been set up (but is not open) at the Mormon Church on Bellamy Lane in Quincy as a precaution. He has no plans to call for any evacuations today. Last evening as the fire appeared to threaten East Quincy, the sheriff established the evacuation center and his deputies, as well as CHP officers, canvassed portions of the neighborhood south of Center Street to see which residents might require assistance should a voluntary evacuation be called. “Things are looking OK for now,” Hagwood said at noon today. “East Quincy continues to be our concern, but the fire is still a distance away.” If the fire behavior continues as currently predicted, fire will continue east and not north, where it would be more of a threat to East Quincy.
According to the Forest Service, the fire is now burning in both the West and Middle Branch of Mill Creek. Because of the steep, difficult terrain and the heavy brush in the Mill Creek drainages, firefighters are using indirect attack as well as direct attack to manage the fire. This strategy allows firefighters to construct fireline where terrain, access, and fuels are more favorable. Today, fire crews will continue constructing and strengthening existing firelines to the east.
Today is predicted to be the hottest day of the week, with high temperatures in the upper 90s and relative humidity in the 12-18% range. As seen earlier in the week, fire behavior will be more active in the afternoon as temperatures increase, and smoke will be more prevalent. An air quality advisory has been issued from the Plumas County Public Health Agency.
Structure protection engines will continue to be staged throughout town, particularly focused in East Quincy today. Helicopters and fixed wing aircraft will continue to assist throughout the day as they are available.
9:50 a.m. In checking the Forest Service’s updated information posted on inciweb, we noted that there were 837 personnel assigned to the fire, down from the 1,820 the site was reporting yesterday. After checking with the Forest Service, we were told that the 1,820 was a typo. There has been no loss in personnel.
8:40 a.m., Sheriff Greg Hagwood reports that his office identified the operator of the drone (a local contractor) that caused aircraft to be grounded yesterday. Hagwood said the individual was not arrested and the Forest Service would follow up on the situation.
8:15 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 1: According to the most recent Forest Service information, the Minerva Fire remains at 1350 acres and 20% contained this am. The daily inversion is again holding a lot of smoke close to the ground, but that will change after 10 a.m.when the inversion begins to lift. Infrared flight data yields a far more accurate perimeter of the fire, capturing the push the fire made into the middle fork of the Mill Creek drainage. In addition to fighting the fire directly where it is safe to do so, firefighters have been working on contingency lines (working indirectly or away from the fire), that can come into play if working directly is not effective. East Quincy residents heard the noise of those bulldozers last night. Sound really carries. East Quincy and Thompson Valley residents will see more smoke definition near them. You may also want to check inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5434/ .