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Steve Watkins, from night ops, opens the 6 a.m. briefing as the day shift takes over the night shift. Photo by Debra Moore

Minerva Fire – Day 6

7:30 p.m. update: And now for some good news. The Forest Service is reporting that excellent progress was made today as more line was secured on the southwestern perimeter and dozer contingency/containment lines near completion on the east. The daily inversion lifted reasonably early allowing operations to get an earlier start today. After the eastern lines are completed and conditions (including support from appropriate aircraft) are deemed right, firefighters will start conducting larger scale burnout operations to secure the eastern lines. While the operations will produce smoke, the eventual results could protect East Quincy and La Porte Road from the fire. 

Tomorrow morning’s 6 a.m. briefing at the fairgrounds’ fire camp will be the last in that location. The camp is moving to a vacant field a couple of miles away to make room for the Plumas-Sierra County Fair that gets underway next Wednesday. This Friday, exhibits, fair entries and campers begin arriving so the move was necessary to free up the fairgrounds.

3:30 p.m. update: The airport in Quincy is now closed to general aviation and isn’t expected to reopen until midnight on Saturday. The Forest Service is relying on helicopters to fight the fire from the air rather than on aircraft, which have been deployed to other fires. According to Dony Sawchuk, Plumas County’s facilities director and airport manager,  the Forest Service said that simply dropping water alone on the fire wasn’t as effective as mixing water with retardants so company was brought in that specializes in that product. To keep the operations away from structures, they determined that the airport’s runway and its proximity to the fire was the best location to stage their operations. The company is setting up two 5,000 gallon mixing trucks that will feed the two 5,000 gallon supply tanks for the four heavy-lifting helicopters dropping the retardant-water mixture on the flames.

According to the Forest Service, six very small fires have resulted from last night’s lightning strikes – all within the central Plumas National Forest including southwest of Kettle Rock, northwest of Mt. Ingalls, three along Grizzly Ridge and another south of Sloat. They range in size from one-tenth to two acres.

11:21 a.m. update: The Forest Service is reporting that lookouts are beginning to see small fires, typically one tree, as a result of last night’s lightning strikes. The sightings have primarily been above the north arm of Indian Valley and Genesee Valley. As reported earlier, winds during the thunderstorm caused the fire to push down the Mill Creek drainage, which made flames very visible in East Quincy, but then a wind shift pushed the fire back up the hill and into itself.

Feather Publishing currently has a reporter out on the fire and will post an update and photos from her trip. Another reporter has been interviewing firefighters and local businesses to capture a look at “a day in the life of a firefighter,” which will be featured in next week’s newspaper.

7:15 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 3: The Minerva Fire, which broke out at approximately 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 29, now stands at 1,825 acres and is 33 percent contained. During this morning’s 6 a.m. briefing, Forest Service officials focused on firefighter safety, particularly in light of last evening’s thunder storms. The storms forced the air attack to end earlier than planned and threatened firefighters on the ground. Some areas of the fire received good precipitation, while others did not. It was reported that the Middle Branch of Mill Creek “got aggressive” and moved around a couple hundred acres. More thunderstorms are predicted for this afternoon.

Fire crews on the ground will continue to work on building direct and indirect lines, and prepare for future burnout. Once the inversion layer lifts this morning, the air attack will continue with helicopters and super scoopers.

Heat will continue to be an issue today and yesterday one firefighter was treated for dehydration. Crews were reminded to remain hydrated and to look out for one another.

The briefing included a moment of silence for a firefighter who was killed by a falling tree fighting a fire in Montana yesterday.

17 thoughts on “Minerva Fire – Day 6

  • Thank you for the updates. Keep em coming!

  • May God Bless the Fire Fighters.

    • Thank you

  • I have lived in Quincy for 38 years, this is the closest any fire has been to me and my family. I pray for All of us. Most of all for the Brave men and women who are Fighting this fire. MAY GOD HOLD YOU SAFE IN THE PALMS OF HIS HANDS. <3

  • Thank you for the update and thank you 1,000 times over to all the fire fighters that put their lives on the line to protect our homes and forests.

  • We, in our community, are indebted to all of the Fire Service personnel that have kept us safe and out of harms way. ‘Thank You’ doesn’t say it all but we are all showing our appreciation in our own way. Stay safe everyone.
    This disaster has certainly brought our community together; which I guess is the one good thing about it! May we stay that way………

  • Except that it was called in at 6:18 am Saturday morning. My fiancé was watering the garden when he saw the smoke and called dispatch and was transferred to USFS.

    • Who cares what time it was called in? It’s here, its burning. Be thankful for the firefighters who are out there everyday in this heat trying to save Quincy.

  • Thank you firefighter for saving Quincy! This is the first time I have seen fire come this close. I used to live in Quincy half of my life….thank you again!

  • Thank you to all the brave fire fighters “Our Heroes”. Please know how much it means to our community to look out windows and doors and seeing the fire trucks patrolling our neighborhoods to ensure that we all remain safe. A big thank you too to everyone involved with the coordination of services for our beautiful county and to all individuals for the updates. May the Good Lord bless and keep everyone safe.

  • Thank- you Firefighters for working day and night to save our precious Quincy and all surrounding areas , especially the people and their beloved homes ! Thank- you a million times over !

  • As a former usf firefighter I know how hard it is to fight this fire. God bless you and keep up the good work.

  • Today’s 11:21am update stated that “Feather Publishing currently has a reporter out on the fire and will post an update and photos from her trip.”

    Where do we find these updates and photos?

    • The reporter is in the process of selecting some photos and writing a story. We will publish a couple of those photos on this site tomorrow with the complete story to be published in next week’s newspaper.


  • Well I can’t swear to it but with the lack of information on inciweb and from personal observation…Was up at Buck Lake today, (clear air by the way), and looking back it sure looked like the fire that ran up Mill Crk. last evening made it to Claremont and is backing down the south side. Now I could be mistaken and perhaps it is smokes from the initial run from Deans Valley, but it was the tallest peak out there and looked fairly active. Have not heard a word otherwise. At the moment Quincy and East Quincy are really smoked out from the cell that moved to the south and was blowing to the north. Was really windy downtown an hour ago. Temps still in the 80’s at the moment with RH in the mid 30’s. Tonights IR flight should clear things up. From Yuba Net: Most of the Dozer lines seem to be completed in advance of the fire and ready for firing operations.

  • Not meaning to freak people out any more than they currently are with my last comment, here is a reply to the comment on Wildlandfire.com:

    “That heat and smoke on the back side of Claremont was a small firing operation cleaning up the line. There is a road in that area on the backside of the towers. The fire is looking really good. “

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