Imagine driving from Quincy to 14 miles past Fresno and along the way there was hose by the side of the road. That’s the equivalent of the amount of hose that is now being retrieved, rewound and stored by firefighters and members of the California Conservation Corps. Systems Operations Chief Jake Cagle used that analogy during a recent briefing, which will now be held every other night, instead of daily.
Hoses are being wound up; briefings fewer and farther between — all signs that the fire, which is still 94 percent contained as of this morning — is wrapping up.
Hopefully that will remain the case as the area enters a Fire Weather Watch tomorrow through Friday. While this weather pattern is expected pack less strength than the one experienced in early September, crews are developing contingencies to ensure containment continues to grow.
Crews continue to mop up and monitor the penstocks at Bucks Creek Powerhouse and the fire line along Highway 70, including McGee Ridge area. Two hot spots were identified by air operations yesterday and extinguished using helicopters assigned to the incident. Fire behavior remains largely unchanged and the spot fires that have materialized are not uncommon for this stage of a fire fight.
Air Quality should be good to moderate through the middle of the week and winds will be mild and terrain driven until the Wednesday’s predicted winds.
Forest closures remain in effect and hazardous conditions still exist. The public is asked to stay out of forest closure areas, as interference with fire suppression could delay or impede firefighting efforts.
Law enforcement will be patrolling the area. Returning residents are asked to use caution as fire personnel are still working in the area. Drive carefully and watch for fire equipment. Watch your speed and also be aware of logging trucks around La Porte Road.
Operational briefing’s will be reduced to every other day and the video posted to the Plumas National Forest Facebook Page, www.facebook.com/USFSPlumas Team Planning meetings (daily at 6 p.m.) and will be available to watch via Zoom (https://usfs.zoomgov.com/j/1602646317).
Suppression repair is a major focus now, including erosion control and recovery of water hoses, pumps and water storage containers. Erosion control involves surface stabilization of exposed soils and berm repair. Crews knock down berms created by bulldozers during fire suppression, smoothing them out and then add drainage to direct water runoff during rain events. During fire suppression, crews put in 311 miles of dozer line and 50 miles of hand line.
The North Complex began with the Claremont, Bear and Sheep fires. The latter broke out on the Plumas National Forest, but quickly pushed into Lassen County forcing evacuations around Susanville and destroying several homes. (It was broken off from the North Complex and handled separately).
The Claremont Fire broke out Aug. 17 as the result of a lightning strike. It forced evacuations and threatened the communities of East Quincy, La Porte Road, the Highway 70 corridor, Spring Garden, Greenhorn, Cromberg and Sloat during the past weeks. Only one outbuilding has been lost during the fire.
The Bear Fire also broke out Aug. 17 following a lightning strike. Initially it was left to burn because it wasn’t immediately a threat to people or property; it was in steep, rugged terrain; and resources were scarce due to the fires burning across the state. So though it held at 50 acres for a while, it grew to over 12,000 acres and threatened the communities of Bucks Lake, Haskins Valley, Tollgate and Meadow Valley. For full evacuation lists go to:
- Butte County Sheriff’s Office: https://www.facebook.com/bcsonews
- Plumas County Sheriff’s Office: https://www.facebook.com/plumascountysheriff
- Yuba County Sheriff’s Office: https://www.facebook.com/yubacountysheriff
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.