Oct. 4 North Complex Fire: Focus squarely on the Canyon

The focus continues to be on the Feather River Canyon Highway 70 corridor as the North Complex Fire poses a threat to critical infrastructure located there including PG&E transmission lines.

Last evening a familiar face returned to delivering the daily briefings — Jake Cagle. He along with the rest of the Type 1 Incident Team (California Interagency Incident Management Team 4) have returned, largely due to the Canyon threat.

The fire is at 317,479 acres and is 83 percent contained. Bucks Lake area and some Canyon residents are under mandatory evacuations (though Bucks residents will be allowed to enter the area from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. once again today to retrieve belongings and winterize cabins), and a portion of Highway 70 remains closed. (For full descriptions of the latest closure information see the Sheriff’s order below; it has remained in effect since Tuesday.)

Overnight crews conducted firing operations to reinforce retardant lines near the penstocks within the Highway 70 corridor. The fire continues to gradually back and flank to the northeast but has not spotted across the highway.


Other night shift resources patrolled the remainder of the fire’s containment lines, which continued to hold.

Today, firefighters will again be focused on constructing and reinforcing containment lines both to the north and south of the fire within the highway corridor. They will be supported by multiple heavy helicopters and single engine air tankers as soon as flying conditions allow.

Meteorologists are predicting a change in weather with cooler weather arriving midweek and the potential for rain this weekend.

To date, the cost of the firefight is pegged at $76 million — and that’s just for the portion that was formerly the Claremont and the Bear, now the the south and north zones — it doesn’t include the west zone near Oroville.

Air quality in the Quincy area is in the unhealthy range this morning, with surrounding areas also impacted. That trend is expected to continue until the weather shifts.


The fire which began Aug. 17, is now ranked fifth in California as being the the deadliest fire in modern history; fifth for being the largest fire, and sixth for the being the most destructive.

In the west zone, please see CAL FIRE Team 4 updates for more up to date information at: www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/2020/8/18/north-complex-fire/

Video operational updates and live broadcasts for all portions of the fire can be viewed on Plumas National Forest’s Facebook page. 

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:

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.