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A Canadian crew from British Columbia takes a break near Tobin while fighting the North Complex Fire. They are the equivalent of the "Hot Shots" crews here. Photo by Jeff Wilson

Oct. 7 North Complex Fire: Before the rain, come the winds

Ever wonder what the penstocks look like? Photo courtesy of USFS

Rain is on the horizon, but first come the winds, which are expected to test containment lines in the Highway 70 corridor. Thus far the fire remains east of the highway. Firefighters fear that branches and logs could roll and cause fire to cross into the penstock area. Crews will focus on contingency lines in the area around Bald Eagle Mountain and Mill Creek off of Bucks Lake.

PG&E has shut off power to the Bucks Lake and Haskins areas, due to aircraft working adjacent to distribution lines. The power shutoff is expected to last through tonight. However, this timeframe is subject to change. Those areas remain under a mandatory evacuation as pronounced by the Plumas County Sheriff.

Butte County Sheriff’s Office has lifted all evacuation orders, warnings and road closures though Highway 70 north of Pulga is under traffic control and only using one lane.

Highway 70 is currently open between Jarbo Gap and Greenville Wye. The current traffic control is from the North Fork Feather River Bridge to east of Tobin (approximately 4 miles).

A virtual community meeting will be held tonight, Wednesday, at 5 p.m. and will be streamed live to the Plumas National Forest Facebook page. www.facebook.com/USFSPlumas

Containment on the North Complex Fire is inching upward — as of this morning it’s 87 percent contained (up 1 percent from yesterday) and is at 318,928 acres.

Containment lines are holding around the vast perimeter of the fire; it is the Feather River Canyon and its critical infrastructure that remains the focus.

Some Canyon residents remain under mandatory evacuation orders as do Bucks Lake residents. (For full list of closure information see Sheriff’s order below.)

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.



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