Sept. 19 North Complex: Have we turned a corner?

6:45 p.m. UPDATE: Another good day for firefighters on the fire. Today’s work was accomplished as planned, and it’s expected containment numbers will increase in the morning. Once firing operations are complete in the North Zone, it’s estimated that Bucks Lake and Meadow Valley residents will be allowed to return home in couple of days, according to tonight’s evening update.

(Separately, there was a small fire in Genesee today, but crews and an air attack quickly held it to a half acre and there is hose lay around it.)

Original story: This morning’s map shows more black than red — in layman’s terms that’s a good thing. The North Complex Fire is now 58 percent contained at 289,951 acres.

Despite Red Flag Warnings and gusty winds yesterday, that sent smoke spewing from the fire’s interior, good progress was made and continued over night. Containment has been strengthened to protect the communities of La Porte and Little Grass Valley, as well as Bucks Lake, Haskins, Tollgate and Meadow Valley. (All of those communities remain under a mandatory evacuation notice at this time.)


In the South Zone, mop-up and construction of dozer line from Sly Creek Reservoir up to Onion Valley will continue today. An incoming west-southwest wind pattern will test containment lines in east-west oriented drainages along the entire east flank of the fire.

Handline built along Fingerboard Ridge west of LaPorte Road is now ready for tactical firing when weather conditions are favorable. An additional hot shot crew is arriving tomorrow to assist with firing operations.
The eastern portion — from Lee Summit around East Quincy to Claremont —  continues to hold within containment lines.
Today on the North Zone, priorities will be tying in containment lines between Willow Creek and Red Mountain, and from Red Mountain west across Granite Basin to Four Trees, working to defend nearby communities. Firing operations will start once these indirect containment lines are built to box in the fire’s edge.
From Four Trees down to Big Bend, crews also made great progress in mop up efforts. Today they plan to continue securing any embers that spot over the north side of Oro-Quincy Road.
Unfortunately on the West Zone, there has been a significant increase in fire activity in the area near the Butte-Yuba County line. The death toll remains at 15 and the count for damaged or destroyed structures has reached 1,454. Please see CAL FIRE Team 4 updates for more up to date information at:

The Plumas National Forest remains temporarily closed, but the situation is continually being assessed.

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

Air quality has improved, but changes with the wind and location. Currently the wind is unhealthy for sensitive groups.


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. An evacuation order remains in effect for all of those areas and structure protection remains in the area.

For full evacuation lists go to:

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.