Sept. 26 North Complex Fire UPDATE: Preparing for the winds

8:10 p.m. UPDATE: The containment lines held again today on the south zone and crews will continue to work tonight and tomorrow to reinforce the lines in advance of predicted winds.

There were no spot fires today and all containment lines held on the north zone. Crews will continue to monitor the area between Grizzly Forebay and Highlands for spot fires, and look to reinforce containment lines where they can.

More international firefighters have also joined the effort with seven hand crews from British Columbia, Canada, expected to start working on the fire tomorrow.

Firefighters are finding members of the public inside the fire closure area. The public is being asked to respect the closures and stay out of the area for public and for firefighter safety.

Original Story: A Red Flag Warning goes into effect tonight for much of Northern California and PG&E is contemplating another public safety power shutoff that will affect residents in 15 counties, including many residents already impacted by the North Complex Fire. For now, it appears that those affected in Plumas County will the the residents in the La Porte area (already under mandatory evacuation). The shutdown is expected to begin between 6 and 8 p.m. tonight, Saturday, and remain in place through 8 p.m. Monday night. To check on your address go to https://pgealerts.alerts.pge.com/addresslookup/

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.

The fire remains 78 percent contained as of this morning, with 304,881 acres burned. The damaged and destroyed structure count has risen again to 2,440 (all but one property in the west zone). The death toll remains at 15.

Crews reported few issues last night on the south zone as all containment lines held. Today, firefighters will continue preparing for the upcoming weather change by reinforcing containment lines, in addition to patrolling for spot fires. Crews successfully eliminated a large unburned “island” of fuel, thereby reducing a source for spot fires which reduces the chance for further spot fires across the fireline.

There were no spot fires on the north zone reported last night, and all containment lines held. Crews will continue to monitor the area between Grizzly Forebay and Highlands for spot fires, and look to reinforce containment lines where they can.

Tonight’s forecasted winds that will test the recently completed containment lines. Islands of unburned fuels continue to catch fire, which can throw embers across containment lines creating spot fires. Crews will continue patrolling these areas for spot fires.

Firefighters are finding members of the public inside the fire closure area. The public is being asked to respect the closures and stay out of the area for public and for firefighter safety.

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/

The weather forecast is calling for a change in wind direction and speed. This change in winds will test the recently completed containment lines as there are islands of unburned fuels continuing to catch fire and throw embers across the lines, creating spot fires. Firefighters will be focused on catching and containing these spot fires before they have the chance to become established.

For that reason, the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement indicating that La Porte and Bucks Lake area residents remain under mandatory evacuation until it is deemed safe to return.

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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