9 p.m. UPDATE: The Plumas County Sheriff’s Office has issued a mandatory evacuation order for a portion of the Feather River Canyon from the Plumas/Butte County Line east to Tobin due to the fire. This includes Tobin and Storrie. Use Highway 70. Those in need of assistance may proceed to Quincy High School where an evacuation assembly point has been established.
As of late this afternoon a spot fire is burning in French Hotel Creek, approximately two miles south of Grizzly Forebay, that is well established and actively burning. Resources including dozers, engines and handcrews will look at utilizing existing dozer lines from previous fires and building new fire lines in an effort to contain this spot fire. Other crews will focus on containing any other spot fires throughout tonight’s shift as winds are expected to be sustained at 15-25 mph with gusts of 40+ mph.
7 p.m. UPDATE: As expected, fire activity picked up today, making smoke from the North Complex very visible in Butte County.
Original story: The next 36 hours will be a critical test of the containment lines established on the North Complex Fire as a Red Flag Warning remains in place through Monday night at 9 p.m. and a high wind advisory is in effect until 2 p.m. Monday.
But so far, so good. The Forest Service is reporting that containment lines held throughout the fire overnight despite strong winds that reached 40 to 50 mph at the higher elevations. Crews will remain on alert today, prepared to deploy resources to any spot fires that could emerge.
The two areas that continue to prove the most problematic are the uncontained lines near Grizzly Forebay and from Onion Valley to Turn Table — the areas that continue to prevent residents from the Bucks Lake and La Porte areas from returning home. They remain under mandatory evacuation. Those areas are also part of PG&E’s public safety power shutoff, as well as a portion of the Feather River Canyon. To check on your address go to https://pgealerts.alerts.pge.com/addresslookup/
The fire remains 78 percent contained as of this morning, with 305,188 acres burned. The damaged and destroyed structure count has risen again to 2,471 (all but one property in the west zone). The death toll remains at 15.
More international firefighters have arrived, including seven hand crews from British Columbia, Canada.
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:
- 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.