Sept. 6: UPDATE: The North Complex – concern about forecast

8 p.m. UPDATE: The perimeter  of the fire from Red Bridge to the Highway 70 corridor to Claremont is holding well with no issues. At the northwest portion of the Bear Fire, conditions have permitted firefighters to try to attack the fire directly rather than using strategic firing. Due to the Red Flag warning that goes into effect tomorrow night, firing options may be suspended until Thursday. Plumas County residents are under a power safety shutoff warning that could go into effect tomorrow night and last until sometime on Wednesday. The fire is holding well along the Middle Fork of the Feather River. Crews continue to work the south side of the fire where the Claremont and Bear have merged.

A structure protection plan remains in place for Bucks Lake, Haskins and the Highlands.

Helicopters were able to work the fire today — making water drops, flying reconnaissance and ferrying crews and supplies. There are 10 helicopters assigned to the fire, divided between Gansner in Quincy, Nervino in Beckwourth and Bucks Lake.

10:15 a.m.UPDATE: The fire is 39,779 acres with 43 percent containment and 1,386 personnel assigned to the North Complex.

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Night crews worked on spot fires last night on the north side of the fire between Bottle Springs and Lookout Rocks, after yesterday’s warm temperatures and afternoon sunshine increased fire activity. Crews will continue to address the spots today. The two largest spots were 10 acres and 40 acres, but crews worked quickly to address them. The weather today is forecast to be similar to yesterday, with the potential for increased fire activity this afternoon.

Additional crews will be on the south side of the fire today where it is backing down toward the Middle Fork of the Feather River. Fire has not crossed the river, but three crews are in place to monitor movement and respond where needed. During this morning’s briefing, it was mentioned that although the fire isn’t expected to cross the Middle Fork today, modeling suggests that it could in the future. There is concern about a Red Flag Warning with northeast winds forecast for Monday night into Tuesday.

Portions of Bucks Lake remain under advisory. The Forest Service will maintain contact the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office and the situation will be evaluated depending on the fire’s behavior.

Original story: Bucks Lake residents lined the roadway last night to thank firefighters as they came off the day shift. The crews providing structure protection and fighting the fire directly have been a welcome sight for the community that remains under an evacuation advisory.

Bucks Lake community members turn out to say thank you to firefighters on this Labor Day weekend. Photo courtesy of Jeff Bryan

During last night’s briefing, incident command personnel expressed optimism that Bucks Lake and the surrounding areas of Haskins Valley, Tollgate and Meadow Valley are safe as containment lines grow, but structure protection will remain in place in the event the fire were to spot dramatically.

The communities of Greenhorn, Spring Garden, Cromberg, Sloat and the Highway 70 corridor are likewise considered safe and all advisories have been removed for those residents.

The Bucks Lake area is part of the Bear Fire, while the latter communities are part of the Claremont, but as of yesterday when the two fires merged, there will no longer be separate acreage or briefing numbers; they will be treated as one entity.

The North Complex is 37,261 acres and 42 percent contained. There are 1,260 personnel working the complex, including 60 Canadian firefighters who have been mopping up Indian Valley’s Copper and Iron fires, but are moving today to work the south edge of the fire where the Bear and Claremont sides will meet; that has already happened to the north.

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Yesterday’s winds helped clear the air for a time in the Quincy area, but prevented crews from completing all of the tactical firing that they had hoped to accomplish. The firing that was performed spewed more smoke into the area. During the briefing, area residents were told that they would see smoke, but not to be alarmed. There is fire burning within the containment lines which produces smoke, and firing operations that will ultimately contain the fire, also produce smoke.

There’s some concern that the fire could spread beyond the southern line of the fire on the western side, so dozers are building an additional line to “box” in any spread. There is also some concern that the fire could spot to the north, but crews will be available should that occur.

For a more in-depth description on tactical operations of the North Complex Fire, please watch the latest operational video updates at: www.facebook.com/USFSPlumas

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. But as of 2 p.m. Aug. 5, all evacuation advisories have been lifted. Only one outbuilding has been lost during the fire.

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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 advisory remains in effect for portions of Bucks Lake and structure protection remains in the area.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.