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Sept. 7: The North Complex – all about the weather

7 p.m. UPDATE: Crews are already beginning to see increased winds this evening, but in preparation for the Red Flag warning have been working on containment, treating hotspots and mopping up. Two areas of concern continue to be below Lookout Rocks and the south edge of the fire that hasn’t burned to to the Middle Fork. Helicopters dropped retardant and water on the hot spots today and set the night crew up for its work. The Middle Fork is expected to see 45 mph winds tomorrow.

11 a.m. UPDATE: The acreage has been revised to 40,372 and the fire is 47 percent contained. Crews on the ground and using infrared drone cameras continue to monitor the south side of the fire where it is slowly backing down through the fire scar from the 1999 Pigeon Fire. Initial attack crews are staged to respond to any new fires in the area while also monitoring the recently contained Iron and Copper Fires. The entire east side of the fire near Highway 70 and Quincy remains securely in its current footprint. Smoke will continue to be visible as fuels burn in the interior of the fire.

Original Story Today through Wednesday, it’s going to be all about the weather on the North Complex Fire as a Red Flag Warning is in effect tonight through Wednesday morning for critical fire weather. Firefighters are watching the weather as they plan their attack – foregoing strategic firing operations that could blow in the projected in the northeast winds. It’s unfortunate timing, because firefighters have been making good progress on the fire.

The North Complex is now 39,779 acres and is 45 percent contained, with 1,176 personnel assigned to it.

Yesterday was a successful day fighting the North Complex Fire, with fire behavior moderated by the efforts of fire crews plus smoke hanging over the area. Crews patrolled and mopped up the east side of the fire. Crews on the north side had a productive day with dozers, handline, and hose lays placed around yesterday’s spot fires. Line was constructed in the Lookout Rock area to prepare for future firing if weather conditions allow.

The south edge of the fire is backing slowly toward the Middle Fork of the Feather River but has not yet reached the river. Crews are positioned to respond if the fire advances. Contingency lines using existing roads and trails south of the fire are being constructed at a rate of approximately 2 miles per day.

Helicopters were able to work the fire yesterday — 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.

Evacuation advisories remain in effect for the Bucks Lake area and Quincy LaPorte Road from Highway 70 south to Thompson Creek. Quincy LaPorte Road is open to residents only. The unpaved portion of Peppard Flat Road is closed.

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

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.

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.

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.

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