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The Plumas big three: the Sheep, Claremont and Bear fires

There are numerous fires burning throughout Plumas County, but except for the big three — Sheep, Claremont and Bear — they are all reported at under 7 acres and are staffed. The Copper Fire, which forced evacuations in Indian Valley last night, is now 95 percent contained and mapped at 50 acres.

It’s the Sheep, the Claremont and the Bear that are of concern. The Sheep is in on the northern edge of the Plumas National Forest and posing a threat to Susanville, while the Claremont and the Bear are in the Middle Fork drainage south of Quincy. This story will be updated with the latest figures when the Forest Service releases its latest information this evening.

The Sheep Fire

The Sheep Fire, which began Aug. 17 as a lightning strike and then merged with two other fires in the area to become the Sheep, is the largest fire burning on the Plumas National Forest at 4,500 acres. It has resulted in numerous evacuations on the outskirts of Susanville.

The Claremont Fire

The Claremont Fire, burning in the Middle Fork of the Feather River South of Quincy, was originally reported at 4 p.m. Aug. 17, the result of a lightning strike. This morning it was reported to be 650 acres; at 5 p.m. this evening, the number was estimated at 1,500.

There are mandatory evacuations in place for a portion of La Porte Road from Thompson Creek to the Red Bridge, and an evacuation advisory from Thompson Creek to Highway 70.

The fire is in the steep, difficult terrain of the Middle Fork drainage. Uphill runs and rolling material, along with gusty winds, combine to create difficult conditions for control attempts.

The Bear Fire

The Bear Fire is in the same drainage as the Claremont, but is even more difficult to access. The Forest Service reports that crews dropped into the area yesterday, but were unable to remain due to the rough terrain. Air support is hitting the fire now, but it’s hoped crews will be able to return. The fire is roughly 250 acres this evening, and while it is not threatening structures, it has closed a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail from Onion Valley near La Porte to Bucks Summit.

A Type 1 team has arrived to oversee all of the fires burning on the Mt. Hough Ranger District of the Plumas National Forest. An incident command center is being established at the fairgrounds for the fires south of Indian Valley.

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