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Walker Fire-Day 4

9:10 p.m. update, Sept. 7:  According to the Forest Service’s latest briefing, the fire is now 5 percent contained and approximately 24,040 acres.

No new evacuations have been ordered and no structures have been lost. The fire’s progression slowed earlier in the day as a result of cloud cover and reduced fuel to the north as it entered the previously burned Antelope Fire area. The fire spread to the north up Wheeler’s Peak drainage and east around the Antelope Fire scar reaching a mile and a half of south of Murdock Crossing.

When smoke and wind conditions permitted, VLAT’s (Very Large Air Tankers) capable of dropping up to 10,000 gallons of retardant, slowed the fire’s spread to the northeast and on the western flank in the Wheeler Peak drainage. Aircraft support gave crews working in conjunction with dozers time to construct fireline along the southern edge of the fire. Two Super Scooper aircraft dropped water and controlled two spot fires out in front of the main fire to the east. Resources continued patrolling and secured the fireline along the southwest edge of the fire, removing the threat to structures. Tonight, crews will continue securing the 25N42 road while other night shift resources look for opportunities to construct containment line along the fire’s edge where possible as well as areas further out from the fire with the highest probability of successfully containing the fire.

11:30 a.m., Sept.7:  New Evacuation Orders- Plumas County Sheriff’s Office, Plumas County Office of Emergency Services (OES) in conjunction with Lassen County Sheriff’s Office and Lassen County OES have ordered mandatory evacuations of Antelope Lake to the Plumas county line. Mandatory evacuations for the Genesee Valley road corridor, the Ward Creek area, and the Flournoy Bridge area are still in place, (issued through CodeRED). Residents who need accommodations should proceed to the Quincy area and contact the Sheriff’s Office.

Road Closures- Janesville Grade is now closed. Genesee Valley road is closed at the Flournoy Bridge. Antelope Lake road is also closed from the Flournoy Bridge to Antelope Dam.

9 am, Sept. 7: The Walker Fire is at 24,040 acres. Sheriff Greg Hagwood announced the evacuation of the Antelope Lake area.

6:45 a.m., Sept. 7 update: Yesterday The Walker Fire was reported at 2,900 acres, but that number has since been adjusted dramatically to approximately 17,912 acres according to data released by the Forest Service last night. It is 0 percent contained. A morning update is expected shortly.

The Plumas County Sherriff’s Office ordered mandatory evacuations for the Genesee Valley road corridor, the Ward Creek area, and the Flournoy Bridge area (through CodeRED). Residents who need accommodations should proceed to the Quincy area and contact the Sheriff’s Office. In addition, the Genesee Valley road is closed at the Flournoy Bridge. Antelope road is also closed from the Flournoy Bridge to Antelope Dam.

Fire activity increased substantially due to forecasted winds over the fire area. The fire progressed to the northeast, crossing Last Chance Creek through Elephants Playground in the direction of Babcock Peak. Crews were able to hold the fire east of the 25N42 road. Suppression action was taken on spot fires that ignited near and just north of the 172 road, east of Flournoy Bridge. Crews continued structure preparation and were successful in structure defense, containing the spot fires that ignited around them. No structures have been lost.

Prior Timeline

7 p.m. update, Sept. 6: During its nightly update the Forest Service is reporting that dry air and erratic winds have kept the fire behavior up all afternoon, as has witnessed by residents across the county. Prediction is for winds to calm tonight. The fire is now at 2,900 acres, though that figure could change if air recon can fly tonight. No new evacuations have been ordered. Though the smoke appears menacing from various vantage points the Forest Service reiterates that the areas around Graeagle/Blairsden, the Lake Alamanor Basin, Greenhorn Ranch, Quincy, Crescent Mills, Greenville, Susanville, Janesville, Milford and Portola are NOT under any threat from the fire.

2 p.m. update, Sept. 6: The Forest Service confirms that fire behavior is definitely picking up, as was expected, with increasing and unpredictable winds. Only areas that have already been notified are evacuated. Per the Plumas County Sherriff’s Office, that is for “the Genesee Valley Road Corridor as well in the Ward Creek area, and the Flournoy Bridge area.” No additional evacuations have been ordered since last night. To sign up for Code Red notifications, visit the Plumas County Sherriff’s office webpage at www.plumascounty.us/587/Sheriff-Coroner.

Noon update, Sept. 6: The angry looking plumes of smoke visible from throughout Plumas and neighboring counties from the Walker Fire are alarming, but the Forest Service announced that the areas around Graeagle/Blairsden, the Lake Alamanor Basin, Greenhorn Ranch, Quincy, Crescent Mills, Greenville, Susanville, Janesville, Milford and Portola are NOT under any threat from the fire. Crews are hard at work out on the Walker Fire, with firefighters and engines rolling in from many areas to help! Winds are expected to pick up this afternoon. The Forest Service asks residents to call 530-616-8625 with questions about specific areas.

8:30 a.m., Sept. 6: The Walker Fire, which broke out on the early afternoon of Sept. 4 is at 2,000 acres and 0 percent contained as of this morning. Yesterday morning the fire stood at 850 acres and 5 percent containment. The fire is burning approximately 11 miles east of the town of Taylorsville in Plumas County.

Mandatory evacuations were called for last night when winds pushed the fire to the east/southeast. The Plumas County Sheriff’s Office issued the evacuation order and personnel went door to door alerting residents in the Genesee Valley area impacted. It’s estimated that 50 to 75 individuals were affected. The Genesee Valley Road is now closed at the Flournoy Bridge.

To date no structures have been lost and crews will continue to prioritize structure protection. Assistant Editor Victoria Metcalf spent yesterday afternoon at the fire and interviewed many of the local districts involved in protecting residences. Her photos and story will be in the next edition of the newspaper.

Erratic winds are expected this afternoon, which could increase fire behavior. This site will be updated as more information becomes available.

7:15 p.m. update Sept. 5: Plumas County Sheriff Greg Hagwood said that his personnel are going door to door this evening to evacuate the residents in Genesee Valley to Antelope Road. Plumas County Supervisor Kevin Goss, who represents the area, estimates that involves 50 to 75 people. Those people are being asked to go to the Taylorsville campground for further instruction. When asked if a shelter would be set up, Goss said that one would be established, but that most people would probably stay with family or friends. Goss said he viewed the Walker Fire last night and it appeared to be laying down well, but this afternoon’s winds pushed the fire in an unexpected direction.

6:30 p.m. update: Sept. 5: During its 6 p.m. briefing, the Forest Service reported that winds are again pushing the fire and the Plumas County Sheriff has ordered evacuations for Genesee Valley to Antelope Road. Residents are to meet at Taylorsville campground for instructions. Sheriff personnel are currently going door to door. Residents under current precautionary evacuations may be upgraded. A Code Red (reverse 911) will be sent out to impacted individuals that have signed up for Code Red notifications.

1:15 p.m. Sept. 5 update: The Forest Service reports that firefighters are making good progress on the fire. The Genesee-Beckwourth Road is now closed with notification signs at both ends. An update on acreage burned is expected this afternoon. A Type 2 Team will be arriving to augment local staffing with a transition planned this afternoon. In addition, a small spot from yesterday is also being addressed.

10:30 a.m., Sept. 5 update: The Walker Fire is estimated to be 850 acres and is 5 percent contained. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. Crews worked throughout the night providing structure protection and building line on the eastern end of the fire. Crews will now seek to keep the fire south of the Genesee-Beckwourth Road, north of Nye Creek Road, east of Genesee Valley Road, and west of of the Mt. Hough/Beckwourth Ranger District boundary. Genesee Valley, Genesee-Beckwourth and Antelope roads remain open, but visitors and residents are encouraged to use them sparingly due to heavy fire traffic. Several small fires were reported in Eastern Plumas yesterday due to lightning strikes. All but one (on Horton Ridge) were quickly extinguished. Air recon will continue to fly today to look for new fire starts. Thunderstorms are predicted again this afternoon.

7:30 a.m., Sept. 5 update: During its first briefing of the day, the Plumas National Forest announced that Type 1 handcrews (Hotshots) worked through the night on the east side of the Walker Fire while engines stood watch along the Beckwourth-Genesee Road. Other firefighters scouted areas to build dozer lines today. The fire backed down the hill overnight which is typical of fire behavior. Widespread thunderstorms are expected again today with erratic winds and isolated showers. Data about the fire including acres burned and any containment will be reported

8:55 p.m. UPDATE: Firefighters will continue to arrive throughout the night. A Forest Service spokesperson is advising that Plumas County residents can expect to wake up to the smell of smoke as the nighttime inversion will settle the smoke in the valleys. The next update is set for  7 a.m. tomorrow morning with acres burned and containment numbers posted when available.

7:25 p.m. UPDATE: The Walker Fire has a perimeter of 750 acres and is continuing to be fought from the air and on the ground. The Plumas County Sheriff reports that six residences have been evacuated and the Forest Service reports that no structures have been lost as of this time.

5 p.m. UPDATE: The Forest Service is continuing to fight the Walker Fire from the air and ground with more resources arriving. Lightning is hitting the eastern portion of Plumas County so that area is being monitored for fire starts. One of Feather Publishing/Plumasnews.com staff writers reported a fire start near Chilcoot with an engine arriving quickly on scene. Intermittent power outages were also reported.

3:38 p.m. UPDATE: According to the latest information from the Forest Service, the fire is moving up the ridge (south of Genesee Valley) in heavy timber and is 100 acres currently. Incoming storms/erratic winds are influencing the burn; fire is spotting. Evacuations along Beckwourth Genesee Road in the vicinity of Flournoy Bridge. A precautionary evacuation notification has been given to Ward Creek residents, nearby.

3:30 p.m. UPDATE: Smoke is now visible at the base of the thunderheads from vantage points in Chester, Portola and Quincy. This fire is being called the Walker Fire.

2:25 p.m. UPDATE: Evacuations have been ordered along Genesee Road from Genesee to the Flournoy Bridge.

According to a spokesperson for the Plumas National Forest, crews are responding to a fire south of the Flournoy Bridge in Genesee Valley in Plumas County. Aircraft have also been called in to fight the blaze that is currently estimated at 3 to 5 acres. Local volunteer fire districts have been asked to provide structure protection. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

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