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July Complex 2020

Unit Information

Modoc National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
225 W. 8th St
Alturas, CA 96101

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Incident Contact

July Complex Info
Phone: 530-208-5615
Hours: Daily 7:00am-9:00pm

Vegetation mitigation near Medicine Lake Aug 01Image options: [ Full Size ]

On July 22, 2020 Firefighters from the Modoc National Forest began responding late in the evening to several reported lightning fires. These lighting fires started after a series of strong thunderstorms moved through the area. While most fires on the Modoc National Forest have been kept relatively small with swift and decisive containment efforts, some have grown in size. 

On July 24, 2020, California Interagency Incident Management Team (CAIIMT12) assumed command of the July Complex to manage three active fires on the Modoc NF.

These fires are:

Caldwell Fire, near Caldwell Butte southeast of the Lava Beds (T45N R4E Sec35), the Caldwell fire is burning in an area that has not seen fire in over 40 years, and is now dense with Ponderosa and Lodgepole Pine stands. After several days of significant fire behavior and growth, the Caldwell fire is now 80,859 acres and 94% contained. Allen Fire, (T41N R8E Sec30) & Dalton Fire, (T45N R8E Sec16), fire crews have established containment line around both fires and are now engaged mop up and suppression repair. The Allen fire is 1,035 acres and 100% contained, as the Dalton fire is 1,367 acres and 100% contained.

There is high demand for resources in Northern California due to multiple fires. With successful containment of the July Complex fires, some equipment and personnel have been released to support those fires. Fire managers continue to prioritize firefighter and public safety, while protecting values at risk. Life safety will always remain the number one priority. COVID-19 mitigations are being taken to limit exposure risks to firefighters and the public, per CDC guidelines.

Since the start of the Caldwell, Allen, and Dalton Fires, downdraft winds from passing thunder cells have caused unpredictable and erratic fire behavior. Until recently, the Caldwell fire was active each day, with smoke visible from all directions in the late afternoon. Currently, smoke from interior pockets of unburned fuel within the Caldwell fire continue to burn and produce intermittent periods of smoke. In other portions of the fire, areas continue to smolder.

Fire crews continue to improve secondary fire lines, re-enforce existing lines, and mop up heat near the perimeter of primary containment lines. 

Basic Information

Current as of
Incident TypeWildfire
Date of OriginWednesday July 22nd, 2020 approx. 10:15 AM
LocationIn the vicinity of Canby,CA
Incident CommanderCAIIMT12
Coordinates41.699 latitude, -121.477 longitude

Current Situation

Total Personnel1,127
Size83,261 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained97%
Estimated Containment DateSaturday August 22nd, 2020 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels Involved

Dry Tall grasses (2.5 feet), Brush (2 feet), and Timber (consisting of litter and understory)


Planned Actions

Continue to construct direct and indirect fireline. Hold and improve existing line. Continue suppression repair on all three fires within the July Complex. Perform initial attack of new starts within the TFR.

Current Weather

Weather Concerns

Warm, dry weather persisted Saturday. However, conditions were not as extreme as previous days. High temperatures were in the upper 80s with minimum humilities of 10-15%. Winds were generally from the SW with gusts up to 25 MPH through early afternoon, but winds trended toward the NW late in the day. Increasing moisture aloft reduced the Haines to an estimated 4. Moderate to good humidity recoveries of 40-50% are expected Saturday night with winds becoming variable and lighter. Winds will increase from the NW Sunday with slightly warmer and drier conditions, but the conditions are expected to remain below Red Flag Warning criteria. The Haines index is expected to remain a 4 on Sunday due to moisture aloft, and thus the weather will not favor plume domination.