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August Complex

Unit Information

Mendocino National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
825 N. Humboldt Ave.
Willows, CA 95988

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Incident Contacts

South Zone August Complex
Phone: 530-487-4602
Hours: Daily 6am to 8pm

North Zone August Complex
Phone: 530-628-0039
Hours: Daily 8am to 8pm

West Zone, August Complex
Phone: 707-355-4926
Hours: Daily 6am to 8pm

August Complex zone map sept 21Image options: [ Full Size ]

USDA Forest Service and CAL FIRE are engaged in a coordinated response to manage and suppress the August Complex. The Complex consists of multiple fires that have burned together and are collectively known as the August Complex.

The August Complex is being managed by NIMO - Quesinberry in the South Zone (what had been the Doe Fire), Alaska Incident Management Team 1-McDonald in the North Zone (what had been the Elkhorn Fire), and CAL FIRE Team-Parkes in West Zone. 

The August Complex has grown to 870,200 acres and is 43 percent contained. It is listed as the largest wildfire in California history.  Please refer to the map to the right showing the three management zones of the August Complex (click the "full size" link below the map for a closer view). 

Weather: Today weather will transition to hot and dry conditions with strong northeasterly winds which will continue through Sunday. High temperatures should be in the 80s and humidity around 25%. Winds will be 10-15 mph out of the northwest. A Red Flag Warning is in effect Sunday through Monday.  
South Zone Update - Mendocino National Forest: 

Crews have been busy preparing for an expected change in weather that will affect the August Complex beginning Saturday. Work has been ongoing for several days to improve control lines, install and test hose lays, and to ensure that structure protection measures are in place in the Lake Pillsbury area. The east side of the South Zone is fully contained, and is being patrolled with aircraft to identify any threats to control lines.

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for hot, dry and windy conditions. The increasing winds, higher temperatures, and lower humidity are expected to reach the area Saturday and will influence fire behavior through Tuesday. Gusty winds may lead to an increase in smoke production and allow smoke from other fires to move into the region.

During these conditions, outdoor activities have an increased chance of igniting new wildfires. Off road vehicle use, shooting, equipment use, and other activities that may create heat or sparks should be done with extreme caution, especially in grassy areas. The public should make sure that equipment is well maintained, with spark arrestors in good working condition.  

For more information on the South Zone, call (530) 487-4602.

North Zone Update - Shasta-Trinity, Mendocino and Six Rivers National Forests:  

 (Redding, CA) – State Route 36 is closed from the junction with State Route 3 on the east to South Fork Mountain Road at South Fork Mountain Summit on the west. Estimated time of reopening is dependent on fire operations and fire behavior. County officials will be on site directing traffic.

A Red Flag Warning goes into effect Sunday morning for critical fire weather. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures are forecast through Monday. Winds are predicted to come out of the north/north east at 15 to 20 mph, gusting to 40 mph on exposed areas and ridgetops. Extreme fire behavior is possible where the predicted weather conditions align with terrain.

Firefighters are doing everything they can to keep the fire south of State Route 36. Aircraft will assist the firefighters as they work to secure the northeast corner near Forest Glen. Strategic firing operations will continue to reduce unburned fuels between the highway and the fire. This will decrease the intensity of the fire as it approaches the road, and support firefighters in their efforts to hold the fire south of Route 36.

Firefighters are working with dozers and other heavy equipment east of Ruth to “secure, control and gain depth along the fireline there,” said Operations Section Chief Jon Glover. This is critical operation to complete before the wind shift on Sunday. “We are really trying to button up the control lines in the Ruth area ahead of the forecast wind shift,” said Planning Operations Section Chief Karen Scholl.

Firefighters in Post Mountain/Trinity Pines continue to clean up the dozer line, assess and test pumps and hoses. 

Over 120 firefighters are working through the night in the most critical areas of the fire. Handcrews, engines, and dozers are holding and strengthening the control lines from South Fork Mountain down to the South Fork Trinity River.  “Night shift is really hard duty, some of the most dangerous that we do is at night, and we appreciate all that you’re doing out there,” said Incident Commander Norm McDonald expressing his appreciation for the crews.

Firefighters on the ground were assisted by aircraft yesterday outside of Forest Glen. Helicopters and single engine airtankers dropped thousands of gallons of water, and a VLAT, or very large air tanker, was used to drop retardant. This is a temporary holding tactic that gives crews on the ground time to get in place and use handtools and heavy equipment to secure the fireline. Waterdrops from helicopters are used to supply water to crews working on hot spots in areas that are not plumbed with pumps and a water source. Skidgines, dozers and masticators are just some of the heavy equipment working on firelines on the northernmost perimeter of the fire south of State Route 36. 

For more information on the North Zone, call (530) 628-0039.

West Zone Update CAL FIRE Mendocino, Humboldt-Del Norte and Trinity Units:

CAL FIRE’s unified team and the U.S. Forest Service are engaged in a coordinated and collaborative response to take suppressive action on the August Complex, which has been split into three zones to effectively provide a response for the communities at risk. Due to resource draw down throughout the state, CAL FIRE’s Incident Management Team requested the California National Guard to assist with fire suppression efforts and as a result of CAL FIRE’s request, 125 National Guard personnel are assigned to the incident. Additionally, resources from across the state of California as well as Montana, Idaho, Texas, Washington and New Jersey have been assigned to assist on the August Complex-West Zone. The August Complex West Zone has burned 104,836 acres, spans approximately 195 miles of fire line and is 60% contained with more than 1,600 firefighters battling the fire from the air and the ground. The ongoing fire suppression efforts have resulted in some evacuation orders and warnings being reduced while the incident commanders constantly evaluate existing orders and warnings as anticipated and observed fire conditions change. Overnight, firefighters worked diligently to improve and widen containment lines across all 195 miles of fire line, actively performing direct fire attack and mop up where fire conditions safely allow. Islands of unburned vegetation within the perimeter of the fire continue to burn, which contributes to the increase in acreage. Smoke will continue to be visible due to the fire making isolated uphill runs when aligned with topography, firing operations and multiple active pockets of fire. 

For more information on the West Zone of the August Complex, call (707) 355-4926.

Basic Information

Current as of
Incident TypeWildfire
Date of OriginMonday August 17th, 2020 approx. 11:00 AM
LocationMendocino, Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests
Incident CommanderNIMO/Alaska IMT 1/CAL FIRE
Incident DescriptionComplex
Coordinates39.659 latitude, -122.809 longitude

Current Situation

Total Personnel1,621
Size870,200 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained43%
Estimated Containment DateSunday November 15th, 2020 approx. 06:00 AM
Fuels Involved

Tall Grass - 2.5 feet

Chaparral - 6 Feet

Timber - litter and understory

Significant Events

In the north zone, active fire behavior with single and group tree torching and short uphill runs. Fire will continue to back into the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the Eel River drainage.

Fire behavior has been minimal with a few pockets of isolated and scattered heat remaining near the South Zone/West Zone break.


Planned Actions

North Zone: Construct and improve control line to the South Fork of the Trinity River from the South Fork Ridge (Horse Ridge) and continue firing operations. Manage fire spread in the Ruth Valley utilizing direct attack and firing operations, minimizing impacts to structures.

South Zone: Continue testing hoses, pumps, and other equipment in the Pillsbury Lake area. Continue to secure and mop up around Pillsbury Lake and Rice Fork.

Projected Incident Activity

North Zone: Good overnight humidity recovery will minimize fine fuels supporting fire spread. Areas of new growth will continue to burn out. Firing operations on the Ruth side of South Fork Mountain continues.

South Zone: Moderate burning conditions exist as warming and drying trend begins. Potential for growth is a concern as northerly winds set in for the next several days with significant drying of fuels expected.


The 14th Brigade Engineer Battalion of the US Army "Rugged" is fully operational on the fire lines.

Burned acreage as of 9/25/20: Mendocino NF-580, 692

Shasta Trinity NF-89,528

Six Rivers NF-102,680

Current Weather

Weather Concerns

Poor humidity recovery overnight with Grizzle Mountain RAWS station dropping to near 15%.

A fire weather watch has been issued for critical fire weather conditions possible early Sunday through noon Monday. Northeast to east winds of 12 to 20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph. The strongest winds are expected Sunday 11 am to 11 pm.