Helena and Fork Fire Evening Update for Sept 13, 2017
Incident: Helena - Fork Fire Wildfire
The Helena and Fork Fires are being managed by California Interagency Incident Management Team 3 (CIMT3) with support of state and local resources. The Helena Fire continues to burn near Junction City and Weaverville, CA. The Fork Fire is located north of Monument Peak and southwest of East Fork Lakes in the Trinity Alps Wilderness.
Helena Fire - Date/Time Reported: August 30, 2017 Size: 17,579 Cause: Human - under investigation
Fork Fire - Date/Time Reported: August 7, 2017 Size: 3,545 acres Cause: Lightning
Total Containment for both the Helena and Fork Fires is 53%
Helena-Fork Resources: Engines: 32 Crews: 17 Dozers: 13 Water Tenders: 12 Helicopters: 7 Total Personnel: 700
Status: Moderate backing fire was observed across the fire area today, with continued rollout of burning material on steeper slopes. Firefighters continued to build direct handline along Conner Creek on the southwest side of the fire and working on the Eagle Ranch contingency line and 33N45 Road. On the east side of the fire, crews continue working to connect direct firelines from West Weaver Creek to the Weaver Bally Ridge and Glennison Gap. To the north, the fire made a short uphill run near Rarick Gulch. In the Junction Creek area, hose and equipment is being removed from areas where it is no longer needed. On the Fork Fire, the fire is slowly backing down the slope into the Canyon Creek drainage. The east portion of the Fork Fire below Bally Ridge has been contained.
Weather and Smoke: An upper level ridge will build toward the coast on Wednesday resulting in dry and seasonable weather conditions through Saturday. A weak front will approach on Sunday and bring a chance of rain Sunday night or Monday. Inversion layers should lift by mid-morning to early afternoon, allowing smoke to clear from the area.
New Fire Starts: The Shasta-Trinity National Forest has responsibility for new fires. Information is available on InciWeb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/unit/3/
Forest Closure Order: A Forest Closure Order is in effect for National Forest Lands impacted by the Helena and Fork Fires on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. This order is to protect firefighter and public safety and will remain in effect until the Helena and Fork Fires are declared out. The forest closure orders also apply to hunters.
Wilderness/Recreation Access: The BLM Junction City Campground and Bagdad River Access on Highway 299, Pigeon Point Campground and river access, as well as the Grapevine Swimming Hole on East Fork Road are closed. A complete list of roads and trails affected by the forest closure is available on https://Inciweb.nwcg.gov. The Shasta-Trinity National Forest website lists all recreation sites on the Forest to provide alternative recreational opportunities.
Prepare for Wildfire: Creating defensible space is essential to improve your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire. It’s the buffer you create between a building on your property and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland area that surround it. This space is needed to slow or stop the spread of wildfire and it protects your home from catching fire—either from direct flame contact or radiant heat. Defensible space is also important for the protection of the firefighters defending your home. Flying embers can destroy homes up to a mile from a wildfire. “Harden” your home now before a fire starts by using ember-resistant building materials. Learn more about preparing for wildfire at http://www.readyforwildfire.org
State Route 299: Traffic will be conducted by one way continuous escort from mile post 38.35 west to mile post 42.0 east. Officials are estimating 20 - 40 minutes to travel through the area depending on traffic volume. Motorists are advised to use extreme caution when traveling the 299 corridor between Junction City and Big Flat due to potential for rock slides and congested traffic.
Trinity County Roads: The Canyon Creek Road (Co. Road 401) reopened at 6 a.m. today. All other County Roads affected by the Helena Fire remain open. Please use caution when traveling these roads as fire equipment will continue to work in these areas. Forest road closures remain in effect for the fire area. The Sheriff’s office will continue to patrol the area. County roads will be repaired and hazard trees will be removed in the near future.
Forest Roads: Many Forest Roads on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest near the Helena and Fork Fires are closed under a Forest Closure Order . This protects firefighter and public safety and will remain in effect until the Helena and Fork Fires are declared out. For a full list, visit the Shasta-Trinity National Forest at https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/stnf/home
Utilities: Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and Trinity Power and Utility District work is complete and all lines have been energized. Frontier Communications is working to restore phone service to all affected areas.
Trinity County Sheriff’s Office: TCSO is providing public safety within the fire area and working with Cal OES in running the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
Community Assistance: A distribution center for tools (shovels and rakes) for residents impacted by the fire will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Mon-Sat, 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Sunday, at Nugget Lane and Glenn Road near the four-way stop in Weaverville (Look for the Lions Club banner). The Red Cross has completed casework for people who came to the distribution center. Affected individuals who still need assistance should call the Red Cross Dispatch Center at 844-236-0153.
Trinity County Environmental Health: Assessment of imminent public health and safety hazards in the affected burn areas continues. Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) debris must be removed immediately. A health emergency grants state and local government permission to enter properties that have been assessed as significantly damaged or destroyed with the specific duty to remove HHW debris from the property to protect the community. HHW must be handled separately from other burn debris and cannot be brought to local landfills. Residents are strongly encouraged to leave all HHW in place – and to not remove any HHW or damaged containers of HHW from their properties. Full details are available at @TrinityDOT. Residents from fire affected areas may dispose of food waste for free at the Junction City Solid Waste Transfer Site. Food waste must be separated from general waste, and you must show ID as proof of residence in affected area.