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Helena - Fork Fire

Unit Information

Shasta-Trinity National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
3644 Avtech Parkway
Redding, CA 96002

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Helena and Fork Fire Evening Update for September 14, 2017

Helena - Fork Fire Wildfire
News – 9/14/2017

The Helena and Fork Fires are being managed by Northern California Incident Management Team 2, with the support of state and local resources. Management of the fires was transferred to Northern California Incident Management Team 2 at 6:00 p.m. today. 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.

Tonight will be the last evening update: Beginning September 15th, only a morning update will be released. InciWeb and social media sites (Facebook, Twitter) will continue to be updated multiple times daily or as conditions change.

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 55%

Helena-Fork Resources: Engines: 32 Crews: 17 Dozers: 13 Water Tenders: 12 Helicopters: 7 Total Personnel: 700

Status: Moderate backing fire was observed today across portions of the fire area, most notably in Rarick Gulch east of Canyon Creek, and in the upper reaches of Eagle Creek. Both areas of active fire have the potential for upslope runs if the fire becomes established after crossing creek bottoms. Additionally, smoke columns will continue to be possible within interior islands of unburned vegetation. Firefighters continued to build direct handline along Conner Creek toward Eagle Creek on the southwest side of the fire. On the east side of the fire, crews completed direct firelines from West Weaver Creek to the Weaver Bally Ridge and Glennison Gap. In the Junction City area, hose and equipment is being removed from areas where it is no longer needed. On the Fork Fire, the fire is backing down the slopes into the Canyon Creek drainage and holding along Gwin Gulch. Firefighters will continue to construct direct firelines where topography will allow.

Weather and Smoke: Dry and seasonable weather conditions are forecast through Saturday. A cold front will approach the area on Sunday. This will bring a chance of rain Sunday night and Monday. Cool weather will persist into the middle of next week.

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: AForest 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 for firefighter and public safety and will remain in effect until the Helena and Fork Fires are declared out. The forest closure order also applies 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. 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

Drinking Water Advisory: A spill of ash and possible burn debris was reported to Trinity County Environmental Health (TCEH) today, Tuesday September 12, 2017. Further investigation was done in the Canyon Creek area. TCEH would like to warn the public at this time, that unknown substances may be in Canyon Creek and the Trinity River. These unknown substances from ash and burn debris could include heavy metals which are harmful to public health. TCEH wants to advise people who use seep wells or other shallow forms of surface water diversion, to be cautious of what could be in their drinking water. Trinity County Environmental Health is sending a sample of the contaminated water to the lab for analysis. For any further information on this subject please call Kristy Anderson or Hina Wyne @ 530-623-1459.

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: All 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.

Forest Roads: Many Forest Roads on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest near the Helena and Fork Fires are closed under aForest 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, rakes, cleaning supplies, etc.) 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: 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 identification as proof of residence in affected area.

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