Mendocino National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
825 N. Humboldt Ave.
Willows, CA 95988
August Complex North Zone Fire Update
September 24, 2020
Incident Commander: Norm McDonald
Start Date: 08/17/2020 Location: Shasta-Trinity NF; Six Rivers NF; Mendocino NF
Cause: Lightning Fire Size (All Zones): 862,733 acres
Containment: 38% Personnel (North Zone): 870
(Redding, CA) – Firefighting resources are concentrating their efforts on State Highway 36 today. Taking advantage of cooler temps and higher relative humidities, strategic burning tactics will be employed coming off Rattlesnake Ridge in the South Fork Trinity drainage. These efforts will slow the fire and strengthen the firelines that have been built to hold the fire south of Hwy 36. Temporary road closures can be expected due to increased fire traffic and potentially smoky conditions.
Dangerous winds that had been forecast for yesterday did not materialize as predicted, and firefighters took advantage of this break to complete a successful tactical firing operation off of Rattlesnake Ridge. Crews put fire on the ground along the ridge, letting it slowly burn downhill towards the southwest, into the lighter-than-expected wind. The operation was a success, as it removed a significant amount of fuel from the fire’s path, should stronger winds return to push it up towards the ridge. Reducing these fuels is crucial to reduce the likelihood of spotting ahead and outside of control lines.
Crews have nearly completed improvements to the fuel break the Forest Service had previously constructed around the community of Post Mountain/Trinity Pines. Portable water tanks, called pumpkins, have been set up and filled along the fire break. Firefighters will use these water sources to supply powerful Mark III water pumps for hoses and sprinklers should the fire move across Hwy 36 in the future. Engine crews and heavy equipment are working on direct fire line near Snow Gap, as well as continuing to improve the indirect line on the 35 Road. Patrol and mop up continues from Kettenpom to Flying AA Ranch, and on the east side in the Stuart Gap and Rat Trap areas. Crews are working up to 300’ from the fires edge to cool hot spots and remove hazard trees. Smoky conditions are expected to persist today in Hayfork, Wildwood, and Post Mountain. Increased cloud cover is expected, along with a chance of showers in the western areas of the fire, and smoke will settle into the river valleys ahead of a high pressure system. The National Weather Service in Eureka has issued a Fire Weather Watch for critical fire weather conditions beginning Saturday. Temperatures are forecast to rise into the 90s and humidities will drop. Winds are predicted to come out of the north/northeast.
Know Before You Go
Stay safe when hunting by following these tips:
· Many hunting areas are closed due to wildfire activity. Check local districts and forests for closure orders.
· Be alert when hunting near developed areas and trails. Firefighters are in the forest as well.
· For more information visit the following at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/visit/know-before-you-go
· Ruth and Ruth Lake
· Forest Glen
· Post Mountain/Trinity Pines
· Three Forks
· Mad River
· Hettenshaw Valley
· Zenia and Kettenpom
· The north area of Ruth Lake from Journey’s End to Highway 36
The Temporary Evacuation Point is Hayfork Fairgrounds. Evacuees can proceed there to receive hotel accommodation instructions and will be asked to proceed to a hotel in Lewiston or Weaverville for safe, non-congregate sheltering.
Additional Evacuation information can be found at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/article/6983/55716/
Forest Closures: Shasta-Trinity, Mendocino, and Six Rivers National Forests.
Due to the unprecedented wildfires in California, the Pacific Southwest Region previously closed all 18 National Forests. All fire restrictions are still in place, prohibiting the use of gas stoves, campfires, etc., and the Six Rivers National Forest will remain closed until September 24, 2020. On Saturday, September 19, 2020 selected forests increased access. The Shasta-Trinity National Forest has opened areas outside fire closures, however areas may prohibit dispersed camping and overnight use. For specific information for the Shasta-Trinity National Forest please visit; https://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/stnf/forestorders for the Mendocino National Forest please visit; https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/mendocino/alerts-notices and for the Six Rivers National Forest visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/srnf/alerts-notices.
It is critical that all national forest visitors follow these important closures and restrictions for their own safety and the safety of our firefighters.
Cooperating Agencies: Trinity County Sheriff’s Office, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, Mendocino Sheriff’s Office, Trinity County OES, Humboldt County OES, California Highway Patrol, National Weather Service, BLM, Cal OES, CAL FIRE,