Mendocino National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
825 N. Humboldt Ave.
Willows, CA 95988
August Complex North Zone Fire Update
September 28, 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): 878,470acres
Containment: 45% Personnel (North Zone): 1,238
(Redding, CA) – Wind gusts continue to push the fire west, prompting evacuation orders to the Trinity County line and evacuation warnings in Humboldt County. High winds are forecast throughout the day today, with gusts exceeding 30 miles per hour and potentially accelerating down the west slope of South Fork Mountain, threatening communities to the west and north.
The Ruth Valley and Mad River Valley are aligned to funnel the forecast winds and encourage fire spread in these areas. Residents are urged to comply with evacuation orders and to stay out of the area. Many roads are impassable due to fire and fallen trees. The fire remains extremely active; winds are carrying embers well beyond containment lines, and there is high potential for the fire to develop an active plume.
As fire activity increases with the winds and the heat of the day, large smoke columns are expected to form. Like thunderheads, columns build and then collapse. Collapsing columns are extremely dangerous, violently forcing winds outward, carrying fire and live embers far and wide. Extreme conditions are forecast into the evening; the Red Flag Warning is expected to end by 9pm.
Live embers were documented landing 8 miles ahead of the active fire front on Sunday. Spot fires ignited beyond control lines east of Forest Glen, north of State Route 36, and west of South Fork Mountain. The fires advanced to Ruth Lake and to the west side of the lake by afternoon. Crews are responding to the spot fires as conditions permit, working through the night. Firefighters continue to focus on firefighter and public safety, as well as point protection for structures.
New closures include all roads in Van Duzen, Mad River, Ruth, and Hettenshaw areas. Ruth Zenia Road is closed east of the US Forest Service Zenia Guard Station. The closure for State Route 36 now extends from the Humboldt County line on the west to the junction with Bowman Road on the east. New evacuation orders include Mad River and Lower Mad River Road.
Smoke will likely move back into the region in the next day or two, calming fire behavior. Hot, dry weather will persist with prime conditions for continued fire growth. The winds are presently aiding containment work on the east flank. Crews continue to hold and improve the fireline, preparing for the return of seasonal winds from the southwest.
· Ruth and Ruth Lake
· Forest Glen
· Post Mountain/Trinity Pines
· Three Forks
· Hettenshaw Valley
· Lower Mad River Road
· Mad River
· Zenia and Kettenpom
· Areas east of Alderpoint Road to the Trinity County border and south of Showers Pass Road to Mountain Creek
Humboldt County evacuation information is available online from the Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services Facebook page.
Residents are urged to evacuate to the north and west, away from the fire area. The Temporary Evacuation Point for Trinity County is Hayfork Fairgrounds. Evacuees can proceed there to receive hotel accommodation instructions and will be asked to proceed to a hotel for safe, non-congregate sheltering.
Additional evacuation information for Trinity and Humboldt counties is available from the Red Cross at
All roads on the east side of Ruth Lake and Ruth area roads are closed. All roads in Van Duzen, Mad River, Ruth, and Hettenshaw areas are closed. Ruth Zenia Road is closed east of Hettenshaw Valley. The closure for State Route 36 now extends from the Humboldt County line on the west to the junction with Bowman Road on the east. All Roads within the Trinity Pines/Post Mountain Subdivision remain closed, including Trinity Pines Drive, Rattlesnake Road, Post Mountain Road and all county and private roads within the subdivision.
Forest Closures: Shasta-Trinity, Mendocino, and Six Rivers National Forests.
Due to the unprecedented wildfires in California, the Pacific Southwest Region has closed 18 National Forests. The closure has been extended until September 30th. Selected forests have increased access. Specific information is available online:
· Shasta-Trinity National Forest: https://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/stnf/forestorders
· Mendocino National Forest: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/mendocino/alerts-notices
· Six Rivers National Forest: 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. Many hunting areas are closed due to wildfire activity; for more information visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/visit/know-before-you-go.
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