Mendocino National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
825 N. Humboldt Ave.
Willows, CA 95988
August Complex North Zone Fire Update
October 3, 2020
Incident Commander: Norm McDonald
Start Date: 08/17/2020
Location: Shasta-Trinity NF; Six Rivers NF; Mendocino NF
Fire Size (All Zones): 979,386 acres
Personnel (North Zone): 1,978
(Redding, CA) – As the size of the incident grows, fire managers and U.S. Forest Service administrators have made the decision to reorganize the incident area into four geographic areas; Northwest Zone, Northeast Zone, South Zone and West Zone. This change is being made to increase oversight and optimize the utilization of resources. One incident management team will be assigned to each zone. The West Zone will continue to be managed by CALFire and the other zones will each be managed by a national Type 1 team.
Favorable weather conditions have allowed firefighters to make good progress in all divisions. On the east flank, the fire remains within the main containment lines. As the fire burns to the south from Red Mountain, crews are working to tie containment lines to the Buck Fire burned area. The fire continues to slowly back down towards State Route 36 along the northeast fire perimeter. To the west on SR 36, the fire has spotted into the Pickett Fire burned area. Crews continue to improve dozer lines and provide structure protection in the Ruth Lake area and to north along Mad River and Van Duzen roads to SR 36. Dozer lines are being constructed utilizing forest roads and old fuel breaks northwest of Post Mountain to South Fork Trinity River to prevent the fire from spreading north towards Hyampom. CALFire is working in the area of Watts Lake, Zenia, and Kettenpom.
Even as firefighters make progress on securing the fire perimeter, fire danger remains extreme with dry vegetation, drought conditions, very low relative humidity, record temperatures, and potential for additional wind events. Fire behavior analysts refer to an index called “Probability of Ignition” (PIG). This rating describes the probability that an ember that lands on dry fuels will ignite a fire. With the extreme dryness of both the fine fuels (grasses, bushes) and the 100-hour and 1,000-hour fuels (larger diameter downed trees), the PIG for this area is now 90%. That means that if 100 embers reach a dry fuel source, 90 of them will start a fire. Given these extreme conditions, please comply with the Sheriff’s orders and leave quickly when an evacuation order is issued. Failure to evacuate diverts firefighters and public safety officers from protecting homes to assisting residents who should have evacuated.
Residents are not permitted entry into evacuated areas until the Sheriff lifts the orders. Public safety officers continue to enforce roadblocks for firefighter and public safety as well as property protection.
A strong ridge of high pressure both at the surface and aloft will prevail across northern California into early next week. Winds will be generally light and terrain driven with continued poor nighttime relative humidity recoveries on mid-slopes and ridgetops. Strong daily inversions will persist, as mixing and transport winds are light, producing areas of thick smoke and limited visibility. In the fire area, temperatures are mainly in the upper 70s to mid-80s, depending on aspect and elevation with daily minimum relative humidity values in the upper teens to mid-20s.
Fire Information/Media Line: (530) 628-0039
· Ruth and Ruth Lake
· Forest Glen
· Post Mountain/Trinity Pines
· Three Forks
· Hettenshaw Valley
· Mad River
· Zenia and Kettenpom
· Island Mountain
· The area of Kettenpom south to Kekawaka Creek
· Bear Wallow and Friend Mountain, including Rowdy Bear
· Indian Valley and Hidden Valley
· All areas south of State Route 36 to the Trinity County line
· Wildwood area
· Areas east of Alderpoint Road to the Trinity County border and south of Showers Pass Road to Mountain Creek
Residents are urged to evacuate from the fire area. Failure to evacuate diverts firefighters from protecting homes to assisting residents who should have evacuated. Information for evacuees in Trinity and Humboldt counties is available from the Red Cross at 530-276-8034. Sign up for Trinity County Evacuation notifications and other emergency alerts at www.trinitycounty.org/oes/codered
· State Route (SR) 3 at Rattlesnake Road
· Rattlesnake Road at SR 36
· Post Mountain at SR 36
· SR 36 from Humboldt County Line to Bowman Road
· Zenia Bluffs Road at Humboldt County Line
· Zenia Lake Mountain Road at Peaks Road
· Kekawaka Creek Road to Mendocino County Line
Trinity County Office of Emergency Services will conduct structure damage assessments when it is safe to do so. They may be contacted at: 530-623-8223.
Forest Closures: Shasta-Trinity, Mendocino, and Six Rivers National Forests.
Each forest has closures in place. Individual forest closure 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