MENDOCINO Co., 9/14/2020 — The massive August Complex, currently 755,603 acres, is continuing to grow today, but improved weather conditions have allowed firefighters to get back on the ground, put aircraft back in the air, and continue to work aggressively to contain the fire.
Since last night a finger of the fire has pushed northwest along the back of Sanhedrin Mountain and then out of the National Forest onto private land and towards Dos Rios. This new growth has forced a new mandatory evacuation in what the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office has called zones AB and AC. These two zones are south east of of Dos Rios, north of Willits and south of Covelo, but can be seen more clearly on the county’s map below:
Beyond this specific new evacuation, the other evacuation orders and warnings remain the same as yesterday.
Satellite heat data shows that the fire has also been active in this southwestern-most corner near Lake Pillsbury. Much farther north the fire has pushed northward and spotted ahead of itself approaching SR-36 in Trinity County.
Firefighters working on the west zone of the complex, which is being managed by Cal Fire, are using dozers to create safe access routes to remote areas on the western front of the complex, which is around 100 miles long and runs from Trinity County at the northern end all the way down to Lake County at the southern end, so that hand crews can safely go in and work on containment lines. Cal Fire public information officer Will Powers said over the phone that they are hoping to have some containment lines on the west side of the fire within the next day or two. The lines they are working on the western front are east of Covelo, east of Hearst, east of the Island Mountain area, and east of King Rock into Trinity County.
“Putting in lines on the west side is our main priority,” said powers. “Public safety is always the number one priority, also crew safety is the number one priority. We are re-evaluating hour after hour.”
Powers said that Cal Fire is focused on keeping the fire away from Covelo and Willits, which lie just miles away from the western front.
Improved weather conditions and dissipating smoke have helped them with this task. Now that some of the smoke has moved away from directly above and around the fire, Cal Fire has been able to put aircraft back in the sky, both helicopters and fixed wing. This has allowed them to better map out where the fire is and work to suppress the fire in areas that are too dangerous for people to go into on the ground.
The western zone also has 766 personnel on the fire, including 8 engines, 18 water tenders, nine helicopters and 64 dozers.
However, they are still concerned about the extremely dry fuels that are present. “Any time you get wind, that poses a risk to those areas,” said Powers. “We hope the weather cooperates with us.”
Throughout the week, weather conditions are supposed to stay dry, but Powers said the Cal Fire team is hoping they will have higher relative humidity at night, which could help suppress the fire and allow them to work at night to put in containment lines.
The north and south zones of the fire are facing similar conditions — dry weather conditions with relative humidity holding around 15 to 20 percent, light breezes coming from the south and southwest, pushing the fire to the north and northeast, and temperatures in the 70s and 80s.
The north zone is focusing their attention on spotting that occurred around three miles from State Route 36, near the South Fork Trinity River. August Complex North public information officer Hannah Thompson-Welch said that spotting was due to southerly winds they’ve been experiencing, pushing the fire up north. The spotting showed up on the operations teams satellite imagery that records heat signatures late last night.
The community nearest the spotting, Forest Glen, was already under an evacuation warning, said Thompson-Welch.
Although resources are focused on that area, the entire fire perimeter is receiving attention, Thompson-Welch noted over the phone.
In the southern zone, like in the entire complex, public and firefighter safety continues to be the number one concern. South zone public information officer Jennifer Diamond said firefighters are continuing to mop up along any perimeters they can reach using both ground and aerial resources. They are also doing structure protection in the Lake Pillsbury area, and focusing resources on an area they are denoting as division S, which is on the east side near Paskenta, in Tehama County.
You can find the August Complex North Zone incident update including evacuation orders here. Similar information for the South and West zones are available below.
AUGUST COMPLEX-NORTH ZONE INCIDENT UPDATE
Incident Website: inciweb.nwgc.gov/incident/7071
Incident Information Line:(530) 628-0039
Incident Facts-August Complex Date Started: August 17, 2020 Structures Threatened: 1,595 Acres Burned: 755,603 (All Zones)
Revised acreage due to better mapping
8:00 am – 8:00 pm Incident Email: 2020.Elkhorn@firenet.gov @MendocinoNF
Structures Destroyed: 35
Containment: 30 percent Expected Containment: November 15, 2020
Injuries: 11 Cause: Lightning Fatalities: 1
Current Situation (August Complex-North Zone): Today will be another day of critical fire weather due to dry conditions, low relative humidity and less smoke shading. The priority in the North Zone is structure protection, indirect line construction (away from the fire’s edge), direct line construction and tactical firing operations (applying fire on the ground to remove vegetation and widen containment lines).
The fire continues to be active northeast of Ruth and firefighters will engage in structure defense around the homes on the east side of the Ruth Valley. It has spotted on the north side of the South Fork of the Trinity River northeast of Stockton Flats.
Dozers continue to construct indirect lines on Forest Road 3S09 to Zenia Lake Mtn Road (3S21). Crews are working to complete hand lines to the Middle Fork of the Eel River and will continue to prepare structures in the communities of Hettenshaw and Kettlepom Valleys.
On the northeast perimeter (Shasta-Trinity National Forest), crews continue to reinforce the containment line along the 35 Road. Crews will continue working from the west of Rat Trap improving the line and using tactical firing operations where possible. A ten-person crew of smokejumpers is working the northern perimeter of the fire to assess historic structures in the area.
Weather: A low pressure system will continue to bring lighter southwest winds. Low relative humidity will continue to create elevated fire weather conditions.
Smoke Outlook: Air quality remains Unhealthy in many areas, and Very Unhealthy conditions overnight in foothill areas. With light southwesterly winds today and tomorrow expect some midday lessening of smoke which will settle back in overnight. Smoke from fires to the east and south continue to add to overall smoke concentrations.
Evacuation Orders and Warnings for Mendocino, Humboldt, Tehama and Trinity Counties. Mendocino County: Evacuation Orders
• Zone S – South of County Line, East of Bell Springs Rd, North of Bell Springs Creek and West of the North Fork of the Eel River.
• Zone Q – South of the County Line, West and North of the North Fork of the Eel River and North and East of Bald Mountain Rd.
@ShastaTrinityNF @SixRiversNF @MendocinoNF
• Zone U – South of the County Line, East and North of the East Branch of the South Fork of the Eel River, West of Bell Springs Rd.
• Zone T – South of Bell Springs Creek, East of Bell Springs Rd, North of Iron Peak and Simmerly Rd, West of the Eel River.
• Zone R – West and South Mina Rd, South of the North Fork of Eel River, East of the Eel River.
• Zone P – South of the County Line, East of the Mina Rd, North of Hulls Valley Rd and West of Hulls Creek.
• Zone O – South of the County Line, East of Hulls Creek, North of Mendocino Pass Rd, and West of Williams Creek. Evacuation Point: Covelo High School, 76280 High School Street, Covelo, CA Small/Large Animal and Livestock Care: Covelo Rodeo Grounds, 77286 Covelo Rd, Covelo, CA. Laytonville Rodeo Grounds are open for livestock (Harwood Rd, Laytonville, CA).
Trinity County: Evacuation Orders
• Communities of Ruth, Zenia, Kettenpom, Hettenshaw Valley
• The southeast area of Ruth Lake up to and including Journey’s End Evacuation Warnings
• Communities of Mad River, Forest Glen and Post Mountain
• The North area of Ruth Lake from Journey’s End to Highway 36 Evacuation Point: Humboldt County Fairgrounds, 1250 5th Street, Ferndale, CA 95536
Humboldt County: Evacuation Line for Humboldt County residents is 707-268-2500. Evacuation Orders
• Areas south of Highway 36 in Bridgeville, and all communities along Alderpoint Road down to the Mendocino/Trinity County Line.
• Areas south of Casterlin Road, including all properties on Casterlin Road, to the Mendocino/Trinity County Line and east of Dyervill Loop Road and Bell Springs Road to the county line. Evacuation Warnings
• Areas west of Bell Springs Road to Highway 101 spanning from Elk Creek Road/Dyerville Loop Road to Mendocino/Trinity County Line.
• All areas east of Alderpoint Road spanning from Highway 36 to Casterlin Road.
Forest Closures: Shasta-Trinity, Mendocino, and Six Rivers National Forests. Due to unprecedented and historic fire conditions throughout the state, the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region has closed all 18 national forests in California. This includes the Mendocino, Shasta- Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests. 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, California Highway Patrol, National Weather Service, BLM, Cal OES, CALFIRE
Safety Message: Due to high fire danger, evacuation orders are put in place for your safety. Be prepared and ready to go.
Wildfire Preparedness: Plan, Know and Act. Please be ready if a wildfire nears your property or community. For more information visit the following webs at: www.readyforwildfire.org/
You can find the August Complex South Zone incident update including evacuation orders here:
Fire Update: August Complex (South Zone)
WILLOWS, Calif – Sept. 14, 2020 – USDA Forest Service and CAL FIRE are engaged in a coordinated response to manage and suppress the August Complex. The Complex consists of multiple fires that have burned together. The Complex has been divided into the North, South and West Zones for management purposes.
The total acreage for the August Complex is now at 755,603 acres with 30% containment. It is listed as the largest fire in California history. The acreage of the August Complex has decreased due to more accurate mapping and establishing management zones.
Firefighters will continue to mop up all along the fire’s perimeter utilizing both ground and aerial resources. Some of this work is being conducted by the 14th Brigade Engineer Battalion fromJoint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. A dozer line is being completed around the Salt Creek Conservation Camp and may be followed by a burn out if necessary, to help protect the area. A structure protection group has been established in the Pillsbury Lake Basin to help protect infrastructure. This includes installing hose lays, supplying water dip tanks for helicopters and putting in dozer lines where appropriate. Crews will continue to patrol and monitor containment lines throughout the fire area.
The fire crossed containment lines in the Yuki Wilderness Sunday and made a run to the west. Firefighters will increase suppression efforts in that area today to contain the fire. They will be working closely with resource advisors in the wilderness to reduce suppression impacts.
Weather. Smoky conditions are expected again today. Relative humidity will be 15-20%. Temperatures will be in the upper 70s to the mid-80s. Southwesterly winds will be 10-15 mph with gusts up to 20mph. Fire activity will continue to remain high due critically dry fuels.
New evacuations were issued Sunday night in Mendocino County. Evacuation orders are in effect for Mendocino, Lake, Humboldt and Trinity Counties. Please visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/article/6983/55716/ for more information.
Due to unprecedented and historic fire conditions throughout the state, the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region issued a temporary closure of all eighteen National Forests in California effective through Sept. 14, 2020.
For more information on the August Complex please check InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6983/ News Release Forest Service Mendocino National Forest 825 N. Humboldt Ave. Willows, CA 95988 (530) 934-3316 https://www.fs.usda.gov/mendocino/
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Public Information 530-487-4602 firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.facebook.com/MendocinoNF
You can find the August Complex West Zone incident update including evacuation orders here:
Change in total acreage per the US forest service.
Current Situation:Today CAL FIRE entered into Unified Command on the August Complex West Zone with the Mendocino County and Humboldt County Sheriff Offices. CAL FIRE’S unified team and the U.S. Forest Service are engaged in a coordinated response to take suppressive action on the August Complex, which has been split into three zones to effectively provide a response for the communities at risk. Resources from across the state of California as well as Montana, Utah, Texas, and New Jersey have been assigned to assist on the August Complex West Zone. Today firefighters saw partly sunny skies with a smoky haze. Temperatures were in the low 90s for the lower elevations and near 80 degrees at higher elevations with relative humidity’s 10-25%. Tonight, temperatures will dip into the 50s and relative humidity will climb to a maximum at 65-80%. Potential for active fire behavior will continue through the night. Fire along the west flank is in alignment for multiple runs to the north in a series of drainages. Excessive smoke has hindered the operation of aerial firefighting resources, which is especially problematic because much of the terrain is steep and inaccessible to ground resources.
Evacuation Orders, Evacuation Warnings, and Road Closures:
Areas south of Casterlin Road, including all properties on Casterlin Road, to the Mendocino/ Trinity County Line and east of Dyerville Loop Road and Bell Springs Road to the county line.
All areas west of Bell Springs Road to Highway 101 spanning from Elk Creek Road / Dyerville Loop Road to the Mendocino / Trinity County Line in Southern Humboldt County. All areas east of Alderpoint Road spanning from Highway 36 to Casterlin Road, not including all properties on Casterlin Road.
Bell Springs road remains closed to the public
Alderpoint road at Dyerville Loop Road
Dyersville Loop Road at Fort Seward
Alderpoint road and Fort Seward road
Ruth, Zenia, Kettenpom, Hettenshaw Valley
Communities of Ruth Lake, Mad River, Forest Glen and Post Mountain
Zone S: South of the County Line, East of Bell Springs Rd, North of Bell Springs Creek and West of the North Fork of the Eel River.
Zone Q: South of the County Line, West and North of the North Fork of the Eel River and North and East of Bald Mountain road
Zone E: South of the county Line, East of the National Forest boundary, North of Forest Highway 7 and West of the county Line near the M2.
Zone N: North of the Middle Fork of the Eel River including the Eel River Ranger Station and Black Butte Store, West and South of the National Forest Boundary, East of Williams Creek.
Zone D: South and East of the Eel river, North of Bentley Basin and West of the National Forest Boundary
Zone C: North of the M1, East of the National Forest Boundary, south of Forest Highway 7.
Zone B: West of Evacuation Zone A, North of Jack Hollow Creek and Thatcher Creek, East of the Middle Fork of the Eel River, South of Green Lambert Canyon through Bentley Basin to the M1 and South of the M1, to include Timber Ridge, and Bentley Ridge, and Hayshed Basin.
Zone A: West of the county line, south of Anthony Peak and North of Hull Mountain.
Zone J: East of Elk Creek, North and West of the National Forest Boundary, South of Thatcher Creek.
Zone F: East of the National Forest boundary near Garcia Creek, South of Thatcher Creek, west of the County Line and North of the County Line on Hull Mountain.
Zone H: West of the National Forest Boundary, North of Thomas Creek and the Eel River, East of Twin Bridges Creek, South of Bald Mountain
Zone I: West of Elk Creek, South of Deep Hole Creek, North of the National Forest Boundary.
Zone W: West of the Eel River, north of Deep Hole Creek, east of Eden Valley including the entire valley floor, south of Eden Creek..
Zone U – South of the County Line, east and north of the East Branch of the South Fork of the Eel River, west of Bell Springs Rd.
Zone T – South of Bell Springs, east of Bell Springs Rd, north of Iron Peak and Simmerly Rd, west of the Eel River.
Zone R – West of and south of Mina Rd, south of the North Fork of Eel River, east of the Eel River.
Zone P – South of the County Line, east of Mina Rd, north of Hulls Valley Rd and west of Hulls Creek.
Zone O – South of the County Line, east of Hulls Creek, north of Mendocino Pass Rd, and west of Williams Creek
Zone L: South and West of Mendocino Pass Rd, West of The Middle Fork of the Eel River, north of Eel River Ranch Rd, East of Hill Rd and Short Creek Rd.
Zone K: West and North of the Middle Fork of the Eel River, East of Redwine Spring, South of Hill Rd and Eel River Ranch Rd.
Zone X: North of Eden Creek, East of Hearst Willits Rd, South and West of the Eel River.
Zone G: West of the County Line, North of the Eel River and Van Aresdale Reservoir, East of the Eel River, South of the National Forest Boundary.
Zone AB: South of the Middle Fork of the Eel River, west of Eden Creek, north of Salt Flat and east of Salt Creek
Zone AC: East of Brushy Mountain, south of the fire road on Salt Flat, west of Eden Valley and north of Bald Mountain
Zone AD: South and west of the Eel River, north of Foster Mountain Road, east of the ridge west of Willits Road
Zone AE: North of Twin Bridges Creek, east of the Eel River, south of Brushy Creek and west of Brushy Mountain
Private Driveway to Murphy Creek
Bell Springs closed to north bound traffic at Lundblade Ranch Road
Mina Road is closed to north bound traffic at the bridge over the North Fork of the Eel River
Mendocino Pass Road closed to east bound traffic just east of the Williams Creek Bridge
Hearst Willits Road at the bridge, closed to east bound traffic
Covelo High School, 76280 High School Street, Covelo, Ca
Humboldt County Fairgrounds, 1250 5th Street, Ferndale, CA 95536
Southern Trinity High School Located at 600 Van Duzen Road
Animal Evacuation Centers
Small Animals: Ukiah Animal Shelter 298 Plant Rd. Ukiah, CA 95482
Small and Large Animals: Round Valley Rodeo Grounds 22830 S. Airport Rd. Covelo, CA
You can find maps of the areas under evacuation warnings and orders below: