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Chips Fire 8/13/2012 update

Feather Publishing
8/13/2012
10:00 p.m. update

The Plumas County Sheriff issued a Voluntary Evacuation for Canyondam, Big Meadows, and Rocky Point Campground at 5 PM this evening. The Sheriff’s Advisement for the other communities along Highway 89 including Prattville, Almanor, and West Almanor remain in effect (see more details in Evacuation Section below).

Tonight crews will continue to work through the night to strengthen the containment line using both direct tactics near the edge of the fire, and indirect tactics in areas with steep terrain. North containment lines along the Humbug Road have held for more than 48 hours and will continue to be improved. No movement occurred along Highway 70 and the west flank.

New contingency lines along Highway 89 and north of Humbug Road are being improved with dozers and other heavy equipment. CalFire and Office of Emergency Services engines continue to arrive and will comprise a robust structural protection group for the communities threatened by the Chips Fire.

The 940 structures that are considered threatened are in the following communities: Lake Almanor West, Almanor, Prattville, the Big Meadows subdivision, Canyondam, Belden, Rush Creek, and Seneca, and structures along Caribou Road. Please note, the increase in structures threatened is the result of better structure mapping not additional communities being threatened.

PG&E representatives are working closely with the fire management team, and are prepared to de-energize lines as needed for firefighting efforts, including the use of aircraft.

The fire was less active today but continued to move northeast towards Butt Valley Reservoir. In several locations the fire backed into the North Fork of the Feather River above the Caribou Road. Increased smoke drifted throughout the region and the Sacramento Valley as clouds and easterly winds prevented the transport of smoke over the Sierra Nevada range.

Smoke will remain in low lying areas this evening due to down-canyon winds and will settle into the Sacramento Valley.

Motorists are encouraged to use caution on roads within the vicinity of the fire, particularly on Highway 70 and Highway 89 due to increased fire traffic. Travelers should check highway conditions regularly at 800-427-ROAD or www.dot.ca.gov.

Smoke will continue to pose health concerns for the public. Residents are encouraged to visit the “Protect Yourself from Smoke” website for smoke protection information at http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Wildfires/. Local air quality conditions and forecasts are available at http://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.main.

For tips on how to prepare for a potential evacuation and what to do if you are evacuated, residents in and near evacuation areas are encouraged to visit the “Ready, Set, Go” website at http://www.inciweb.org/incident/article/3052/15480/.


10:00 a.m. update

A community meeting will be held in Chester at the Almanor Recreation Center (450 Meadowbrook Loop) at 6pm. Fire management officials will provide an update on the fire and answer questions.

Issued this morning is a Sheriff’s advisement for the communities along the Highway 89 corridor from Canyondam north to Lake Almanor West. Residents are encouraged to make an evacuation plan, to include the gathering of photos, important documents and priceless keepsakes. Part of the plan is to discuss with your family a location you will travel to, should the need arise to evacuate, and to ensure you have also made arrangements for the care and safekeeping of your pets.

Crews worked through the night to strengthen the containment line using both direct tactics near the edge of the fire, and indirect tactics in areas with steep terrain. The fire remained active and spread downslope to the west into the Yellow Creek drainage. It also moved to the western shore of Butt Valley Reservoir.

 

Crews conducted a burnout near Humbug Road to remove unburned fuels ahead of the active fire front, which should help prevent the fire from spreading further north. Crews also made progress securing containment lines on Red Hill. Fire activity was minimal along the western and southern flanks.

New contingency lines are being established along Highway 89 and north of Humbug Road. Crews may conduct additional burnouts along the northern flank between the active fire front and Humbug Road if conditions are favorable. Of the 90 engines assigned to this fire, a strike team of engines has arrived and another strike team is on the way to the fire. These strike teams will be strategically positioned in the threatened communities, specifically for structure protection.

The 640 structures that are considered threatened include the following communities: Lake Almanor West, Almanor, Pratville, the Big Meadows subdivision, Canyondam, Belden, Rush Creek, and Seneca, and structures along Caribou Road.

PG&E representatives are working closely with the fire management team, and are prepared to de-energize lines as needed for firefighting efforts, including the use of aircraft.

Fire Behavior and Smoke:

The fire is expected to back downslope to the western edge of Butt Valley Reservoir today. Spotting ahead of the fire may occur this afternoon. Smoke will remain in low lying areas this morning due to downcanyon winds. As temperatures increase, the smoke is expected to rise and produce a column. Southwest winds are expected to contribute to active fire spread this afternoon and push the smoke northeast of the fire area.

8:00 a.m. update

Chips Fire grows to 35,233 acres; just 12% contained
Click here to view the most recent Chips Fire map

The Chips Fire made a run to the north yesterday south of the Little Grizzly camping area and was held by crews at the Humbug Road containment line. Crews attempting to improve old containment line from Yellow Creek Camp to Butt Valley Reservoir were forced to pull off the line due to increased fire activity late in the afternoon. Contingency line north of Humbug road is being improved.

The fire spotted into Digger Creek near Caribou yesterday and made a push north and up-slope away toward the western shore of Butt Lake. The fire has reached the western shore of Butt Lake. Crews working on Red Hill continue to make excellent progress on securing containment lines in this area. The fire remained quiet along Highway 70 where crews continue to patrol and mop-up hot spots.

New contingency lines are being established along Highway 89 and north of Humbug Road as further protection of communities in along the western shore of Lake Almanor. Office of Emergency Service's engine strike teams are actively working in west Almanor communities to assist residents with making their homes defensible should spot fires occur in the lake shore area.

PG&E representatives are working closely with the fire management team, and are prepared to de-energize lines as needed for firefighting efforts.

A community meeting was held at the Canyon Dam Market this evening to allow fire management officials to provide an update on the fire and to answer questions.

The west side of the fire remained very active late into the evening yesterday. Approximately three and half miles of burn out was completed last night along south of the Humbug Road.

Crews continue to make good progress with direct line construction and capturing spot fires on the northern flank. They have made significant progress constructing direct lines from Yellow Creek towards Butt Lake. The Little Grizzly dispersed camping area and High Lake OHV Area are closed. The communities of Belden, Little Haven and Maggie's Trailer Park are on a precautionary evacuation notice.

A voluntary evacuation notice has been issued for the Rush Creek area and the area south of Highway 89 that includes Butt Valley Reservoir and Humbug Reservoir. Residents along Highway 70 from Tobin to Twain are encouraged to begin developing evacuation plans. A one mile, one lane traffic closure remains in effect on Highway 70. Motorists should use caution on Hwy 70 in the fire area. Expect delays and traffic controls. Portions of the Pacific Crest, Yellow Creek, Ben Lomond, and Indian Creek hiking trails remain closed.

Crews will continue to construct direct and indirect containment line to the north, northeast in the Humbug Valley and northern portion of the fire to Butt Valley Reservoir. Resources will continue to scout out containment line oppertunities at the south end of Butt Lake Reservoir. Fire fighters will continue to patrol and hold the fire along the Highway 70 corridor and Caribou Road.

Additional contigency lines are being improved along Highway 89 and from Canyon Dam area south towards Highway 70. Structure protection engine crews will continue to help prepare areas along west Lake Almanor for protection.

The smoke column from the chips fire is visible from space. Click here to see the satelite view.

 

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