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Chips Fire 8/24/2012 update

Feather Publishing
8/24/2012
8:00 p.m. update
Wind still a challenge for firefighters

Fire Status: In preparation for a wind event that will hit the fire area on Sunday and Monday, firefighters will execute a burnout operation on the eastern flank of the fire. This will enlarge the active fire area from the north fork of the Feather River area around Seneca to Caribou.

With winds predicted to gust up to 30 miles per hour Sunday, firefighters will light the unburned section in night operations on Friday and Saturday when the winds are favorable and temperatures moderate. Introducing fire into this area will create a low intensity burn in an area that has been difficult for firefighters to contain. Crews will light off of containment lines and allow the fire to creep back into the active fire area, removing critical fuels that could create a high intensity burn. Firefighters will secure and patrol containment lines along the eastern flank and continue mopping up control lines around the fire area.

Several small fires spotted over control lines today, the largest is approximately 100 acres that jumped control lines in the Yellow Creek area. Crews on the ground were able to attack the spot with the assistance from a DC-10. The fire, which is still within contingency lines, is expected to be contained by the end of night operations.

Crews on the western flank in the Chips Creek drainage continue working slowly and methodically to build line in difficult terrain. The Infra-red mapping tool carried by the Cobra helicopter continues to aide firefighters in identifying hot spots in the area. While crews are working from north to south, another set of hot shots will work on hand line construction heading north to Mount Hope. Helicopters continue to provide air support to areas where it is unsafe for firefighters to engage the fire directly.

Smoke: Smoke will continue to be present in the fire area and surrounding communities. With several large fires in the area contributing to lower air quality, residents can experience eye irritation, respiratory issues and aggravated heart and lung health problems. These can impact children and older adults more severely. Residents are encouraged to get more information on air quality in their area by visiting: http://airnow.gov/index.cfm action=airnow.local state&stateid=5&tab=0 Additionally, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) offers general health information for people in and around wildfire areas. For more information on how to mitigate the effects of smoke and other fire related issues, please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Wildfires/

Evacuations and Closures: No changes have occurred to evacuations at this time. The Plumas County Sheriff's Department continues to enforce Mandatory Evacuations for the communities of Canyon Dam and the Big Meadows area. A Voluntary Evacuation is in place for Rush Creek, and an Advisory is in effect for Prattville residents for the potential threat of the fire to the area.

An evacuation Center continues to be available at the Chester Memorial Hall on Gay Street. For more information, please go to: http://www.countyofplumas.com/CivicAlerts.aspx AID=536

Additional Fire Information: Call (530) 283-3593 and (530) 283-3288 between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.


9:30 a.m. update
Chips fire now 63,160 acres and 55% contained. Full containment expected August 31.

Firefighters worked on a burnout during the night to protect the community of Seneca and strengthen containment lines on the eastern flank of fire around Kirkham ravine. This area was prepared for burnout by heavy aircraft, including a DC-10, which dropped approximately 25,830 gallons of retardant outside containment lines. On the fire line, crews initiated a low intensity backburn to remove the fuel in the area and secure a containment line around the north fork of the Feather River near Seneca in preparation for high winds through the weekend.

Containment and mop-up continued on small spot fires that resulted from yesterday's gusty afternoon winds. Firefighters were able to identify several spots in and outside of containment lines around the fire perimeter and immediately begin working them with hand crews and engines providing water to the areas. Each spot identified was contained and crews continue to patrol fire lines.

Weather across the fire area should return to seasonal averages today which will allow firefighters to prepare for higher winds this weekend. The burnout operation started last night is a critical location within contingency lines to prepare for the strong southwest winds on Sunday and Monday which could gust up to 30 miles per hour. Crews will strengthen control lines by continuing mop-up operations into the fire area around the perimeter.

In the southwestern section of the fire several hot shot crews will work on containment lines along the fire's edge. Those teams will continue constructing hand line around the Chips Creek drainage which continues to produce heat and creep west. Because of the topography of the area, infra-red mapping will also be utilized to identify hot spots and support firefighting efforts on the ground.

Smoke: Smoke will continue to be present in the fire area and surrounding communities. With several large fires in the area contributing to lower air quality, residents can experience eye irritation, respiratory issues and aggravated heart and lung health problems. These can impact children and older adults more severely. Residents are encouraged to get more information on air quality in their area by visiting: http://airnow.gov/index.cfm action=airnow.local state&stateid=5&tab=0 Additionally, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) offers general health information for people in and around wildfire areas. For more information on how to mitigate the effects of smoke and other fire related issues, please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Wildfires/

Evacuations and Closures: No changes have occurred to evacuations at this time. The Plumas County Sheriff's Department continues to enforce Mandatory Evacuations for the communities of Canyon Dam and the Big Meadows area. A Voluntary Evacuation is in place for Rush Creek, and an Advisory is in effect for Prattville residents for the potential threat of the fire to the area.

An evacuation Center continues to be available at the Chester Memorial Hall on Gay Street. For more information, please go to: http://www.countyofplumas.com/CivicAlerts.aspx AID=536

Community Meetings: A community meeting will be held tonight at 5:00 p.m. at the Twain Community Park, 130 Twain Store Road, Twain, CA.

6:30 a.m. update
Fire managers report the Chips Fire held steady at 63,147 acres over night. The estimate of containment has increased to 55%. Full containment is still projected for August 31.
Seven structures have been destroyed by the Chips Fire. Suppression costs are approaching $30 million.
There are 1,176 firefighting and support personnel assigned to the Chips Fire. That represents an increase of 30 personnel in the past 24 hours.
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