The Plumas County Sheriff's Department has upgraded the evacuation notice for the Chips Fire. Prattville is now under mandatory evacuation. A Voluntary Evacuation is in place for Almanor. An Advisory is in effect to all West Almanor and East Shore residents (Hwy. 147) advising of the potential threat of the fire to the areas.
The Ponderosa Fire is getting closer to Plumas County as it is spreading to the southeast and affecting many of our neighbors so we have begun online coverage of this fire as well.
The Ponderosa Fire is listed at 24,323 acres and is 50% contained.
50 structures have been destroyed.
Highway 44 will be opened today.
A hard closure remains on Forward Road at Manton Corners and Wilson Hill Road at Digger Creek.
Evacuation warnings have been issued for Highway 36 from Ponderosa Sky Ranch to Lassen Lodge and Mineral communities.
|Evacuations for the following areas in Manton, Shingletown & Viola:
Evacuation warnings have been issued for Hwy 36 from Ponderosa Sky Ranch to Lassen Lodge communities.
Come back to our Wildfire page for futher updates...
For more information click go to the Calfire Ponderosa link.
9:00 P.M. Update
62,541 acres with 37% containment. 1,174 personnel
Fire Status: As expected, winds today became stronger, averaging twelve to thirteen miles per hour across the fire area, with 24 mile per hour gusts. This resulted in increased fire activity particularly to the east of Butt Valley Reservoir. Large amounts of interior fuels burned, with wind funneling the fire up the North Fork Feather River towards the spillway at Canyon Dam. Several spot fires occurred outside the fire perimeter, across Highway 89. All observed spot fires were contained. Crews and engines will continue to patrol the area tonight, particularly the communities of Canyon Dam, the Big Meadows area, and Prattville, as well as throughout the Seneca area to watch for and extinguish additional spot fires.
Firing operations that were accomplished the past two nights contributed significantly to stopping the fire's spread across Highway 89 and into the Canyon Dam area today. Removing ground fuels at night, under favorable conditions, provided for a reduction of fire behavior when winds materialized today.
Tomorrow, winds are expected to minimize as a dry air mass moves into the area.
In the Red Hill area, the fire became active again today, limiting the extent of planned burnout activities. Minimal firing was conducted, however, in an effort to prevent the fire from moving towards the Red Hill Communications Site.
Along the west flank of the fire, hotshot crews continue to slowly and methodically build fire line directly along the fire's edge, working from north to south towards the Chips Creek drainage. A Wildland Fire Module, which is a specialized crew of ten people trained to work self-sufficiently in the back country for extended periods, was inserted into the south-west area of the fire today. This crew will camp near Morris Lake, and seek opportunities to construct fire line into the Chips Creek drainage working from south to north. A second Wildland Fire Module is expected to arrive tomorrow, and will join the crew currently on-site. Also, infra-red mapping will be conducted tomorrow on this portion of the fire to pin-point hot spots for the crew to focus on extinguishing.
Evacuations and Closures: Per the Plumas County Sheriff's Department, Mandatory Evacuations are in place for the communities of Prattville, Canyon Dam and the Big Meadows area. A Voluntary Evacuation is in place for Almanor. An Advisory is in effect to all West Almanor and East Shore residents (Hwy. 147) advising of the potential threat of the fire to the areas. An evacuation Center is located at the Chester Memorial Hall on Gay Street. Highway 147 was closed earlier today, however, it has been re-opened to all traffic. Highway 89 from Butt Lake Road to 4.3 miles north of Greenville is closed to all traffic due to heavy smoke and a large amount of emergency equipment on the roadway. For more information, please go to: http://www.countyofplumas.com/DocumentCenter/View/8785
Community Meetings: A community meeting will be held tomorrow evening at 7:00 p.m. at the Lake Almanor West Community Park, 177 Lake Almanor West Drive, Lake Almanor West, CA 96020.
4:45 p.m. update
Highway 89 remains closed to all traffic from Butt Valley Road on the north to 4.3 miles north of Greenville on the south. This road closure is due to heavy smoke limiting visibility and as well as a large amount of emergency equipment moving along the roadway. Please continue to check for updates, as conditions are subject to change.
HIghway 147 is open as of 8 p.m. tonight.
Update: Highway 36 opened sometime during the night of August 21.... It was closed from Paynes Creek Post Office to 2.2 miles west of Mineral due to a wildland fire. Mineral residents were allowed access driving home from the Chester area through the roadblock at the junction of Highway 36 and Highway 32.
1:45 p.m. update
Chips Fire now 52,738 acres
Click here to see the most current Chips Fire map
10:00 a.m. update
Another successful burnout operation was executed last night along the eastern border of Butt Valley Reservoir. This completes a half circle burnout around the active northeast section of the fire in preparation for today's weather which includes strong, gusty winds out of the southwest.
Burnouts from Sunday night have progressed up to two miles into the fire area, meeting objectives to reduce and remove unburned fuels between the head of the fire and neighboring communities. As afternoon winds pick up, firefighters will deepen and reinforce control lines along Highway 89. Engines will also patrol the communities of Prattville, Canyon Dam and Big Meadows to watch for fallout from burning material. Efforts will continue throughout the day to strength control lines from the north end of Butt Valley Reservoir to the burnout line in the Prattville area.
While line construction and mop-up continue from Belden up to Caribou, a small area around Red Hill continues to be an issue for firefighters who will patrol the control line and watch for spot fires.
The Reading Fire is 27,887 acres and is now 79% contained.
Yesterday, the fire held within all lines on the fire. Firefighters continue to hold, patrol and mop up. Firelines were completed on the eastern part of the fire. With strong southwest winds, the eastern perimeter may be exposed to winds that may challenge these firelines. Fire fighters on these lines will be keeping a watchful eye on the line and outside the fireline so they can quickly respond to flare up or hotspots. Along the southern and eastern flanks helicopters were used to extinguish hot spots and support crews.
Crews will continue repairing the Pacific Crest Trail and other areas impacted by fire suppression. Minimum Impact Suppression Techniques are being utilized within the park. Crews are prepared for initial attack in Lassen Volcanic National Park and are available for structure protection. Snag removal will continue on the Lassen Volcanic National Park Highway.
A meeting to discuss the Chips Fire was held 12:30 p.m., Aug. 20, 2012 at Hamilton Branch Fire District.
The fire has been upgraded to a type 1 fire and is now being managed by California Intradistrict Management Team 4.
“We are very fortunate to have an incredible amount of resources from California. Due to the complexity of the fire, we are able to bring in additional resources as needed,” said Team 4 Incident Manager Rocky Oplinger.
The volunteer team from the American Red Cross of Northeast California, Almanor Basin Branch went into action Sunday, Aug. 19, in preparation for community members displaced due to fire evacuations in Canyon Dam.
“We began arriving at 5:50 p.m. and had shelter operations at the Chester Memorial Hall ready to go by 7 p.m.,” lead volunteer Linda White said Aug. 20.
Shortly after going operational, the volunteers were visited by Plumas County District 3 Supervisor Sherrie Thrall and Plumas County Office of Emergency Services Director Jerry Sipe.
8:45 p.m. update
This Modis Satellite photo from the Aqua Satellite on 8/19/2012 highlights the smoke from the many fires in the area.
Fire Status: Good progress was made on the fire today. Lines along the southeast from Belden up to Caribou are holding with the exception of a small section near the Red Hill area where crews had some difficulty today. Work will continue in this area into tonight and tomorrow. Burnout operations completed last night to the northeast of the fire progressed to one quarter mile from the head of the main fire, meeting the objectives of the operation by reducing the unburned fuels between the head of the fire and neighboring communities.
Crews continued mop up near the burnout operation in Yellow Creek. Very little aircraft was used due poor visibility from increased smoke in the area. Much of the smoke was from neighboring fires, particularly the Pass Fire in Mendocino County. Decreased fire behavior was experienced due to the smoke which prevented the fire from heating up during the afternoon when fire is usually most active.
Tonight's Actions: Crews this evening will complete burnout operations and secure, strengthen, and mop-up control lines in the area southwest of Canyon Dam. Engines will patrol the communities of Prattville, Canyon Dam and Big Meadows to watch for fallout from burning material.
Evacuations and Closures: Highways 89 and 147 have been reopened to all traffic. The mandatory evacuation order issued by the Plumas County Sheriff's office is still in place for Canyon Dam and Big Meadows. For more information, please see: http://www.countyofplumas.com/DocumentCenter/View/8785
Smoke: 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.
Community Meetings: A community meeting will be held tomorrow in Clear Creek Community Park at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday evening.
8 p.m. update
Highway 89 is now open to through traffic. All evacuations and other area closures remain in effect. Please continue to watch for updates and changes in road status as conditions are subject tochange depending on the fire situation. The Chips Fire has now burned over 50,860 acres. The good news is the containment has gone up to 37%, meaning the back burns conducted by the firefighters are working.
3:15 p.m. update
Additional resources will be arriving today. A Wildland Fire Use Module (a team of specialized fire personnel proficient in wildland fire use planning and operations) will be coming in today and will be working the southwest flank of the fire. Support efforts will continue on the west flank building and strengthening line from north to south.
Firing operations will not occur during the day. Crews will mop-up and improve lines from night-time firing operations, letting the fire back into the main fire to prepare for Tuesdays predicted increase in winds.
Stumps that remained under the Seneca Road when it was built were observed burning several nights ago. These stump holes collapsed the road, which was then closed. Plumas County road engineers will assess opportunities for repairs today.
The Reading Fire is now 27,887 acres and 51% containedClick here to view the current Reading Fire Map.
Yesterday hand crews continued direct line construction from the Cinder Peak area towards Prospect Peak. Crews continue to patrol from Hat Lake north towards Fantastic Lava Beds. Firefighters held, patrolled and mopped up from Hat Lake to the Fantastic Lava Beds following MIST tactics on all divisions inside the park. Crews began repairing the Pacific Crest Trail and other areas impacted by fire suppression. Snag removal continued today on the Lassen Volcanic National Park Highway.
The Reading Fire is 51% contained. When referring to a fire, the difference between a fire being contained or controlled can be unclear. When a fire is contained a fuel break had been completed around the fire manually by hand line, and/or mechanically by dozer line. These breaks may also include the use of natural barriers such as rocky outcroppings. When a fire has been controlled, the fireline is secure enough so that flare-ups within the fire perimeter will not break through the line. Therefore, just because a line is contained does not mean that the fire is controlled.
As of 7:00 p.m. tonight, the Plumas County Sheriff's Office will initiate a Mandatory Evacuation of the communities of Canyon Dam and Big Meadows. Additionally, the Plumas County Sheriff's Office will escalate to a Voluntary Evacuation for the communities of Almanor and Prattville. West Almanor remains under Advisement.
Highway 89 will be closed with a hard closure from Butt Lake Road to the Hwy 89 / Old Haun Road intersection north of Greenville. Highway 147 from Canyon Dam to County Road A13 will be closed to through traffic. It will be open to residents only. Also, Old Haun Road will be closed to all traffic.
This change in evacuation status is due to a planned change in strategy for fighting the Chips Fire. The management team has planned an offensive approach to stopping the fire through implementing a series of burn out operations along pre-planned and prepared dozer lines. This will allow firefighters to 'fight fire with fire', reducing fuels between the main body of fire and the communities and infrastructure being protected. In order to provide for both firefighter and public safety during these activities, fire managers ask residents to please comply with the Sheriff's Department orders to evacuate. The Evacuation Center will be located at the Memorial Hall Center in Chester on Gay StreetFire activity increased today as expected when the fire moved up the Clear Creek drainage, approximately one quarter mile from Ohio Valley. Spotting occurred on the east side of the north fork of the Feather River near the northeast corner of the fire. Crews on the south end of the fire continued working to construct line near Red Hill. Completion of fireline in this area is expected by the end of the day tomorrow. Crews patrolled the southeast side of the fire near Caribou and held, improved and mopped up line on the north side of the fire.
Tonight's Actions: In order to take advantage of lower temperatures and higher humidities during the night-time, burnout operations will be conducted southwest of Canyon Dam tonight. Firing crews will begin burnout operations at approximately 7:30 p.m. along pre-planned and prepared dozer lines, slowly putting fire on the ground.
Community Meetings: Two community meetings will be held tomorrow, August 20, 2012. The first meeting will be held at Lake Almanor West Community Park at 10:30 a.m., 177 Lake Almanor West Drive, Lake Almanor West, CA 96020. The second meeting will be held at the Hamilton Branch Fire Station at 12:30 p.m., 791 Big Springs Road Hamilton Branch, CA 96137.
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