Chips Fire 8/20/2012 update

Feather Publishing
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.

8:00 a.m. update

The Chips Fire is 47,040 acres and 32% contained.Click here to the most recent Chips Fire map.

Fire Status: Last night, crews completed several successful burnout operations. As the fire made a push to the north and north-east in the Clear Creek drainage, fire managers were able to complete firing operations from approximately 4 miles south of Canyon Dam, northwest to Butt Lake Road along the contingency line, when timing was crucial. Firing was also completed in Yellow Creek west of Soda Ravine towards Cottonwood Meadow. Fire Managers conduct firing operations at night to take advantage of the moderated fire behavior and lower relative humidities which increase the ability to control fire put on the ground. The north and south perimeters of the fire are looking good, with the southwest side continuing to creep.

Today's Actions: Today, crews will continue to patrol, mop-up and construct direct line where necessary near the north fork of the Feather River, and from the south end of the fire near Rogers Flat, northwest towards Morris Lake. On the southeast end of the fire, crews will prepare control lines for yesterday evening's firing operations and mop-up as necessary. Weather is expected to be similar to yesterday, but slightly warmer. Increased fire behavior is expected late in the afternoon to early in the evening. Heavier smoke will be present today with smoke lifting from the canyons and drainages slightly later in the day. Fire managers are prepared for a fire weather watch that has been issued for Tuesday.

Evacuations: 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 related links.

Community Meetings: Two community meetings will be held today, 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.

Additional Fire Information: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3052/ or call (530) 283-3593 and (530) 283-3288 between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.

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