The burnout operation around Seneca was successful last night. Night crews began lighting off of hand constructed fire line as soon as they arrived on scene, finishing early this morning. This action has reduced fuels around the small mountain community and will give more security to homes and historical structures within the active fire area. Firefighters will begin mop-up operations around Seneca today, removing any trees that pose immediate hazards to structures.
The Sheriff's Office as of 1000 hours is lifting the Sheriff's Advisement for Prattville. The Mandatory Evacuation Order for Rocky Point Campground, Big Meadows, AlmanorBoat Ramp, Almanor Dam has been lifted to Advisory Notification for Rush Creek has been lifted. Carbon Road to Butt Lake Dam from Highway 70 "Hard Closure" Rush Creek Road from Highway 70 - "Soft Closures" Seneca Road, Humbug/Humboldt Road from Highway 89 - "Hard Closure" Butt Lake Dam, Ohio Valley Road, Butt Lake Road, Humbug/Humboldt Road from Highway 89- "Hard Closure".
Smoke will continue to be present over the fire area in the next several days as pockets of unburned fuels within containment lines catch fire. Crews continually monitor these fires to ensure they remain low intensity burns that meet firefighting objectives. Aerial resources will be utilized to support suppression efforts within the burn area when necessary.
Firefighters will resume mopping-up 300 feet into the fire area as well as patrolling the perimeter for spot fires. The probability of ignition remains high due to low fuel moisture and consistently high temperatures. Therefore, it is critical that firefighters mop-up at least 300 feet into the interior of the fire area so hot spots will not escape containment lines.
A unit dedicated to repairing ground disturbances associated with fire suppression efforts will continue working today. They will be constructing water bars on bulldozer lines around the fire to prevent soil erosion as well as chipping vegetation along road systems. The division is also tasked with removing hazard trees along access roads.
The US Forest Service has created a Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team to address emergency soil stabilization actions to reduce the immediate risks of post-fire erosion. They will also evaluate long-term restoration and recovery of the burned forest ecosystem. Additionally, safety of the public and USFS employees in the post-burned area is of utmost importance so there may be a need to close some areas until hazards from dead trees along roads, trails and adjacent to administrative sites can be removed. Mid-term and long-term risks that burned trees pose will be considered during the evaluation of post-fire salvage options.
Evacuations and Closures: The Plumas County Sheriff's Department has issued an update to area evacuations effective at 10:00 a.m. August 29, 2012. The Advisement for Prattville has been lifted. The Mandatory Evacuation Order for Rocky Point Campground, Big Meadows, Almanor Boat Ramp, Almanor Day Use Area, Camp Connery and Canyon Dam has been lifted to Advisory. The Voluntary Evacuation Notification for Rush Creek has been lifted. Seneca remains under Mandatory evacuation.
The Plumas and Lassen National Forests continue to maintain area Closures within and surrounding the Chips fire area. This includes the following area of the Pacific Crest Trail: The PCT is officially closed from Three Lakes (in the Bucks Lake Wilderness) on the Plumas National Forest northbound to the Cold Spring trailhead at the Humbug Road (Plumas County Road 307) on the Lassen National Forest. Additionally, using the Caribou Road (Forest Route 27N26) is prohibited, as the area is also officially closed.
Hikers and equestrians are advised to avoid travel on the portion of the PCT from Bucks Summit, north to Hwy 36. In order to re-route themselves most expeditiously, at Bucks Summit, northbound trail users may travel on Plumas County Road 414 east to Quincy, pick up Highway 70/89 to Chester and then Highway 36 west to resume the trail. Southbound travelers may reverse the process.
Hikers may also use Plumas County Transit between Quincy and Chester, available weekdays only. The transit schedule can be found at http://www.plumastransit.com/qcy%20to%20chester%2023.html
Community Meeting: A community meeting will be held Friday, August 31 at 6:00 p.m. at the Chester Memorial Hall, 225 Gay Street, Chester, California.Additional Fire Information: Call (530) 283-3593 and (530) 283-3288 between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.