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.
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.