Friday, August 24, 2018

UPDATE: 6 p.m. Pilot Car Available Today, Travelers Asked to 'Be on Time'

Posted By on Fri, Aug 24, 2018 at 10:43 AM

click to enlarge mill_fire.jpg
UPDATE: A pilot car will be available at 6 p.m. today. Those looking to travel the Highway 96 stretch between Weitchpec and Hoopa are asked to: “Be on time and ready to go.”

PREVIOUSLY:
The Mill Creek Fire interagency management team announced today that the noon pilot car will not be running today between Hoopa and Weitchpec due to fire activity.

The team is still reviewing whether it will be safe enough to conduct the State Route 96 run at 7 p.m. The blaze is continuing to create poor air quality conditions in the Hoopa Valley and other areas of the region.

The fire, first spotted Aug. 16, has grown to nearly 3,000 acres and is 43 percent contained. A $10,000 reward is being offered for information on the arson.


Release from the Mill Creek fire interagency management team:
FIRE UPDATE: Air quality in Hoopa Valley continues to be poor. Air quality measurements measured Unhealthy (Red) to very Unhealthy (purple). These levels affect not only smoke sensitive people but also the rest of the population. Unhealthy or worse air quality is expected to continue until the Mill Creek 1 Fire stops actively growing. Peak impacts occur around midday when the air has been as high as Hazardous for a number of hours. You can find a detailed description of the Air Quality Index at this site: wildlandfiresmoke.net/outlooks/HoopaValley-EurekaArea.

HIGHWAY 96: California State Highway 96 is closed from Bull Creek to Mill Creek due to fire behavior. Traffic is being redirected through Dowd Road. This is for the safety of the public as well as for crews and aerial resources working on the fire. However, if fire conditions permit, and it is safe to do so, an opportunity for the public to drive Highway 96, through the Mill Creek 1 Fire Road Closure has been established. Interagency co-operators are going to provide three openings daily, one in each direction at the designated time. Timeframes: 7:00 a.m. 12:00 (noon) and 6:00 p.m. A pilot car will escort travelers through the fire area. Please, be on time or you will miss the opportunity. Public safety is our priority. If there is an increase in fire activity or a possibility of falling / rolling debris dangers, travel through may be delayed or cancelled. As soon as it is safe for public travel the highway will be reopened.

OPERATIONS: Today on the fire, firefighters will continue to patrol and secure the southern flank and the Highway 96 corridor. Crews will construct direct fireline and conduct firing operations on the northeast corner of the fire to prevent further spread east of Mill Creek Road. Resources will continue to mop-up and secure completed line as conditions allow. Crews will prepare for future firing operations that will allow containment of the fire south of Deerhorn Road. A priority on the northeast flank is to prevent further impacts to the timber management areas.

Attention - The Mill Creek 1 Fire was caused by arson on Tribal lands near Hoopa, California. There is a $10,000 reward offered for information regarding the fire. Calls will be taken on an anonymous hotline by calling 1-800-468-4402.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Get the latest fire updates on the Hoopa Fire Department and Office of Emergency Services Facebook Page at: https://www.facebook.com/HoopaOES/ or check fire updates for Mill Creek 1, and throughout the country on Inciweb at: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6161/.
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Kimberly Wear

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Kimberly Wear is the assistant editor of the North Coast Journal.

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