Thursday, October 1, 2020

August Complex Efforts Hindered by People Staying in Evacuation Zones

Posted By on Thu, Oct 1, 2020 at 2:52 PM

click to enlarge 120635877_2802125383352836_8514387086582842376_o.jpg
August Complex: 955,513 acres with 51 percent containment

The August Complex is continuing to grow to the north and was as the lightning-caused blaze that started more than a month ago moves closer to the 1 million acre mark.

According to this morning's update, "firefighting and public safety operations are being challenged by the public remaining in areas under evacuation orders."

Evacuation orders are in place for Forest Glen, Hettenshaw Valley, Island Mountain, Kettenpom, Ruth and Ruth Lake, Mad River, Post Mountain/Trinity Pines, Three Forks, Zenia, and all areas south of State Route 36 to the Trinity County line.

Evacuation warnings for Humboldt County remain the same: areas east of Alderpoint Road to the Trinity County border and south of Showers Pass Road to Mountain Creek.

A release from the forest service notes that many of firefighters and support staff working on the August Complex are from the region, with some having to evacuate their homes in Ruth and Mad River.

Find more information about the fire here.

Read the U.S. Forest Service release below.
Firefighting and public safety operations are being challenged by the public remaining in areas under evacuation orders. Evacuation orders are in place for Forest Glen, Hettenshaw Valley, Island Mountain, Kettenpom, Ruth and Ruth Lake, Mad River, Post Mountain/Trinity Pines, Three Forks, Zenia, and all areas south of State Route 36 to the Trinity County line.

California Standard Statewide Evacuation Terminology defines an evacuation order as a lawful order to leave the area now due to an immediate threat to life. The area is lawfully closed to public access. Failure to evacuate diverts firefighters and public safety officers from protecting homes to assisting residents who should have evacuated. An evacuation warning indicates there is a potential threat to life or property. Residents should be prepared to leave quickly if conditions deteriorate. Those with pets, livestock, or other situations that require additional time to evacuate should leave as soon as possible when the warning is issued.

The Trinity County Sheriff issued a new evacuation warning for the Wildwood area on Wednesday, including Peanut and the area south of State Route 299. Evacuation warnings have also been issued for the Bear Wallow and Friend Mountain area, including Rowdy Bear.

The Humboldt County Sheriff issued an evacuation warning for areas east of Alderpoint Road to the Trinity County border and south of Showers Pass Road to Mountain Creek. Roadblocks remain in place for firefighter and public safety as well as property protection.

Many of the firefighters and support staff working on the August Complex are from the local area. They have evacuated their own homes in Ruth and Mad River. Firefighters live in Stonyford, Redding, and other nearby communities. This fire is personal; crews are working hard to support their family, friends, and neighbors.

The Mendocino Hotshots are slogging up steep slopes in the 100 degree heat to access areas that dozers and other equipment cannot reach. Crews are scheduled to work in shifts throughout the night, holding containment lines. While Mother Nature continues to hurl challenges of high winds, drought, and unseasonably hot temperatures, the firefighters are doing their best to provide for firefighter and public safety, assess and minimize risks, and implement sound tactical operations.

Hot and dry conditions will persist today, with temperatures again exceeding 100 degrees at lower elevations. Winds from the northwest are forecast for this morning, shifting to west winds in the afternoon. Dense smoke has settled over much of the fire, providing shade and moderating fire behavior. However, the smoke also limits aircraft operations.

Crews are increasing the width of existing containment lines on the east side of the fire and pushing forward constructing new lines on the north and west flanks. They are assessing structure protection needs in Hyampom and other communities to the north. There is still much work ahead, as the fire continues to grow to the north and west.    
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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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