Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Fire Updates: Momument Fire Continues to Spread, Parts of State Route 36 Open to Controlled Traffic

Posted By on Tue, Aug 10, 2021 at 11:45 AM

A handful of fires east of Humboldt continued to grow overnight with minimal containment, bringing air quality and travel impacts as far west as the coast, with State Route 299 still closed in Trinity County and no timetable for reopening. Parts of State Route 36 have reopened to controlled traffic. Overall hot, dry conditions are expected to complicate fire suppression efforts.

Here's a brief look at each and what you need to know.

The Fires

The Monument Fire, 57,936 acres, 3 percent contained
Located a half mile west of Big Bar along State Route 299 east of Willow Creek, the Monument Fire was sparked by lightning July 30 and spread from 53,019 acres overnight to 57.936 this morning, with evacuation orders in effect for Junction City, Red Hill, Canyon Creek, Coopers Bar, Big Bar, Del Loma, Big Flat, Helena, Cedar Flat, and Burnt Ranch. For information on evacuation sites and animal shelters visit the Trinity County Sheriff's Office Facebook page here. "With more anticipated hot, dry weather and shifting winds this week, the potential exists for fire crews to experience extreme fire activity," today's update states. "Crews will scout and monitor the perimeter as fire behavior may present them with uphill runs and long-range spotting during the heat of the day." Get more information here and a map of the fire's footprint here.

The McFarland Fire, 33,528 acres, 33 percent contained

Sparked by lightning July 29 on McFarland Ridge south of State Route 36, the fire is burning in timberlands with fuels with historically low moisture levels in an area that hasn't burned in more than 50 years. "Today firefighters are mopping up and strengthening the northwest perimeter with burning near Dubakella Mountain to secure the control line and prevent the fire from crossing Highway 36 and moving northwest towards the Post Mountain and Trinity Pines communities," the update states. Good progress is being made and Highway 36 will be opened with a pilot car escort as of 10 a.m. this morning." Evacuation warnings are in place for the community of Wildwood, the Post Mountain/Trinity Pines community, the Platina community and parts of western Shasta County. The estimated containment date is Aug. 21. Find the latest information here.

River Complex 2021, 28,693 acres, 7 percent contained

Located in the Salmon/Scott River Ranger District of the Klamath National Forest, the complex consists of multiple lightning fires sparked in dry timber and brush July 30. The full complex, which stretches more than 28,000 acres, includes 22 fires, six of which have been fully contained. Another fire was added to the complex on Aug. 7. " Fire expected to continue backing with low to moderate fire behavior into the communities of Cecilville and Summerville," an update reads. As of Aug. 9, the last update, evacuation orders were in effect for Cecilville, with warnings in place for Godfried, Blue Ridge, Black Bear, Uncle Sam Mine, Eddy Gulch Road, Forks of Salmon and Sawyers Bar. There is currently no estimated date of containment. Find more information here.

The McCash Fire: 1,438 acres, 1 percent containment

Sparked by lightning on July 31, the McCash fire is burning near Somes Bar in Siskiyou County in an area of timber growth with an understory of tall grass and brush. It threatens significant cultural sites for the Karuk Tribe, as well as some structures on private lands. "Implement full suppression tactics of confine and contain to minimize fire spread. Construct direct/indirect lines where safe to do so," an update reads. The current estimated containment date is Sept. 29. Find more information here.


State Route 299:  Closed from approximately 4 miles west of Burnt Ranch to approximately 7 miles west of Weaverville, near Junction City. There is currently no estimated time for when the roadway will be reopened.

State Route 36: Now under one way traffic control from approximately 3 miles east of State Route 3 to approximately 6 miles west of Wildwood due to wildfire.

For the most up to date road information, visit CalTrans' road information site here.

Air Quality
For the latest air quality information, click here and here.

Here's the North Coast Unified Air Quality Managment District's rundown for Humboldt County as of Aug. 9:

 Eureka (including Scotia to Trinidad) – Good with periods of Moderate conditions
 Kneeland – Good to Moderate with periods of USG to Unhealthy possible
 Willow Creek – Good to Moderate with periods of USG to Unhealthy possible
 Hoopa –Moderate with periods of USG to Unhealthy possible
 Orleans – Moderate with periods of USG to Unhealthy possible
 Weitchpec – Moderate with periods of USG to Unhealthy possible
 Garberville – Good to Moderate with periods of USG conditions
 Redway – Good to Moderate with periods of USG conditions

"Good" — air quality is satisfactory and poses little or no risk
"Moderate" — Sensitive individuals should limit prolonged or heavy exertion "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups" — Sensitive groups should reduce prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion
"Unhealthy" — Sensitive groups should avoid all prolonged or heavy outdoor exertion
"Very Unhealthy" — Everyone should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion
"Hazardous" — Everyone should avoid any outdoor activity
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About The Author

Kimberly Wear

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

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