Emergency

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Six Rivers Lightning Complex: Where to Get Help and How to Help the Helpers

Posted By on Thu, Aug 11, 2022 at 3:00 PM

Ceallaigh Kelley visits with her cat Brownie at an evacuation center in Willow Creek after both were evacuated from their home Saturday. - ALLIE HOSTLER
  • Allie Hostler
  • Ceallaigh Kelley visits with her cat Brownie at an evacuation center in Willow Creek after both were evacuated from their home Saturday.

UPDATE: The free food distribution scheduled for tomorrow by Food for People in collaboration with Pay it Forward Humboldt and the American Red Cross has been moved to Dream Quest, 100 Country Club Drive, and we've updated this story accordingly.

PREVIOUSLY:
In the face of tremendous need, with hundreds of residents displaced by a series of wild fires sparked by a lightning storm less than a week ago around Willow Creek, Humboldt County nonprofits and residents have stepped up.

Donations — from donuts and dog food to livestock foster placements and meals — have come pouring into a variety of relief organizations and nonprofits that have stepped in as a part of a multi-layered disaster response.


“I really want to thank the community — the individuals, the businesses — everyone who has stepped up, just again and again,” said Pay it Forward Humboldt Director Jessica Gregorio. “It’s a year thing now. But this community is amazing. I love it.”

With hundreds displaced — including dozens reportedly staying in an evacuation shelter set up by the American Red Cross — and the five fires collectively known as the Six Rivers Lightning Complex still uncontained, more help will likely be needed in what Humboldt-Del Norte CalFire Chief Kurt McCray warned will be “a long battle.” But so far, organizations have been able to meet the need.

Here’s a quick look at resources available for those in need and those who want to help:

Continue reading »

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Six Rivers National Forest Implements Emergency Closure Due to Wildfire

Posted By on Thu, Aug 11, 2022 at 8:11 AM

screen_shot_2022-08-11_at_8.08.45_am.png
The U.S. Forest Service announced yesterday that it is closing all roads, trails and land on in the Six Rivers National Forest Lower Trinity Ranger District immediately and indefinitely in an effort to protect the public and firefighters responding to the Six Rivers Lightning Complex Fire.

"Extreme fire behavior and fire perimeter spread are unpredictable, and they pose a serious threat to individuals who are near an uncontrolled fire," states a press release from Six Rivers National Forest. "Aircraft fire suppression tactics such as retardant drops and water buckets also pose a safety risk to the public. The area closure will keep the public out of the fire’s potential pathway, reduce the risk of human-caused fire, allow unobstructed movement of fire suppression personnel, thereby reducing the risk of public injury or death and improving firefighter effectiveness."

Under the emergency closure, only fire personnel are allowed access within the area and forest visitors are encouraged to seek alternative destinations.

Comprised of an estimated 10 to 12 fires initially sparked from 150 lightning strikes in the area on Aug. 5, the Six Rivers Lightning Complex currently consists of five active fires burning to the east and south of Willow Creek. Burning in rugged terrain with deep fuels, the fires have spread to more than 12,000 acres with 0 percent containment, prompting a host of evacuation orders and warnings, and threatening numbs communities.

For a detailed map of the closure area, click here, and find the full press release from Six Rivers National Forest copied below.

Continue reading »

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Six Rivers Fire at Nearly 11k Acres: New Evacuation Warning Issued, Fire Personnel More than Doubled

Posted By on Wed, Aug 10, 2022 at 2:23 PM

The Six Rivers Lightning Complex Fire threatening communities along the Trinity River is now just under 11,000 acres and remains at 0 percent containment, according to today’s update.

The complex, which initially comprised 12 fires sparked by lightning before dawn on Aug. 5, is now down to five active fires due to the “aggressive initial attack of Six Rivers National Forest firefighters and cooperating agencies,” according to the U.S. Forest Service.


“Overnight hard work by firefighters in combination with high humidity kept fire growth to a minimum,” this morning’s update states. “Higher humidity is expected today on the northern end of the fire and there is not a lot of anticipated movement today.


Fire personnel on scene has more than doubled since yesterday to 1,245.


The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services reports a new Evacuation Warning has been issued today for HUM-E032-B, located northeast of Willow Creek. Today’s update states evacuations are continuing “around Willow Creek, Friday Ridge, Salyer and Trinity Village. Additional fire growth could impact communities and residences along the Route 1 road.” (Find a map of evacuation zones here.)



Continue reading »

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Officials Warn of 'Long Battle' As Reinforcements Arrive to Fight Six Rivers Lightning Complex

Posted By on Tue, Aug 9, 2022 at 1:15 PM

A long Exposure captures flames near Seeley McIntosh Road from State Route 299 near Butterfly Creek Road east of Willow Creek. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • A long Exposure captures flames near Seeley McIntosh Road from State Route 299 near Butterfly Creek Road east of Willow Creek.
About 100 residents from the Willow Creek area crammed into a small church on State Route 96 on Monday, where billows of smoke could be seen from a large, pane glass window spiraling into the sky across the Trinity River from the Bremer Fire as it continued to encroach on Willow Creek’s eastern edge. They were there for their first chance to hear directly from U.S. Forest Service fire officials since a brief pre-dawn storm on Aug. 5 brought an estimated 150 lightning strikes to the region, at least 10 of them sparking blazes in Six Rivers National Forest that have become known collectively as the Six Rivers Lightning Complex.

If the officials sought to drive home one point during the meeting it was that help was on the way, that the cavalry was coming.

“We have resources on order and we are the No. 1 priority in the state and the nation,” said California Interagency Instant Management Team 11 Operations Section Chief Seth Mitchell, drawing a round of applause from the gathered residents, many of whom had been evacuated from their homes over the weekend, and later adding that while 600 personnel are currently on the ground, “We have a whole bunch of stuff en route.”

And true to Mitchell’s word, caravans of hot shot crews from all over the state and beyond could be seen a few hours later, heading east from the coast on State Route 299 and west from Redding, ready to join the fight.

The response underscores the severity of the situation, with six fires actively burning miles apart in steep, fuel-laden terrain, threatening hundreds of homes spread across multiple communities.

North of Willow Creek, there are the Bremer and Cedar/Waterman fires, with the Bremer Fire burning down-slope toward Willow Creek’s eastern edge and the Bigfoot subdivision, and the Cedar/Waterman Fire potentially threatening Hoopa to the north. South of Willow Creek, there’s the Bravo-Campbell Fire, which is burning to the southeast, threatening a number of small communities along State Route 299, including Salyer and Hawkins Bar. Farther south, there are the Oak and Ammon fires, which are expected to burn together any time and threaten communities along Friday Ridge and Route 1. As of 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 9, the fires had combined to scorch nearly 9,000 acres, with zero percent containment.
298090267_421679076662228_125833613449978392_n.jpg
All are burning in dense forested areas that are not only parched with drought but also filled with downed fuels after the December snow storm that felled scores of trees across the region. While CalTrans has worked for months to clear downed trees from along State Route 299, PG&E has cleared land under its transmission lines, many of the fuels left elsewhere by the storm remained to be dried by an unusually dry and warm winter and spring.

Back in May, officials with the Lower Trinity River Prescribed Burn Association, the Trinity County Resource Conservation District and the nonprofit EcoFlight took a handful of locals (including the Journal) an an aerial tour of the burn scars from last year’s Knob and Monument Fires. During the flight, the associations Basho Parks and the district’s Heidi Carpenter-Harris pointed out that while prior conditions caused the Knob and Monument fires to burn so hot they scorched the earth below the forest in certain places, the winter snow storm had made things considerably worse heading into this year’s fire season.

As the fires grew rapidly amid these conditions over the weekend, exhibiting what officials dubbed “extreme fire behavior,” the U.S. Forest Service and local departments scrambled to respond with limited resources. Fire crews were able to save a string of residences along Seeley McIntosh/Campbell Ridge Road and Salyer Heights, while others slowed the Bremer Fire’s encroachment on the Bigfoot subdivision on Willow Creek’s eastern edge.

Residents, meanwhile, scrambled to heed evacuation orders and get out. The Red Cross set up an evacuation center at Trinity Valley Elementary School (730 State Route 96), the Hoopa Rodeo Grounds opened as an evacuation center for large animals and a variety of locals sprang into action with trailers and trucks to help get people, their pets and livestock out of harm’s way. Social media message boards filled with prayers for neighbors and expressions of angst as people left their homes, unsure whether they’d ever see them again.

“My life will change forever,” one resident posted to Facebook with a photo of a vehicle leaving a gate under a hazy sky with an orange glow. “I don’t know if this beautiful gate still stands tomorrow. My tears streaming down right now, my heart hurts. I’m not able to save all of my animals. Praying for my house, praying for my animals, praying for my neighbors.”
On the Willow Creek Bulletin Facebook page, residents posted about finding lost dogs and, in one case, shortly after 7 a.m. Aug. 8, a long-horned goat wondering Brannan Mountain Road with a harness and leash that seemed “friendly.” (Within about 20 minutes, someone had connected the poster with the goat’s owner, who’d been worried since losing track of it the night before.)

Back at the Aug. 8 community meeting, U.S. Forest Service Fuels Technician Kevin Osborne advised that relatively mild weather and morning inversion layers had helped keep a bit of a lid on the blazes over the prior couple of days. In the early afternoons, when the inversion layer lifts, temperatures rise and humidity levels fall, the fires were becoming more active, but he said the weather was fairly stable and, “luckily, there aren’t extreme weather events forecast.” He said crews were working hard to take advantage of the relatively mild morning fire activity to get ground work done and prepare defense lines, preparing for fire activity to ramp up.

Six Rivers National Forest Supervisor Ted McArthur said agencies have been leaning on local fire crews, who “know this country.” A resident later questioned how out-of-town crews could be expected to navigate both the rugged terrain of the area and its idiosyncrasies. As an example, he said, the area has a Three Creeks Road, an Old Three Creeks Road, a New Three Creeks Road, a Two Creeks Road and even a 3 Creeks Road spelled with the numeral — how can they be expected to keep it all straight? Everyone, he was assured, will be leaning on local crews and their knowledge.

CalFire Humboldt-Del Norte Chief Kurt McCray, who took over unified command Aug. 9 with federal and local officials, praised the U.S. Forest Service’s initial response, which, as of the meeting, had not seen a single injury or structure lost. But McCray made clear a long road lies ahead.

“This is going to be a long battle and all of you need to do your best to be prepared and informed, and to heed the evacuation orders when they come,” he said.

Trinity County Sheriff Tim Saxon underscored that last point, telling residents: “If you choose to stay, you’re on your own — and I mean, on your own,” while urging anyone who makes that decision to be sure they have “adequate supplies.”

Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal told gathered residents he hears “their anxiety” and sees the adversity they are facing. Humboldt County Fifth District Supervisor Steve Madrone told the Journal those anxieties extend beyond people’s residences to their livelihoods in some cases, noting that he’s heard from cannabis farmers in evacuation zones who left light-dep crops ready to harvest, amid what has already been a financially disastrous stretch for the industry.

“People’s livelihoods are on the line,” he said.

Trying to reassure residents, Honsal said his deputies continue to patrol evacuation zones to look for potential looters, saying, “We have lots of eyes and ears out there.” He urged people to stay informed about current conditions and their evacuation zones, and to stay together.

The nonprofit Pay it Forward Humboldt urged anyone willing to volunteer to contact them, saying its looking to coordinate supply deliveries and other services to help those displaced and those still at home amid evacuation and air quality warnings. On a table in the back of the room, the group had already stacked N95 masks and boxes of peaches from upriver at Suzy Q farm. The farm had harvested the peaches looking to donate them but, under an evacuation warning, couldn’t deliver them, so someone from Pay it Forward volunteered to pick them up.

As the meeting wound down, McArthur assured fire crews will do everything they can.

“This has been quite a hand we’ve been dealt — there were a lot of lightning strikes,” he said. “It’s created an environment that’s very difficult for our firefighters, but they’re giving it all they can.”

Thadeus Greenson (he/him) is the news editor at the Journal. Reach him at 442-1400, extension 321, or thad@northcoastjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @thadeusgreenson.
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, August 8, 2022

More Evacuation Orders Issued as Six Rivers Fires Continue to Grow

Posted By on Mon, Aug 8, 2022 at 12:24 PM

Smoke rises from the Six Rivers Lightning Complex Fire as it burns near the Cavaletto Vineyard Estate across the river from State Route 299 near Willow Creek California. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Smoke rises from the Six Rivers Lightning Complex Fire as it burns near the Cavaletto Vineyard Estate across the river from State Route 299 near Willow Creek California.
The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office has issued new evacuation orders as the Six Rivers Lightning Complex continues to grow, threatening multiple communities around Willow Creek.

This morning, the Sheriff's Office issued an evacuation order for the HUM-E077-B zone south of Willow Creek, which comes after the office issued an evacuation order for zone HUM-E063-A yesterday afternoon. (Find a map of evacuation zones here.) The Sheriff's Office advises there is currently no immediate threat to Willow Creek proper. The Trinity County Sheriff's Office, meanwhile, has put the area around Hawkins Bar on evacuation warning after issuing an evacuation order for the Salyer area just east of the Humboldt-Trinity county line Saturday.

The complex, which initially comprised 12 fires sparked by lightning before dawn on Aug. 5, includes eight active fires that have now ballooned in size to more than 3,180 acres with zero-percent containment, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
U.S. FOREST SERVICE
  • U.S. Forest Service
"This is a full suppression fire," the U.S. Forest Service, which is managing the response, said in a press release. "Firefighters will aggressively fight fire whenever it is safe to do so."

Continue reading »

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Karuk Tribe: McKinney Fire Slide Caused 'Kill Zone' in Klamath River, Suffocating Thousands of Fish

Posted By on Mon, Aug 8, 2022 at 10:40 AM

Dead fish and other debris in the Klamath River, near Happy Camp. - KARUK TRIBE
  • Karuk Tribe
  • Dead fish and other debris in the Klamath River, near Happy Camp.
The Karuk Tribe continues to investigate the cause and breadth of a fish kill event in the Klamath River but believes a massive debris slide from the McKinney Fire turned a section of the Klamath to sludge, killing thousands of fish.

Craig Tucker, a spokesperson for the tribe, said its believed the debris slide entered the Klamath River near Humbug and McKinney creeks, dropping dissolved oxygen levels in the river to zero and effectively suffocating scores of fish of different species, including suckers, salmon and trout.

"We think the impact is limited to 10 or 20 miles of river in this reach and the fish we ware seeing in Happy Camp and below are floating downstream from the 'kill zone,'" Tucker wrote in an email to the Journal. "We are working to better understand the event and the Karuk Tribe continues to monitor the situation."

Continue reading »

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, August 7, 2022

'Extreme Fire Behavior' Seen as Six Rivers Lightning Complex Grows

Posted By on Sun, Aug 7, 2022 at 9:33 AM

The Campbell Fire burns east of Willow Creek. - U.S. FOREST SERVICE/FACEBOOK
  • U.S. Forest Service/Facebook
  • The Campbell Fire burns east of Willow Creek.
U.S. Forest Service officials saw an "increase in extreme fire behavior" yesterday on the eight active fires that comprise the Six Rivers Lightning Complex, prompting additional evacuations on the outskirts of Willow Creek.

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office issued evacuation orders for residents in zones HUM-EO56 and HUM-EO57 — which include the Bigfoot subdivision under threat from the Bremer Fire — and warnings and orders remain in place for other areas east and south of Willow Creek. The Trinity County Sheriff's Office, meanwhile, also issued an evacuation order for the area around Salyer, just east of the Humboldt-Trinity county line, which is threatened by the Campbell Fire. (For a map of Humboldt County evacuation zones, click here.)

Continue reading »

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Friday, August 5, 2022

UPDATE: More Evacuation Orders Issued Near Willow Creek

Posted By on Fri, Aug 5, 2022 at 6:12 PM

296438282_425062999647553_9072068866982966913_n.jpg


UPDATED:
An evacuation order has now been issued for zones HUM-EO77-C, HUM-E058 and HUM-061, south and east of Willow Creek.

Evacuation warnings have been issued for zones HUM-EO63, HUM-EO64 and HUM-EO77-B, south of Willow Creek. These areas are urged to prepare for potential evacuation orders.

"Be ready to go at a moment's notice," the Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services warns.

To locate your evacuation zone, check the map here.

Continue reading »

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , ,

Lightning Sparks Numerous Fires Around Willow Creek

Posted By on Fri, Aug 5, 2022 at 11:17 AM

A fire burns in the Hudson Creek Drainage near Willow Creek. - BASHO WATSON PARKS/FACEBOOK
  • Basho Watson Parks/Facebook
  • A fire burns in the Hudson Creek Drainage near Willow Creek.
An overnight lightning storm sparked numerous fires near Willow Creek and a variety of agencies are responding this morning, trying get a handle on the blazes before they spread.

The U.S. Forest Service reported that lightning strikes started eight new fires  in Six Rivers National Forest early this morning. Information is scant about the blazes, but social media posts indicate the Willow Creek Volunteer Fire Department, the U.S. Forest Service, the Salyer Volunteer Fire Department and others responding, with smoke jumpers reportedly being dropped above Salyer.

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office has issued a wildfire advisory in the area, asking residents to open locked gates to allow fire personnel access to their properties and urging residents to prepare for evacuations. At this point, however, no evacuation orders or warnings are in place.

Continue reading »

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , ,

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Arrested Suspects in Eureka Pursuit, Shooting Identified

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2022 at 8:58 PM

The suspect vehicle after it was searched by law enforcement. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • The suspect vehicle after it was searched by law enforcement.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office released an update today on Wednesday night’s pursuit and officer-involved shooting in Eureka, identifying two suspects in the incident that saw shots fired at deputies and stating two of the deputies “involved in this incident have been placed on routine paid administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation.”


The primary suspect was identified as 32-year-old Jared Eli Aubrey of Eureka, who was on parole and is believed to have used an AK-47 “variant semi-automatic rifle with a detachable high-capacity magazine” to fire multiple times at pursuing law enforcement, according to the news release.


A previous press release stated a deputy on patrol in the area of Fairway Drive in Eureka spotted a vehicle that had evaded an EPD traffic stop earlier that evening and deputies attempted to stop the vehicle before it again fled and later crashed.

The weapon the HCSO reported was recovered at the scene of the crash. - HCSO
  • HCSO
  • The weapon the HCSO reported was recovered at the scene of the crash.

"During this pursuit, an individual inside the suspect vehicle reportedly shot at deputies," the release stated. "The pursuit continued and the suspect reportedly fired additional shots towards law enforcement. At that point, an officer-involved shooting occurred."


The updated release states that evidence "indicating the discharge of a weapon on the 5000 block of Vance Avenue and the 3300 block of Utah Street” has been found and “the firearm was recovered at the scene of the traffic collision on Buhne Street and Harrison Avenue.”


Aubrey was booked into the Humboldt County jail on suspicion of attempted murder, felon in possession of a firearm and violation of parole, according to the sheriff’s office.


The vehicle’s driver, identified as 27-year-old Darrike Miles McKeown of Eureka,  was also on parole for a vehicular manslaughter conviction and had an active warrant, the release states. He suffered a minor injury in the crash and was booked on suspicion of evading a peace officer and violation of parole, the release states.


The incident remains under investigation and anyone with information or “who may have witnessed any portion of this pursuit or sustained property damages as a result, should contact the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251, reference case number 202203774."

Read the HCSO release below:

The Humboldt County Critical Incident Response Team continues its investigation into a pursuit and officer involved shooting last night in Eureka.


During this investigation, law enforcement has located evidence indicating the discharge of a weapon on the 5000 block of Vance Avenue and the 3300 block of Utah Street.


The primary suspect, who is believed to have fired numerous times at pursuing peace officers, has been identified as 32-year-old Jared Eli Aubrey of Eureka. Aubrey is on parole for multiple firearm possession convictions, in addition to convictions for assault, battery and the sale of controlled substances. He has an extensive criminal history involving multiple violent offenses. Aubrey was a passenger in the suspect vehicle during the incident. It is believed Aubrey utilized an AK 47 variant semi-automatic rifle with a detachable high-capacity magazine during this incident. The firearm was recovered at the scene of the traffic collision on Buhne Street and Harrison Avenue.


Following the traffic collision, Aubrey was taken into custody and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on charges of attempted murder (PC 664/187(a)), felon in possession of a firearm (PC 29800(a)(1)) and violation of parole (PC 3000.08(c)).


The driver of the vehicle, 27-year-old Darrike Miles McKeown of Eureka, is also on parole for a vehicular manslaughter conviction and was found to have an active warrant for violation of this parole. McKeown sustained a minor injury as a result of the traffic collision. He was transported to a local hospital for medical treatment and then was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on charges of evading a peace officer (VC 2800.2) and violation of parole (PC 3000.08(c)).


Additional charges may be requested by investigators for both McKeown and Aubrey pending the results of the ongoing investigation.


A third occupant of the vehicle was detained, interviewed and released at the scene.


Two Sheriff’s deputies involved in this incident have been placed on routine paid administrative leave pending the outcome of this investigation. Involved deputies will be identified within the timeframe as required by law in a future information update.


The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the following agencies for their assistance with this investigation: Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office, Eureka Police Department, Arcata Police Department, Fortuna Police Department, Cal Poly Humboldt University Police Department, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Highway Patrol and the California Department of Justice.


This is still an active investigation. An additional information update is anticipated next week.


Anyone with information about this case or who may have witnessed any portion of this pursuit or sustained property damages as a result, should contact the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251, reference case number 202203774.


  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Recent Comments

socialize

Facebook | Twitter

© 2022 North Coast Journal

Website powered by Foundation