Environment / Natural Resources

Friday, August 17, 2018

Judge Finds Animal Cruelty Case Against Rancher Can Proceed to Trial

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2018 at 12:45 PM

Ray Christie - HCSO
  • HCSO
  • Ray Christie
A Humboldt County Superior Court judge has ruled there is enough evidence for local rancher Raymond Christie to stand trial on charges related to his treatment of animals and the disposal of dead livestock at properties across the region.

According to a Times-Standard report, Judge Kaleb Cockrum held Christine to answer Thursday to three felony charges of animal cruelty and 47 misdemeanors related to large amounts of cattle carcasses dumped near state waterways, including sloughs in Trinidad and Arcata.

Cockrum’s decision came after a three-day preliminary hearing with witnesses, including law enforcement officers and a state environmental specialist.

Christie was arrested March 19 after what the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office described at the time as a “long-term investigation” initiated by "ongoing complaints" of animal cruelty and reports of dead animals being improperly disposed of near or in waterways.

Christie has pleaded not guilty in the case and will be rearraigned on the current charges Aug. 30, the T-S story states.
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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Report Finds Firefighter Killed in Carr Fire Tornado; Smoke Impacts Continue

Posted By on Thu, Aug 16, 2018 at 12:21 PM

Aftermath of the Carr Fire "fire whirl." - CALFIRE/NWS
  • Calfire/NWS
  • Aftermath of the Carr Fire "fire whirl."
With wildfires continuing to scorch the West, the resulting smoke is continuing to have an impact on air quality in Humboldt County that ranges from good to unhealthy depending on the area.

The deadly Carr Fire to the east has burned nearly 215,000 acres and killed at least eight people, including a Redding firefighter who a recent report says died after becoming engulfed in a tornado of fire, according to multiple media reports.

A San Francisco Chronicle story detailing Calfire’s report on Jeremiah “Jeremy” Stoke’s death states the 37 year old was overcome by a massive fire whirl with winds up to 165 miles and a base the size of three-football fields.


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Friday, August 10, 2018

Mendo Complex Gets Containment Date, but no Estimate for Carr Fire

Posted By on Fri, Aug 10, 2018 at 2:34 PM

Satellite imagery of wildfire smoke in the state. - NOAA
  • NOAA
  • Satellite imagery of wildfire smoke in the state.
While a string of fires continue to burn to the north, south and east of Humboldt County, air quality is expected to be in the good to moderate stage although some inland areas, such as Garberville, will have “widespread haze,” according to the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District.

Fire officials are now giving an estimated containment date of Sept. 1 for the Mendocino Complex — the merging of the Ranch and River fires, which currently stands as the largest in California history. The blaze has burned more than 300,000 acres and destroyed 119 homes with another 9,200 structures threatened, according to Calfire.

The cause remains under investigation.

To the east, the deadly Carr Fire, which has claimed at least eight lives, burned more than 180,000 acres and destroyed 1,077 homes, has no estimated date for full containment.

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Friday, August 3, 2018

Fire Whirl in Carr Fire Reached 143 MPH

Posted By on Fri, Aug 3, 2018 at 1:43 PM

Aftermath of the Carr Fire "fire whirl." - CALFIRE/NWS
  • Calfire/NWS
  • Aftermath of the Carr Fire "fire whirl."
A fire whirl — similar to a tornado — that occurred in the Carr Fire near Redding on July 26 had maximum winds in excess of 143 mph, according to an initial analysis by the National Weather Service and Calfire.

The column of fire produced by “intense rising heat and turbulent winds” was equivalent to an F3 tornado and left a path of destruction — completely stripping bark off of trees, uprooting some others and collapsing power line towers, according to the National Weather Service.

“A fire that is burning very hot develops its own weather by drawing in winds that exceed ambient weather conditions,” the National Weather Service wrote in a tweet. “When the winds are strong enough and the fire is hot enough, sometimes, the rising air columns start to rotate.”

In an interview with the Associated Press, NWS meteorologist Duane Dykema said the phenomenon was on par with some of the most destructive Midwest tornadoes.

For up-to-date fire information, including evacuations and road closures, visit www.fire.ca.gov/current_incidents.

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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Wildfire Smoke Likely to Impact Air Quality

Posted By on Thu, Aug 2, 2018 at 12:28 PM

A plane helps battle the Eel Fire. - COURTESY OF MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST
  • Courtesy of Mendocino National Forest
  • A plane helps battle the Eel Fire.
Parts of the North Coast, including Orleans and the Hoopa, Van Duzen and Mad River areas, may experience periods of unhealthy air quality conditions today and this evening due to wildfires.

According to the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District, winds coming from the northwest will help disperse the smoke from the Carr Fire near Redding but impacts from Oregon fires will hit northern portions of Humboldt County.

For the latest information on California wildfires, including evacuations and road closures, visit the CalFire incident website: www.fire.ca.gov/current_incidents.


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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Local Firefighters Helping to Battle Devastating Wildfires

Posted By on Wed, Aug 1, 2018 at 5:25 PM

Fire burns the hills north of Upper Lake on Tuesday night. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Fire burns the hills north of Upper Lake on Tuesday night.
Local firefighters have joined thousands of others from around the state to battle a series of wildfires raging to the south and east of Humboldt County that combined have burned more than 200,000 acres and taken at least six lives.

Currently, 32 firefighters from nine Humboldt County agencies are assisting suppression efforts, contributing personnel and equipment to battle the devastating blazes.

For the latest information on California wildfires, including evacuations and road closures, visit the CalFire incident website: www.fire.ca.gov/current_incidents.


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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Supes Approve Bay Trail EIR, Eucalyptus Removal but Leave Possibility of Saving the Trees

Posted By on Tue, Jul 31, 2018 at 12:29 PM

screen_shot_2018-07-23_at_10.03.47_am.png
The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously today, with Supervisor Rex Bohn absent, to approve an environmental impact report for the completion of the Humboldt Bay Trail that includes the removal of 219 eucalyptus trees along U.S. Highway 101.

But the board’s decision also included a provision to have county staff hire a certified arborist or two to conduct a risk assessment on the trees to determine if there’s a way to keep them and build the new trail without dramatically increasing maintenance costs or county liability.

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Monday, July 30, 2018

After Several Arrests, Logging Protest Planned for Thursday

Posted By on Mon, Jul 30, 2018 at 3:21 PM

The Rainbow Ridge area where Humboldt Redwood Co. holds two approved timber harvest plans. - GOOGLE MAPS
  • Google Maps
  • The Rainbow Ridge area where Humboldt Redwood Co. holds two approved timber harvest plans.
A group of environmental activists is planning a protest Thursday in front of the Humboldt Redwood Co.’s Scotia office with the hopes of preventing planned logging activities in the Mattole River watershed.

The protest comes a week after several people were arrested on Humboldt Redwood Co. land in the Rainbow Ridge area of the Mattole River watershed west of Redcrest. The protesters, who erected a logging road blockade, say they are working to protect about 1,100 acres of what they call pristine forest — meaning it hasn’t been logged — primarily consisting of old growth Douglas fir. But a crew from Lear Asset Management, a private security firm, removed the blockade and arrested a total of three protesters July 22 and 23. The protesters allege the security contractors brandished Tasers and used other aggressive tactics that put them in danger.

After another group of protesters briefly chained themselves to an access gate near Rio Dell last week, the group reportedly agreed to stand down after Humboldt Redwood Co. assured them no logging would take place on the property for at least a week.

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Friday, July 27, 2018

Huffman Introduces Massive Public Lands Bill

Posted By on Fri, Jul 27, 2018 at 11:46 AM

Jared Huffman. - CONGRESS
  • Congress
  • Jared Huffman.
North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman introduced sweeping public lands legislation today aimed at guarding communities against wildfires and protecting public lands.

The introduction comes about a year after Huffman held community meetings throughout the rural stretches of his district, which allowed him to incorporate input and feedback from a variety of stakeholders, including tourism organizations and recreation groups, restoration specialists and tribes, conservation groups and timber companies, fire ecologists and fisheries scientists.

“From the majestic Smith River to the ancient redwoods and old-growth forests, and the rugged mountains in between, our lands are worth protecting and restoring for future generations to enjoy,” Huffman said in a press release. “Today, some of those landscapes are not fully protected, and others are not managed to their full potential: We can do more to ensure fire resilience, support healthy wildlife, and spur outdoor recreation.”

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As Carr Fire Threatens Redding, 299 Remains Closed, Smoke Advisories Issued

Posted By on Fri, Jul 27, 2018 at 8:20 AM

The Carr Fire has spurred widespread evacuation orders in Redding. - CHP/FACEBOOK
  • CHP/Facebook
  • The Carr Fire has spurred widespread evacuation orders in Redding.
The Carr Fire continues to rage in Shasta County and has forced widespread evacuations in Redding.

The fire, sparked July 23 by the mechanical failure of a vehicle near State Route 299 and Carr Powerhouse Road in Whiskeytown, now spans more than 44,000 acres and is only 3 percent contained. It has killed two people — a firefighter and a private bulldozer operator — destroyed 15 structures and damaged five more. Almost 500 structures are currently threatened, according to CalFire’s most recent update, which warns that these numbers are changing fast and will continue to be updated.

As nearly 2,000 fire personnel continue to battle the blaze and evacuate numerous Redding neighborhoods, State Route 299 remains closed in both directions at the Trinity-Shasta county line. The North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District issued a public service announcement yesterday warning that weather conditions today will cause smoke to pool along river drainages in the north-eastern parts of Del Norte, Humboldt and Trinity counties. On the coast, the district expects air quality to remain “good” to “moderate,” with periods classified as “unhealthy for sensitive groups.”

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