Wednesday, October 21, 2020

August Complex: Perimeter Mostly Contained, Fire Weather Watch Tonight

Posted By on Wed, Oct 21, 2020 at 11:44 AM

August Complex:  1,032,264 acres Containment: 91 percent

The majority of the August Complex’s perimeter is contained, according to this morning’s update, with the lines are secure and mopped up and no “significant heat sources” around the edge.

A fire weather watch goes into effect for the fire area and much of the region, beginning this evening and ending Friday morning.
“In some cases, this buffer zone extends as much as 300-feet into the fire area,” the update states. “The fire is contained inside the perimeter and does not have adequate fuel in the buffer zone to escape containment.”

There are still a “few small areas” outside of fire lines, including Kettenpom and surrounding vicinity, which has “interior pockets of unburned fuels continue to be consumed.” According to the update, crews are making progress in the area.

To the north, near Coffee Pot Road, firefighters were able to strengthen the line there with a burning operation. Air operations dropped more than 8,000 gallons of fire retardant near Irish Mountain, where the fire has not spread in the last several day. Similarly, minimal activity has been reported around Beegen Thumb.

Crews are working with residents of the Ruth Lake area on identifying and removing hazardous trees and patrols are ongoing to look out for possible hidden hot spots.

Caltrans is also working on State Route 36 to find and remove trees that could prove dangerous. A closure on the roadway remains in place from Southfork Summit Mountain east to Highway 3. At 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. daily, traffic is being escorted through the closure but Caltrans is asking people to take alternative routes.

Find more information here
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Garberville Homicide Victim Identified as 21-year-old Redding Woman

Posted By on Wed, Oct 21, 2020 at 10:50 AM

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The Humboldt County Coroner’s Office has positively identified the human remains discovered near the south Fork of the Eel River in Garberville Oct. 9 as those of 21-year-old Kadie Lynn Jones, of Redding.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is investigating Jones’ death as a homicide after her body was found in a brush fire near the river bar. Investigators are now asking for the public’s assistance in finding information about Jones’ whereabouts in the days leading up to her death.

Jones is described as having stood approximately 5 feet tall and weighing 110 pounds, with brown/blond hair and blue eyes.

The Sheriff’s Office asks anyone who may have seen her in the Garberville area from Oct. 5 through Oct. 9 to call 445-7251 or the crime tip line at 268-2539.

See the full press release from the Sheriff's Office copied below:


Continue reading »

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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Humboldt Holds onto 'Minimal' Risk Tier

Posted By on Tue, Oct 20, 2020 at 4:07 PM

Public Health confirmed four new COVID-19 cases today, bringing the county's total at 558. Another hospitalization was also reported.

Under new California Department of Public Health data, Humboldt County continues its stay in the yellow or minimal tier under the state’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” with a positivity rate of 0.5 percent and an adjusted case rate of 1.0.

But health officials warn Humboldt's hold in the tier could be fleeting.

Under the lower risk category, most indoor businesses — including bars — can reopen but the county can put further restrictions in place, according to the state. Only seven other counties in California are currently in the minimal tier. Read more about what it means here.

Today's results included 93 test samples. To date, Humboldt County has seen 36 hospitalizations and nine deaths, the most recent being a 38-year-old man, according to the Times-Standard, which reports Sheriff William Honsal described him as a "fairly healthy" individual with "underlying conditions" who tested positive during his autopsy, the results of which are pending.

The Humboldt County Data Dashboard was updated last week to include hospitalization rates by age group, death rates by age group and case totals by ZIP code, the latter of which will be reported in "a range of 0 to 5 for case count until the area surpasses 5 total cases," according to a county news release.

After that threshold has been reached in a ZIP code, the exact number will be included. Both Arcata and Eureka showed an increase in cases compared to last week.

Basics of COVID-19

The California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control, state that symptoms of novel coronavirus include cough and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, or at least two of the following: fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat or a new loss of taste or smell.

Emergency warning signs needing immediate medical attention include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to awaken, and bluish lips or face.

In an emergency situation:

Call ahead to the emergency room or inform the 911 operator of the possibility of a COVID-19 infection and, if possible, put on a face mask.

Symptoms or possible exposure:

In the case of a possible exposure with symptoms — fever and cough or shortness of breath — contact your doctor’s office or the county Department of Health and Human Services, which has a hotline that can be reached during business hours at covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us or at (707) 441-5000. Residents seeking medical advice or questions about testing are asked to contact Public Health at hhsphb@co.humbldt.ca.us or at (707) 445-6200.

St. Joseph Health has also set up a virtual assessment tool as an aid to assess risk factors for contracting the illness, which can be found at here.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has started a rumor-control webpage that can be found here.

For the Journal's latest COVID stories, updates and information resources, click here.

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NWS Issues Freeze Watch

Posted By on Tue, Oct 20, 2020 at 2:20 PM

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The National Weather Service Eureka has issued a freeze watch for inland areas as cold temperatures are expected on Thursday morning. 

According to the warning, frost and freezing temperatures are expected in valleys of interior Humboldt and Trinity counties by early Thursday. The freeze watch has been issued for Thursday, Oct. 22, from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m.

Hoopa will see patchy frost before 8 a.m.

The NWS advises bringing inside any pets and sensitive plants on Wednesday night.
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Monday, October 19, 2020

Crash by the Bayshore Mall

Posted By on Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 6:29 PM

A two-car crash this afternoon by the Bayshore Mall. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • A two-car crash this afternoon by the Bayshore Mall.
About 5:45 p.m., two vehicles collided at the Bayshore Mall.

Southbound traffic is backed up from Truesdale to Vigo on Broadway with both lanes closed. But northbound traffic is open though slightly slowed. Southbound traffic is being diverted through the mall.
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Head-on Crash on Samoa Bridge

Posted By on Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 4:48 PM

Scene of the Samoa Bridge crash. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Scene of the Samoa Bridge crash.
Humboldt Bay Battalion Chief Chris Emmons said four patients were taken to the hospital with moderate and major injuries after a Dodge truck and a SUV collided head on while crossing the Samoa Bridge just before 4 p.m.

The road was temporarily closed in both directions but one lane is now open and both will be soon. Please be cautious because crews are still clearing the area.

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Humboldt Sees Ninth COVID-Related Death: A Person in Their 30s

Posted By on Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 4:18 PM

Public Health reported a person in their 30s has become Humboldt County's ninth COVID-related death, with 10 new cases confirmed since Friday, bringing the county's total at 554.

County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich offered her sympathies.

“To those who have been impacted by this loss, our thoughts are with you,” she said in a news release.

Humboldt remains in the state's "minimum" risk tier but health officials have warned that a spike in cases could send Humboldt back into a more restrictive tier.
New data on Humboldt's case rate and positivity rate, as well as statewide stats, are scheduled to be released tomorrow.

Under the lower risk category, most indoor businesses — including bars — can reopen but the county can put further restrictions in place, according to the state. Only seven other counties in California are currently in the minimal tier. Read more about what it means here.

The Humboldt County Data Dashboard was updated last week to include hospitalization rates by age group, death rates by age group and case totals by ZIP code, the latter of which will be reported in "a range of 0 to 5 for case count until the area surpasses 5 total cases," according to a county news release.

After that threshold has been reached in a ZIP code, the exact number will be included. Both Arcata and Eureka showed an increase in cases compared to last week.

Basics of COVID-19

The California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control, state that symptoms of novel coronavirus include cough and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, or at least two of the following: fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat or a new loss of taste or smell.

Emergency warning signs needing immediate medical attention include difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to awaken, and bluish lips or face.

In an emergency situation:

Call ahead to the emergency room or inform the 911 operator of the possibility of a COVID-19 infection and, if possible, put on a face mask.

Symptoms or possible exposure:

In the case of a possible exposure with symptoms — fever and cough or shortness of breath — contact your doctor’s office or the county Department of Health and Human Services, which has a hotline that can be reached during business hours at covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us or at (707) 441-5000. Residents seeking medical advice or questions about testing are asked to contact Public Health at hhsphb@co.humbldt.ca.us or at (707) 445-6200.

St. Joseph Health has also set up a virtual assessment tool as an aid to assess risk factors for contracting the illness, which can be found at here.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has started a rumor-control webpage that can be found here.

For the Journal's latest COVID stories, updates and information resources, click here.
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UPDATE: No Local Tsunami Impact from Alaska Quake

Posted By on Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 3:13 PM

UPDATE:

There is no tsunami threat to the West Coast.

PREVIOUS:
The Eureka office of the National Weather Service is awaiting word from the National Tsunami Warning Center about any potential tsunami warnings, watches or advisories for local areas after a magnitude-7.5 earthquake struck off the coast of Alaska.

“We are awaiting updated information from the National Tsunami Warning Center for any *possible* tsunami impacts to the US West Coast,” its Facebook post states. “No tsunami warnings, watches, or advisories are in effect yet, but stay tuned.”

There is a tsunami warning for the Alaska Archipelago.

The NWS states it will continue to post updates.

Edit 10/19 2:55 PM: We are still waiting for more information. The National Tsunami Warning Center is evaluating the...

Posted by US National Weather Service Eureka California on Monday, October 19, 2020
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Humboldt Man Found Dead in Pelican Bay Prison Cell

Posted By on Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 12:55 PM

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Pelican Bay State Prison authorities are investigating the death of Joshua E. Kirtley, who was in prison for the 1998 murder of Paul Sanders at a marijuana grow in the Southern Humboldt area, as a homicide.

Staff found 42-year-old Kirtley dead in his cell on Oct. 17.  Jesse A. Rippee, Kirtley’s cellmate, who was in the recreation yard when Kirtley was found, has been placed in segregation while the investigation is ongoing. Prison officials said Rippee had multiple injuries, "including facial swelling, scratches and bruises."

Kirtley was accused of beating and killing Sanders over a missing $5,000. Sanders’ girlfriend reported him missing a few days after he disappeared but his body wasn't recovered until June of 2003 after Kirtley was jailed on domestic violence charges and, Kirtley’s mother-in-law at the time told law enforcement about his involvement in Sanders' killing.

A man who was also charged in Sanders’ death led deputies to his remains. The first trial ended in a hung jury but Kirtley’s second trial resulted in a conviction and sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Below is a press release from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Officials at Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) are investigating the death of 42-year-old inmate Joshua E. Kirtley as a homicide.

On Oct. 17 at approximately 12:30 p.m., prison staff during a security check discovered Kirtley unresponsive in his cell. Staff immediately responded, called 911 and began life-saving measures. Kirtley was transported to PBSPs medical clinic and staff continued medical aid. Paramedics transported him to an outside hospital and he was pronounced dead at 1:05 p.m.

Jesse A Rippee, Kirtley’s cellmate, was on the recreation yard when Kirtley was found. Rippee had multiple injuries, including facial swelling, scratches and bruises. He was treated at the prison and then placed in segregated housing as PBSP’s Investigative Services Unit continues its investigation. The Office of the Inspector General was notified.

Kirtley was received on July 28, 2004 from Humboldt County. He was serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole for first-degree murder. Rippee was received on Sept. 24, 2015 from Los Angeles County, sentenced to 10 years for first-degree burglary, a second strike offense. While in prison, he was sentenced to an additional 15 years in 2017 for assault by a prisoner with a deadly weapon or force likely to cause great bodily injury.

PBSP, located in Del Norte County, houses more than 2,300 minimum-, medium-, and maximum-security inmates. The institution provides high school and college academic classes, career technical education, work assignments, self-help programs, arts-in-corrections, computer literacy and other rehabilitation programs that address substance use disorders, anger management and family relationships. The institution opened in 1989.
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Humboldt Evacuation Warnings Lifted for August Complex

Posted By on Mon, Oct 19, 2020 at 10:43 AM

Heavy equipment staging on the August Complex. - AUGUST COMPLEX INCIWEB
  • August Complex inciweb
  • Heavy equipment staging on the August Complex.
The evacuation warnings for Southern Humboldt areas due to the August Complex have been lifted, according to the Office of Emergency Services.

Residents are reminded to stay “fire ready” amid yet another devastating year in California. The 1.32 million acre August Complex is 88 percent contained, with the West Zone at 100 percent.

All traffic is being escorted through the State Route 36 closure, which is at the junction with State Route 3 for westbound traffic and South Fork Mountain Summit in Trinity County for eastbound, at 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. daily.

According to the August Complex inciweb page, "traffic must be in line at these times to pass through the area," and notes the schedule "is subject to change at any time."

For more information on the fire, the State Route 36 closure and the evacuation status of areas in Mendocino, Trinity and Lake click here.

Read the OES release below: 
All remaining evacuation warnings have been lifted for Humboldt County related to the August Complex Fire. The following evacuation warnings been lifted:

Zone HG: South of Hayfield Creek, east of the Eel River to the Trinity County Line, north of Stewart Ranch Road.

Zone HH: South of Stapp Road, east of Baker Creek/Little Van Duzen River to the Trinity County Line, north of Bear Creek.

Zone HI: South of Olsen Creek, west of Baker Creek/Little Van Duzen River, east of Alderpoint Road/Kneeland Road, north of Hayfield Creek.

Humboldt County residents are reminded to stay “ready” this fire season by maintaining defensible space, hardening your home and having a Wildfire Action Plan. Learn more and get your family ready for wildfire at readyforwildfire.org.

Residents are also encouraged to sign up for Humboldt Alert to receive local emergency notifications, including information regarding evacuations and emergency sheltering in the event of a wildfire, flood or other emergency incident.

Residents can sign up by going to: humboldtgov.org/alerts. For more information about how you can prepare for local emergencies, follow @HumCoOES on Facebook and Twitter or visit humboldtsheriff.org. 
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