Weather: A Red Flag Weather Warning for the August Complex continues today with gusty NE winds to 25 mph, relative humidity in the low teens and very low overnight humidity recovery this morning. Fire behavior will increase with predicted weather, causing interior unburned islands and aligned terrain to experience higher fire activity. Strong and gusty winds may cause dead standing trees to fall at higher rates, increasing hazards to firefighters. The strongest winds will be through the morning and will start to taper down through the afternoon. They will be persistently out of the northeast. By late Friday into Saturday, we can expect better relative humidity recoveries and diminished winds heading into the weekend. Overnight humidity levels across the fire were very low. As a result, fuel moistures are now at critically low levels, especially in the lighter fuels; grasses and brush.
Northwest Zone – Yesterday, Red Flag weather conditions increased fire activity in the northwest zone, testing containment features. Humidity levels in the teens, temperatures 10 to 15° above average, and winds with gusts as high as 30-mph combined to increase fire behavior. The fire spotted over the line above Kettenpom and near the West Fork of the Van Duzen River. Firefighters were pre-positioned, and aircraft were standing by - this facilitated a rapid response and allowed firefighters to contain the spot fires before they could become established. The majority of fire activity occurred inside the fire area, as interior pockets of unburned fuels were consumed.
Today, Increased fire activity is expected, with the potential for torching and long-range spotting where ladder fuels and unburned canopy fuels exist. High flame spread rates are expected within the fire perimeter where light fuels and timber litter align with winds. Teams continue to evaluate suppression repair needs in the Ruth Lake corridor area. The intent of suppression repair is to return the area to as close as possible to its natural state and prevent future erosion and damage. PG&E is actively repairing power infrastructure to ready the Ruth Lake area for repopulation. Approximately 130 power poles must be replaced before the system can be reactivated.
Northeast Zone – Yesterday, hotshot crews cut out brush in very steep terrain west of Bear Wallow Mountain to connect and further secure fire lines. East of Irish Mountain, firefighters took advantage of favorable NE winds and completed a small firing operation to fortify fire line to prevent the fire from spreading further north. Helicopters supported this mission with water drops to cool hot spots near the fire edge. Night shift resources held the fire in place, and further secured fire line adjacent to this area. In Beegum Creek, strong winds caused firefighters to disengage their mop up operation due to numerous dead standing trees falling near the fire perimeter - helicopters were used in this area to add cooling water to flare-ups and keep interior heat from moving towards the fire edge. Hotshot crews continued mopping up hot spots on the southeast side of the 2017 Buck Fire perimeter.
For today in this northeast zone, NE winds will continue to push the fire back into the main fire footprint. Firefighters will secure and fortify fire lines near Progeny, Bear Wallow Mountain, South Fork Trinity River, Rattlesnake Creek and Beegum Creek. Guard rail repair and hazard tree removal on Hwy 36 continues near Forest Glen by Cal Trans crews.
Evacuations and Closures – Evacuation information can be found on county websites referenced below or at inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6983/. Hwy 36 remains closed from Southfork Summit Mountain east to the Hwy 3 intersection. Hunting and recreation are prohibited within the August Complex Fire Closure areas.
Trinity County evacuation Information, contact: 530-276-8034 or https://www.facebook.com/TrinityCoOES/ .
Trinity County Private Property Damage Assessment Info., contact: 530-623-8223 or https://www.trinitycounty.org/recovery
Humboldt County evacuation Information, contact: 707-268-2500 or visit: HumboldtCoSheriff .
Road Closures: For updated Road Closure information, visit Caltrans at https://roads.dot.ca.gov/.
Forest Closures are still in effect and can be found here:
- Shasta-Trinity National Forest: https://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/stnf/forestorders
- Mendocino National Forest: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/mendocino/alerts-notices
- Six Rivers National Forest: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/srnf/alerts-notices