Firefighters continued to make progress on the north edge of the August Complex, despite several days of red flag conditions last week.
Robyn Broyles, an information officer for the August Complex, said Monday that the million-plus acres complex is now 88 percent contained. On the northeast side, containment is estimated at 85 percent.
Pointing at the map area north of Ruth Lake, Deputy Operations Section Chief Britt Davis said fires have remained in place, keeping the heat back from the fire line.
He said the goal in the next few days is to close fire containment lines around the northwest zones. He also noted that containment stretches along the entire north border of the fire.
“It’s a big fire, but we are making a lot of progress,” Davis said.
Planning Operations Section Chief Brett Waters echoed the report, saying “We’re really in excellent shape. Things have been progressing tremendously well.” He said increased humidity is helping firefighters and contingency lines were almost complete in the northwest corner of the fire. Patrol and mop-up continues in those areas, he said.
He said firefighters also did some cleaning up of leftover fire hazards in the Van Duzen Road area near Coffee Pot Road, near the Humboldt County line. Fires there were confined to small islands of unburned vegetation, which closed in on themselves, he said.
In the Bradburn Creek Drainage area south of Zenia and Kettenpom, there were no changes to fire containment over the weekend and heat-detecting planes were able to confirm that those areas are ready to be mopped up.
Waters said the same is happening near the Mendocino County border, where no new fire activity has been detected.
Waters predicted that firefighters would continue to make progress, so that home and landowners can soon return to their properties and homes.
Waters said that two groups are conducting fire suppression repair in burned areas.
“That’s where we’re doing good management techniques for the land, to protect for erosion when we have the snowfall and we have the runoff so it’s not causing more problems, because as we know, that’s going to go into the rivers and create some issues,” he said. “So that’s a tremendous amount of work there.”
A release from the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office Monday lifted the evacuation warning for Zenia, Kettenpom, Mad River and Ruth.
“The area of Friend Mountain will be reduced from an evacuation order to an evacuation warning,” the release said. “The area of Bear Wallow will remain in an evacuation order. All other evacuation orders and warnings will remain in place.”
According to the release, Highway 36 will also remain closed from Highway 3 to South Fork Mountain Summit.
Caltrans Information officer Chris Woodward said Monday that escorted traffic is being allowed into the area twice daily at 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. He said Caltrans is working with fire and law enforcement agencies to potentially extend those escort periods to three daily trips.
However, a lot of work remains before the road can open. Wooodward said Caltrans’ contractor will need to remove as many as 2,500 hazardous trees near the roadway and repair several sections of guardrail that were destroyed by fire.
“We may be looking at another five weeks of work,” he said, noting that the contractor may need until the end of November to fully repair the roadway.
Woodward asked motorists to limit their time on Highway 36 to important travel only, and to check with Sheriff’s Department for access to roads leading off Highway 36. Those hoping to drive to and from the coast for recreation and non-urgent matters are asked to use other highways.
Help sought for Southern Trinity
Southern Trinity County is in a tight spot with unimaginable catastrophic fire.
Several years ago the Weaverville Lions solicited funds for neighbors who lost their homes in the Helena fire, with your generosity the Lions helped them considerably. With more than 1 million acres lost in the August Complex through six counties, the Lions are faced with doing it again for neighbors and friends to the south.
Please consider sending funds to the Weaverville Lions, either by mail at Weaverville Lions, P.O. Box 386, Weaverville, CA 96093, or dropping it off with Lion Dave Marceau at the Floor Store, 1306 Nugget Lane, Weaverville. The Lions hope to assist some of their southern friends with necessary financial help and/or housing.