Team 14 Incident Commander Mike Strawhun announced Wednesday, Nov. 11, the team assigned to the August Complex north area will be heading out, returning the areas to local control.
Strawhun wanted to thank the community for its support of the incoming fire management teams and for the displays of appreciation around the county. “It’s been a huge effort by everyone to fight the fire, protect the communities, and now, during our tenure, to put the fire to bed,” he said. “For my team, it’s been a very long summer for us here on the August Complex.” Strawhun said the team will now turn the forest back over to the National Forest offices.
In recent weeks, his team opened roads, repaired dozer lines, stabilized soils to prevent erosion, and put out numerous spot fires to prevent further loss of structures.
“Going forward, the [national] forests will continue to do repair and stabilization and try to bring the forest back to a natural state by repairing all the suppression actions,” he said.
“This will be the last update for the August Complex,” said lead Resource Adviser Galen Anderson Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 11. “It’s been a long, hard, exciting, sometimes difficult and sometimes rewarding journey and we’ll be back at it again next year.”
The million-plus acre fire burned for almost three months, destroyed homes and forests in three national forests and caused one death.
The complex was started by lightning on Aug. 16 and was originally recorded as being more than 30 separate fires. By the end of August, those fires had come together to become one fire moving mostly north as it joined other fires and was later named the August Complex. It’s currently recorded as the largest wildfire in California History.
According to Inciweb, the complex is now 100 percent contained, three days ahead of the previously projected Nov. 15 estimate.
However, Highway 36 remains under escorted control as Caltrans and its contractors reinstall guardrails, remove hazardous trees, and clear drainages. The work is expected to continue until the end of the month. Motorists are asked to use the highway only if necessary and through-traffic is advised to use other routes.
Fire restrictions have been lifted in Six Rivers National Forest and others around the region. Campers and others can now have open campfires outside of designated campgrounds as long as they have a California fire permit. The free permit can be obtained at www.preventwildfirecaa.org.
Forest Sup. Ted McArthur warned that even though there has been rain, visitors still need to be careful with fires in recently burned areas and be wary of fire-weakened trees.
With more rain in the forecast for Tuesday through Thursday, it’s likely the 2020 fire season has come to a close. Inciweb has not updated information on the Red Salmon Complex and the Slater Devil fires since Nov. 8, and the National Wildfire Coordinating Group maps show no new activity on either.