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Fire at a glance (numbers)

  • Incident Name: August Complex – north
  • State: CA
  • Lead Agency: STF
  • Size (acres): 846,898 (All Zones)
  • Percent Contained: 38%
  • Estimate of Containment: November 15, 2020
  • Personnel: 2,002
  • Structures Destroyed: 35

August Complex (2 fires), Mendocino NF, USFS. Area Command (Jalbert), IMT 1 (GB Team 2) and IMT 1 (AK Team 1). Fourteen miles northwest of Elk Creek, CA. Timber, chaparral and tall grass. Moderate fire behavior with running, flanking and torching. Several communities threatened. Evacuations, area, road and trail closures in effect.

September 22, 2020 at 9:27 AM

A hard closure remains in effect on Lower Mad River Road between Dam Camp and Fir Cove due to smoke and fire traffic in the area. Last evening strategic firing occurred to secure the area along South Fork Mountain down behind homes in Ruth which brought controlled fire down the western slope. Additional dozer lines were constructed between houses to bolster structure defense. This operation will continue throughout the week.

Dozers and other heavy equipment continue to tie in existing ridges and roads to keep the fire south of Highway 36. Firefighting resources and dozers are also working hard within and around the community of Post Mountain/Trinity Pines to improve pre-existing dozer lines. “These lines are being built in order to stop the forward progression of the fire towards this community” stated Incident Commander Norm McDonald.

Fire managers are focused on the protection and defense of the communities of Ruth Lake, Forest Glen and Trinity Pines/Post Mountain. Structure protection is ongoing and can mean various things; securing existing fire lines surrounding homes, clearing flammable vegetation around structures when possible and installing sprinkler systems around structures.

Established containment lines on the eastern portion of the fire east of East Low Gap are being actively monitored. Crews are mopping up, improving fire lines, dropping snags and making sure the fire line will continue to hold. Ground resources will be actively patrolling containment lines.

In the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness along Wrights Ridge, the August Complex North and South Zones have burned together. Wildfire activity can change quickly and so evacuation warnings and orders may also change at any time. The public is reminded to stay aware of current fire conditions and follow all Evacuation Orders and Warnings.

Smoky conditions over the fire cleared briefly yesterday which allowed air resources to assist firefighters on the ground. However, warm and dry conditions are expected to continue today. Smoke is once again expected to impact fire today as southwest transport winds develop.

September 20, 2020 at 11:25 AM

An additional four Type 2 Initial Attack Hand Crews have been routed to the North Zone August Complex for four days to assist in building dozer line ahead of the fire, south of Highway 36. The crews Lassen, Trinity, Iron Mountain and Lone Star State will work with fire managers and other resources on the ground to construct indirect line to reduce the fuels and slow the progression of the fire. Dozers and other heavy equipment are working to prep and strengthen the area south of the highway and existing fire breaks surrounding the community of Post Mountain/Trinity Pines. Engine crews will assess homes and prepare for the potential of the fire crossing Highway 36. The additional resources arrived at a critical point to improve and hold fire lines as the fire progress north towards Highway 36 and Post Mountain/Trinity Pines.

In Ruth a hand crew was added to last night’s shift to assist fire resources with firing operations which brought controlled fire down the western slope of South Fork Mountain to Highway 26 to reinforce containment lines. The structure protection groups are continuing to assess and provide structure protection within Ruth Valley, Hettenshaw Valley, Kettenpom and Forest Glen as well.

Established containment lines on the eastern portion east of East Low Gap are being actively monitored. Crews are mopping up along Forest Road 35 from East Low Gap to Stuart Gap.

In the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness along Wrights Ridge, the August Complex North and South Zones have burned together. The public is reminded to stay aware of current fire conditions and follow all Evacuation Orders and Warnings when they are issued.

Dry and warm conditions are expected to continue through the middle of next week with light terrain driven winds. Smoky conditions over the fire are expected to continue limiting opportunities to use aircraft.

September 19, 2020 at 11:59 AM

A cold front moved through the area bringing higher humidity, more cloud cover and isolated showers. A gradual wind shift from the north is expected to moderate fire behavior. Structure defense, line construction and tactical firing operations (applying fire on the ground to remove vegetation and widen containment lines) remain a priority. As of 6:00 am, the North Zone area is being managed by Alaska Incident Management Team 1 under Incident Commander Norm McDonald.

The fire crossed north of Rattlesnake Ridge several days ago and firefighters are continuing structure protection efforts in the Forest Glen area. Crews are assessing the Post Mountain/Trinity Pines for structure defense and working to strengthen existing fire breaks in the area. Structure defense continues in Ruth Valley and Hettenshaw Valley with structure preparation ongoing in Kettenpom Valley. The public is reminded to stay aware of current fire conditions and follow all Evacuation Orders and Warnings when they are issued.

Tactical firing operations continue on the northwest portion of the fire towards Ruth Valley and northeast towards Double Cabin Flats to reduce the fuels and slow the progression of the fire. Direct and indirect control lines have been constructed from Zenia Road east of the East Fork of the Eel River to Mad River Ridge.

On the northeast perimeter (Shasta-Trinity NaSonal Forest), good progress has been made and crews continue to reinforce the containment line along the 35 Road. Established containment lines in this area are being actively monitored to prevent fire from crossing the 35 Road to Stuart Gap.

In the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness along Wrights Ridge, the August Complex North and South Zones continue to merge, therefore it is not safe to put firefighters in the area.

September 18, 2020 at 10:28 AM

A cold front moving onshore will bring higher humidity, more cloud cover and isolated showers to the area. Priorities remain on structure defense, indirect line construction (away from the fire’s edge), direct line construction and tactical firing operations (applying fire on the ground to remove vegetation and widen containment lines).

The fire has crossed north of Rattlesnake Ridge and firefighters are conducting structure protection efforts in the Forest Glen area. Today crews are assessing the Trinity Pines/Post Mountain area for structure defense. Structure defense continues in Ruth Valley and Hettenshaw Valley with structure preparation ongoing in Kettenpom Valley. The public is reminded to stay aware of current fire conditions and follow all Evacuation Orders and Warnings when they are issued.

Tactical firing operations continue on Horse Ridge, west toward Ruth Valley to check northerly progression of the fire. Direct and indirect control lines have been constructed from Zenia Road east of the East Fork of the Eel River to Mad River Ridge.

On the northeast perimeter (Shasta-Trinity National Forest), good progress has been made and crews continue to reinforce the containment line along the 35 Road. Established containment lines in this area are being actively monitored.

In the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness along Wrights Ridge, the August Complex North and South Zones continue to merge, therefore it is not safe to put firefighters in the area.

Weather: A low pressure system will continue to bring higher humidity and more cloud cover in addition to isolated showers in the area. A southwest wind is expected today becoming west later in the day. A drier and warmer pattern is expected for early next week.

September 17, 2020 at 11:31 AM

A cold front will move through the area bringing a slight chance of light showers this evening and tomorrow. Priorities remain on structure defense, indirect line construction (away from the fire’s edge), direct line construction and tactical firing operations (applying fire on the ground to remove vegetation and widen containment lines).

Structure defense continues in Ruth Valley and structure preparation is ongoing in the communities of Hettenshaw and Kettenpom Valleys, Forest Glen and Trinity Pines/Post Mountain. The public is reminded to stay aware of current fire conditions. Please follow all Evacuation Orders and Warnings when they are issued.

The fire spotted to the north of Rattlesnake Ridge and it is a priority to stop the progress north toward Forest Glen, and Trinity Pines/Post Mountain. Line construction continues from Ruth Valley west to the Middle Fork of the Eel River.

Firefighters continue to construct indirect line to Horse Ridge and direct line to the Middle Fork of the Eel River. Direct and indirect control lines from Ruth Lake Road to Mad River Ridge are also being worked on.

On the northeast perimeter (Shasta-Trinity National Forest), good progress has been made and crews continue to reinforce the containment line along the 35 Road using tactical firing operations. Established containment lines in this area are being actively monitored.

Smoke has been preventing the use of aircraft, however yesterday air operations were able to occur on the west side of the fire.
In the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness along Wrights Ridge, the August Complex North and South Zones continue to merge, therefore it is not safe to put firefighters in the area.

Weather: A low pressure system will bring increased southwest winds today. Higher relative humidity is expected with a slight chance for late afternoon showers in southwest Trinity County. Winds are expected on the ridgetops between 10-15 mph with gusts to 25 mph. Rain chances diminish later Friday and wetting rains are not expected. A drier and warmer pattern is expected for early next week.

Smoke Outlook: Continue to expect improving air quality today on the south and west of the fire due to predominant southwesterly and westerly winds. Smoke from the northern portion of the incident will move more north by northeast

September 16, 2020 at 12:30 PM

Dry weather continues to aid active fire behavior. Priorities remain on structure protection, indirect line construction (away from the fire’s edge), direct line construction and tactical firing operations (applying fire on the ground to remove vegetation and widen containment lines).

Structure defense continues in Ruth Valley and structure preparation is ongoing in the communities of Hettenshaw and Kettenpom Valleys, Forest Glen and Trinity Pines/Post Mountain.

On the northeast perimeter (Shasta-Trinity National Forest), good progress has been made and crews continue to reinforce the containment line along the 35 Road using tactical firing operations.

A successful tactical firing operation occurred overnight with good progress made securing the fireline along Horse Ridge to South Fork Mountain. South of Rattlesnake Ridge, efforts continue to secure hot spots north of the South Fork of the Trinity River. Line construction continues from Ruth Valley west to the Middle Fork of the Eel River.

In the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness along Wrights Ridge, the August Complex North and South Zones continue to merge, therefore it is not safe to put firefighters in the area.

September 15, 2020 at 2:10 PM

Active fire behavior is expected to continue with dry conditions and low relative humidity. Our priorities are focused on life and property; our strategy continues to be focused on structure protection, indirect line construction (away from the fire’s edge), direct line construction and tactical firing operations (applying fire on the ground to remove vegetation and widen containment lines).

Firefighters are focusing on suppression actions on the north and northwest areas of the fire. Crews are working to secure spots occurring north of the South Fork of the Trinity River and south of Rattlesnake Ridge. Line construction continues from Ruth Valley west to the Middle Fork of the Eel River, east to Horse Ridge. Structure defense will continue in the Ruth Valley.

Dozers continue to construct indirect lines on Forest Road 3S09 (Six Rivers National Forest) to Zenia Lake Mtn Road (3S21). Crews are working to complete hand lines from the east to the Middle Fork of the Eel River. Structure preparation continues in the communities of Hettenshaw and Kettenpom Valleys.

On the northeast perimeter (Shasta-Trinity National Forest), crews continue to reinforce the containment line along the 35 Road. Firefighters have made good progress west of Rat Trap Gap improving the line and using tactical firing operations where possible.

In the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness along Wrights Ridge, it is forecasted that the August Complex North and South Zones will merge, therefore it is not safe to put firefighters in the area.

September 14, 2020 at 10:30 AM

Today will be another day of critical fire weather due to dry conditions, low relative humidity and less smoke shading. The priority in the North Zone is structure protection, indirect line construction (away from the fire’s edge), direct line construction and tactical firing operations (applying fire on the ground to remove vegetation and widen containment lines).

The fire continues to be active northeast of Ruth and firefighters will engage in structure defense around the homes on the east side of the Ruth Valley. It has spotted on the north side of the South Fork of the Trinity River northeast of Stockton Flats.

Dozers continue to construct indirect lines on Forest Road 3S09 to Zenia Lake Mtn Road (3S21). Crews are working to complete hand lines to the Middle Fork of the Eel River and will continue to prepare structures in the communities of Hettenshaw and Kettlepom Valleys.

On the northeast perimeter (Shasta-Trinity National Forest), crews continue to reinforce the containment line along the 35 Road. Crews will continue working from the west of Rat Trap improving the line and using tactical firing operations where possible. A ten-person crew of smokejumpers is working the northern perimeter of the fire to assess historic structures in the area.

Weather: A low pressure system will continue to bring lighter southwest winds. Low relative humidity will continue to create elevated fire weather conditions.

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Smoke Outlook: Air quality remains Unhealthy in many areas, and Very Unhealthy conditions overnight in foothill areas. With light southwesterly winds today and tomorrow expect some midday lessening of smoke which will settle back in overnight. Smoke from fires to the east and south continue to add to overall smoke concentrations.

September 13, 2020 at 9:59 AM

Conditions today will be dry, windy and with less smoke which will influence fire behavior. The priority in the North Zone is structure protection, indirect line construction (away from the fire’s edge) and tactical firing operations (applying fire on the ground to remove vegetation and widen containment lines).

In Ruth Valley, south of Ruth (Six Rivers National Forest), the fire has become established above the Ruth Community Church and northeast of Horse Ridge Lookout. As the fire continues to move northeast, firefighters will engage and do structure defense around the homes along the Ruth Lake Road.

On the west perimeter of the fire (Zenia Area), dozers are being used to construct indirect lines on Road 3S09 to Zenia Lake Mtn Road (3S21). Crews are working to complete hand lines to the Middle Fork of the Eel River.

On the northeast perimeter (Shasta-Trinity National Forest), the 35 Road continues to be an important strategic containment line to stop the progress of the fire. Crews continue working from Rat Trap to the east, improving the line and using tactical firing operations. The east perimeter near Red Bluff is in mop-up and patrol status. A ten-person crew of smokejumpers will be utilized on the north portion of the fire to assess historic structures in the area.

Weather: A trough of low pressure will bring gusty south-southwest winds over the area. The winds combined with the low relative humidity will create elevated fire weather conditions.

Smoke Outlook: Air quality remains unhealthy in many areas, with very unhealthy air overnight in foothill areas strongly affected by settling of down drainage smoke. Slightly stronger southerly winds may bring some gradual improvements today, with southwesterly winds continuing the slow clearing trend tomorrow.

Evacuation Orders and Warnings for Mendocino, Humboldt, Tehama and Trinity Counties.

Mendocino County: Evacuation Orders
• Zone S – South of County Line, East of Bell Springs Rd, North of Bell Springs Creek and West of the North Fork of the Eel River.
• Zone Q – South of the County Line, West and North of the North Fork of the Eel River and North and East of Bald Mountain Rd.
Evacuation Warnings
• Zone U – South of the County Line, East and North of the East Branch of the South Fork of the Eel River, West of Bell Springs Rd.
• Zone T – South of Bell Springs Cekk, East of Bell Springs Rd, North of Iron Peak and Simmerly Rd, West of the Eel River.
• Zone R – West of south Mina Rd, South of the North Fork of Eel River, East of the Eel River.
• Zone P – South of the County Line, East of the Mina Rd, North of Hulls Valley Rd and West of Hulls Creek.
• Zone O – South of the County Line, East of Hulls Creek, North of Mendocino Pass Rd, and West of Williams Creek.

Evacuation Point: Covelo High School, 76280 High School Street, Covelo, CA

Small/Large Animal and Livestock Care: Covelo Rodeo Grounds, 77286 Covelo Rd, Covelo, CA. Laytonville Rodeo Grounds are open for livestock (Harwood Rd, Laytonville, CA).

Trinity County: Evacuation Orders
• Ruth, Zenia, Kettenpom, Hettenshaw Valley
• The southeast area of Ruth Lake up to and including Journey’s End
Evacuation Warnings
• Mad River, Forest Glen and Post Mountain
• The North area of Ruth Lake from Journey’s End to Highway 36

Evacuation Point: Humboldt County Fairgrounds, 1250 5th Street, Ferndale, CA 95536

Humboldt County: Evacuation Line for Humboldt County residents is 707-268-2500.
Evacuation Orders
• Areas south of Highway 36 in Bridgeville, and all communities along Alderpoint Road down to the Mendocino/Trinity County Line.
Evacuation Warnings
• Areas west of Bell Springs Road to Highway 101 spanning from Alderpoint Road to the Mendocino/Trinity County Line (including Garberville).
• Alderpoint, Palo Verde, Island Mountain and Harris

Forest Closures: Shasta-Trinity, Mendocino, and Six Rivers National Forests.
Due to unprecedented and historic fire conditions throughout the state, the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region has closed all 18 national forests in California. This includes the Mendocino, Shasta- Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests. It is critical that all national forest visitors follow these important closures and restrictions for their own safety and the safety of our firefighters.

September 12, 2020 at 12:28 PM

The priority in the North Zone will continue to be structure protection, indirect line construction (away from the fires edge) and tactical firing operations (applying fire on the ground to remove vegetation and widen containment lines).

In Ruth Valley, south of Ruth (Six Rivers National Forest), firefighters are doing structure defense preparation around the homes on both sides of the Ruth Lake Road up to the Ruth Store. This work will help firefighters defend the structures as the fire moves to the north.

On the west perimeter of the fire, in the Zenia area, dozers are being used to construct indirect lines down to the Middle Fork of the Eel River.

On the northeast perimeter (Shasta-Trinity National Forest), the 35 Road continues to be an important strategic containment line to stop the fires progress. Crews continue working from Rat Trap to the east, improving the line and using tactical firing operations. The east perimeter near Red Bluff is in mop-up and patrol status.

September 12, 2020 at 11:09 AM

As of 6:00 AM, Friday, September 11, 2020, the fires that were formally known as Elkhorn, Hopkins, Vinegar Peak and Willow Basin will now be reported as the August Complex-North Zone. The North Zone will be managed by California Interagency Management Team 5, under the direction of Rick Young, Incident Commander. The August Complex-North Zone is burning on the Mendocino, Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests.

With limited resources assigned to the August Complex-North Zone, the priority will be on structure protection in the Ruth Valley, south of Ruth (Six Rivers National Forest).  As the fire becomes more active throughout the day, firefighters will reposition to provide structure protection where needed.   On the North perimeter, (Shasta-Trinity National Forest) the priority is to improve the containment line along Forest Road 35.  Firefighters will continue to use tactical firing operations to widen the containment lines and stop the forward progress of the fire.   The east perimeter near Red Bluff is in mop-up and patrol status. 

September 12, 2020 Previous updates on the Mendocino August Complex can be found here.