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Fire at a glance (numbers)

  • Incident Name: August Complex
  • State: CA
  • Lead Agency: MNF
  • Size (acres): 1,032,648 (All Zones)
  • Percent Contained: 99%
  • Estimate of Containment: November 15, 2020
  • Personnel: 679
  • Structures Destroyed: 871

August Complex (2 fires), Mendocino NF, USFS. IMT 2 (CA Team 14). Fourteen miles northwest of Elk Creek, CA. Timber, chaparral and tall grass. Minimal fire behavior with creeping and smoldering. Area, road and trail closures in effect.

November 8, 2020 at 11:32 AM

Crews on the South Zone of the August Complex completed an additional 6.7 miles of fireline repair Saturday. This effort combined with recent precipitation contributed to an increase in containment to 99%. The South Zone remained at 499,827 acres. Crews continued fire suppression repair operations around the M4 and M2 roads, Gloyd Slide, Mill Creek and Mendocino Pass.

Rehabilitation work included obliterating berms, providing drainage to prevent erosion, stabilizing landslide prone areas, and repairing roads damaged during suppression activities. In addition, crews completed repair of the Oak Flat Campground, which was used by crews as a spike camp, and it is re-opened to the public.

The transition of command of the South Zone (Coots IMT) to the Mendocino National Forest district fire managers is scheduled for Monday. Fire suppression repair work is slated to continue until winter weather prevents operations.

November 6, 2020 at 8:41 AM

August Complex suppression repair continues. Assessments of impacts are ongoing and accomplishments are being tracked through GIS. Personnel and equipment are currently working across private and public lands to assess impacts. Coordination between private, state, tribal, and federal mangers is ongoing.

North Zone: Irish Mnt. Group will continue to secure fireline into the South Fork of the Trinity River. Patrol and monitor fire, backhaul accountable property, and develop suppression repair priorities. Beegum Group will continue to patrol and monitor fire activity between DP 158 and DP 137. Monitor the fire within the Buck Fire (2017).

Patrol and mop up in the Ruth Lake area and Zenia. Suppression repair in the municipal watersheds of Mad River and South Fork of the Trinity River is continuing.

South Zone: Crews continue to mitigate hazards along system roads. Continue with suppression repair prioritization and implementation along dozer lines. Monitor and patrol control lines. Back haul all unneeded equipment and supplies.

October 25, 2020 at 10:03 AM

Today, warm and dry weather returns. Temperatures will reach 80 degrees, and relative humidity will drop to single digits. Winds will be variable, 6 to 12 mph with gusts to 30. At 11:00 am, a RED FLAG FIRE WEATHER WARNING will be in place. The unseasonably warm, dry, and windy weather pattern is expected to continue through Wednesday.

The Northwest and Northeast Zones of the August Complex are at 95% containment. Fire personnel continue to patrol and monitor the fire parameter.

On the west side, crews are mopping up in the West Fork of the Van Duzen River. Steep terrain has made fire suppression challenging, but progress has been made. Crews expect to have this section contained soon.

The fire burned around the 2015 Picket Fire burn scar at Forest Glen but stopped at the edge of the old burn and has not moved. Firefighters are monitoring the area.

On the north end, crews working in rugged terrain near Bear Wallow and Irish Mountain have built contingency lines ahead of the fire. This area has shown little growth, and firefighters will monitor the situation and take action as needed.

In the 2017 Buck Fire’s footprint on the east side of the complex, the fire stalled in the burn scar. This line is still uncontained, but the fire has not advanced, and infrared imagery shows very little heat remaining.

Crews working on suppression repair are making good progress. They are taking steps to minimize soil erosion and limit debris flows to protect the Humboldt Water Shed.

The night shift will have engines patrolling the fire perimeter as well as structures in the Mad River and Ruth Lake areas.

This will be the last update from Great Basin Team 1. Management of the fire will transition to the Shasta-Trinity, Mendocino, and Six Rivers National Forests. The leadership of Great Basin Team 1 and the three forests have worked tirelessly to ensure that this transition is seamless. The work of suppression and suppression repair will continue, utilizing the resources assigned to the fire.

October 22, 2020 at 9:51 AM

North Zone: Continue mop up and reinforcing line from Bear Hollow to Irish Mountain. From Irish Mountain to the east, continue line improvements where needed, mop up and backhaul fire suppression equipment where possible. Monitor fire activity in the East Fork of the South Fork Trinity River in the Buck Fire and all other areas. Resources will be conducting repair on indirect dozer line in critical areas of the municipal watershed. Crews will continue suppression actions along the 502 Road as well as conducting hazard tree mitigations within the road corridor.

South Zone Branch: Monitor through EGP site. Minor suppression repair and tiered demobilization of resources. Patrol and monitor area east of Covelo.

The Red Flag Warning on Thursday will reflect critical fire weather conditions all day. Some temperatures will be in the lower 90s and minimum humidity will be observed in the single digits. Northeast wind gusts along ridges will be at least 30 mph. On Friday the critical fire weather will abate during the day. On Saturday, a weak front will moisten the air over the fire for less harsh weather conditions.

October 21, 2020 at 8:37 AM

A fire weather watch will go into effect this evening and extend through Friday morning, October 23. A fire weather watch is one level below a warning. The conditions contributing to this watch include low relative humidity, strong winds, and extremely dry fuels. This morning the winds will be calm but will gradually increase, and relative humidity will decrease throughout the daylight hours. By early evening wind, humidity, temperature, and fuel conditions will reach a critical point, and the fire weather watch will be in effect.

Operations:

Great Basin Team 1 has been managing the Northwest Zone of the August Complex, while Great Basin Team 2 has been managing on the Northeast Zone. At 8:00 pm on October 20, 2020, Great Basin Team 1 assumed command of the Northeast Zone.

The majority of the fire perimeter is now contained. Where the fire perimeter is deemed contained, lines have been secured and mopped up, meaning no significant heat sources remain near the fire’s edge. In some cases, this buffer zone extends as much as 300-feet into the fire area. The fire is contained inside the perimeter and does not have adequate fuel in the buffer zone to escape containment.

Crews continue to backhaul equipment used during suppression operations. Gas-powered water pumps and many miles of fire hose are being collected and returned to base camps around the fire. Here the hoses are checked for damage, cleaned, and rolled. Pumps are inspected and prepared for storage. All these items will be returned to supply caches to be available for use on a future fire.

There are still a few small areas with uncontained fire line. One is the Kettenpom Area, where interior pockets of unburned fuels continue to be consumed. Firefighters are pleased with progress in securing this area. Further north, near Coffee Pot Road, crews completed a successful burning operation to strengthen the containment line. At the northernmost point of the August Complex, the fire at Irish Mountain has not grown in several days. Yesterday, helicopters dropped over 8,000 gallons of fire retardant along the fire perimeter in this area to ensure that the fire remains within its current boundary. Crews working on the Beegen Thumb report minimal fire activity in the area and are making good progress in completing fire control features.

Work continues along Highway 36, where Caltrans have been assessing and removing fire weakened trees that could threaten motorists. In the Ruth Lake Corridor, firefighters will continue to assist property owners in identifying and eliminating hazards trees. The area will be carefully patrolled to ensure that no concealed heat sources remain that might threaten the community.

October 20, 2020 at 8:49 AM

Northeast Zone: Minimal to moderate fire behavior with creeping and smoldering in stump holes and heavy fuels along the fire perimeter. Moderate to active fire behavior in the interior with backing, flanking and single tree torching. Some intense heat between Irish Mountain and Copper hill as well as a green island between Texas Chow Creek and Pony Buck Peak that continues to clean up. Fuels are still critically dry.

Northwest Zone: Fire activity concentrated within the current fire perimeter. Continued creeping and smoldering of heavy duff and fuels.

South Zone: Minimal fire behavior with smoldering in the larger fuels.

Planned actions:

Northeast Zone: The Highway 36 corridor is open to limited public traffic by Cal Trans via pilot car between Forest Glen and Post Mountain. Highway 36 will be monitored and debris along with hazard trees will be removed by Cal Trans personnel. Crews will continue to monitor the Beegum Thumb in the Middle Fork of Beegum Creek. Crews are retrieving and backhauling equipment throughout the fire area.

Northwest Zone: Crews will continue to mop up and strengthen control lines east of Highway 36 to the South Fork of the Trinity River, monitor and patrol in areas around Ruth Lake to Land Place and remove hazard trees along the 502 and 511 roads. Crews will continue suppression actions along the 502 Road.

Suppression Repair group supervisor is working with the Agency Administrator and Lead READ on coordinating EERA resources conducting suppression repair in key areas of the municipal watershed.

South Zone: Operations include monitoring fire area using the EGP site, tiered demobilization of resources and minor suppression repair.

Temperatures will be down one to three degrees as a cold air mass over the Pacific Northwest slowly moves southward and into California. Humidity will continue in the teens and low 20s for the afternoon. Wind will be slightly stronger but continuing on ridges from the northeast at 5 to 11 mph with gusts to 20 mph.

October 18, 2020 at 10:54 AM

South Zone Update – Mendocino National Forest:

Fire Information: 530-487-4602
Zone Size: 499,830 acres | Zone Containment Percentage: 90% |

Firefighters completed the remaining line in the Eel River Canyon while helicopters were used to drop water on isolated areas of heat near the river. Suppression repair activities, including constructing waterbars, removing dozer berms, spreading slash piles outside of dozer line where possible, using woody material that is two inches or less in diameter to cover line, and covering 50 percent of bare soil area with woody material are ongoing along the western side of the South Zone. Saturday firefighters completed one mile of handline and one and a half miles of dozer line repair in the southwest portion of the fire. For information on the three phases of wildfire recovery visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7228/.

Evacuations: For the latest evacuation information status in the South Zone, visit

South Zone, August Complex Update | Smoke Outlook, North Central CoastNorth Central Valley

Northeast and Northwest Zone Updates – Shasta-TrinityMendocino and Six Rivers National Forests: Road Closures: Visit Caltrans at https://roads.dot.ca.gov/Evacuation and Closures:

Trinity County:

On October 17, the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office updated their Evacuation Notices. Hazards remain in areas with lifted evacuations, including smoke, debris, and fire vehicles and personnel working in the area.

State Route 36: A pilot car is escorting eastbound and westbound traffic through SR 36 twice daily at 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. daily. Eastbound and westbound traffic must be in line at these times to pass through the area. Closure points are for westbound traffic at the junction with State Route 3 and for eastbound traffic at South Fork Mountain Summit in Trinity County. More single time openings are anticipated in the area. Motorists are asked to travel in the area only if necessary and through-traffic should consider alternate routes at this time.

Contact the Caltrans Public Information Office at 530-225-3426 or D2PIO@dot.ca.gov with questions

Closures: The following areas are lawfully closed to public access:

  • Bear Wallow Island Mountain, Friend Mountain, Little Round Mountain, Bradburn Creek, and Double Gate Roads, Hettenshaw Valley and Three Forks communities.

Warning: There is a potential threat to life and/or property. Those who require additional time to evacuate and those with pets and livestock should leave now. These locations include:

  • Forest Glen, Mad River, Mad River Road south of Ruth dam, Van Duzen Road from Highway 36 south to approximately mile post 6.5 (where the road crosses the Van Duzen River), Wildwood area, Mad River Road to Ruth Dam, Post Mountain, Kettenpom, Hettenshaw Valley South of the Ruth Zenia Road

Northeast Zone – Shasta-Trinity and Mendocino National Forests
Fire Information Line: 
(530) 628-0039

Zone Size: 272,089 acres | Zone Containment Percentage: 80% |

Yesterday, unseasonably high temperatures contributed to increased fire behavior in interior unburned islands of fuel near Pony Buck Creek, Texas Chow Creek, south of Rattlesnake Creek and near Progeny.  These areas of active fire are well interior to the existing fire perimeter and pose no threat to containment lines.

Increased containment was achieved in Beegum Creek, east of Pony Buck Peak and along Hwy 36 east of Forest Glen.  Firefighters patrolled and mopped up remaining hot spots along near Irish Mountain and the fire remained within its existing footprint. Helicopters supported firefighters here with targeted bucket drops of retardant on ridgelines to further secure firelines. Backhaul of equipment and fire hose continued across all divisions.

Today will be the last operational day on the fireline for the 230 Marines from the 7th Engineer Support Battalion 1st Marine Logistics Group out of Camp Pendleton. Firefighters will continue to secure and fortify fire lines near Progeny and Bear Wallow Mountain. Suppression repair is being implemented on the eastern side of the fire 10 miles south of Patina and Beegum. Cal Trans is working on replacement and repair of guardrail and removal of over 2000 identified hazardous trees along State Route 36.

Northeast Zone, August Complex Update | Map | Smoke Outlook – Central ValleyCentral Coast

Northwest Zone – Shasta-Trinity, Mendocino and Six Rivers National Forests:

Fire Information Line: (707)-867-0965

Zone Size: 119,346 acres | Zone Containment Percentage: 94% |

In the Kettenpom area, firefighters worked to improve containment lines near the Double Gate Ridge. In areas where the containment lines are complete, crews backhauled portable pumps, hose line, and other equipment. Suppression repair is underway; firefighters are working to return hand and dozer line back to its natural state. 

Fire crews are patrolling and improving control lines from Zenia up to Summit Flat. Saw teams continue to identify and remove hazard trees along the 502 and 511 roads and fire personnel will continue to strengthen the containment lines at Coffee Pot. Resources will be mopping up around structures, backhauling equipment, and carrying out suppression repair work in Ruth Lake areas.  

Helicopters with PG&E are flying from Ruth Lake to replace damaged power poles and stretch electric lines to restore power to affected communities.  

October 16, 2020 at 9:22 AM

Due to the Complex’s size, three Incident Management Teams are managing the incident: The Great Basin Team 1 (Kuo) is in the Northwest Zone, Great Basin Team 2 (DeMasters) is in the Northeast Zone, and SW Team 1 (Sinclair) is in the South Zone.

An Area Command Team is overseeing and coordinating the multiple Incident Management Teams and providing support to R5 Forest Service, and the Mendocino, Six Rivers, and Shasta Trinity National Forests. Area Command Team 1 (Reinarz) is in place.

In the interest of the safety of firefighters and visitors to the national forests in the Pacific Southwest Region, fire restrictions were extended to October 22 to prevent further fires from being started and overtaxing the resources of those fighting existing wildfires.

Forest Closures remain in effect:

Private properties accessed via a Forest System road may require a permit from the USDA Forest Service. Please contact the appropriate National Forest office for more information. Hunting and recreation are prohibited within the August Complex Closure area.

South Zone Update – Mendocino National Forest:

Fire Information: 530-487-4602
Zone Size: 548,295 acres | Zone Containment Percentage: 86%

Thursday a helicopter dropped water to cool a hotspot in the Middle Fork of the Eel River as crews worked to contain the fire in this area. Firefighters also strengthened firelines by chipping and using a masticator to grind vegetation while continuing work on a handline to tie in to the existing fireline in this section of the South Zone. Crews are challenged by steep, rugged terrain and hot, dry, windy conditions.

In the South Zone of the August Complex, firefighters are utilizing remote sensing data to monitor the east side of the South Zone for any remaining heat. Firefighters are also chipping firelines on the south side of the fire as part of suppression repair efforts. For information on the three phases of wildfire recovery visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7228/ .

Evacuations: For the latest evacuation information status in the South Zone, visit

South Zone, August Complex Update | Information Map | Air Quality Outlook, North Central Coast

Northeast and Northwest Zone Updates – Shasta-TrinityMendocino and Six Rivers National Forests:

A Red Flag fire weather warning remains in effect 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. 

Road Closures: Visit Caltrans at https://roads.dot.ca.gov/.

Evacuation and Closures:

Trinity County:

On October 13, the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office updated their Evacuation Notices. Hazards remain in areas with lifted evacuations, including smoke, debris, and fire vehicles and personnel working in the area.

The following areas are lawfully closed to public access:

  • Forest Glen, Island Mountain, Bear Wallow and Friend Mountain, including Rowdy Bear, Mad River Road south of Ruth dam, Hettenshaw Valley and Three Forks communities.
  • Hwy 36 remains closed from Southfork Summit Mountain east to the Hwy 3 intersection. 

Warning: There is a potential threat to life and/or property. Those who require additional time to evacuate and those with pets and livestock should leave now. These locations include:

  • Mad River, Van Duzen Road from Highway 36 south to approximately mile post 6.5 (where the road crosses the Van Duzen River), Wildwood area, Mad River Road to Ruth Dam, Post Mountain

October 14, 2020 at 8:55 AM

Weather: Warmer and noticeably drier conditions are expected along with gusty northeast winds. Mostly sunny skies will warm the temperature up into the low 70s to low 80s range with relative humidity values lowering to around ten percent. Winds will become north-northeast in the afternoon at speeds of 8 to 12 mph with gusts as high as 20 mph. Red Flag Warning in effect 11 pm Wednesday to 11 am Friday.

South Zone Update – Mendocino National Forest: 

The Southwest Area Incident Management Team 1 continues to coordinate with CAL FIRE Team 5 on control measures in the Middle Fork of the Eel River area, northeast of Covelo. Firefighters are constructing dozer line and handline in this area of the Mendocino National Forest to help protect local communities.

As temperatures warm up over the next few days, smoke may be visible in areas where vegetation within the fire’s perimeter continues to burn. Firefighters are patrolling the west and south side of the fire for heat. Firefighters are mopping up any areas of heat near the fire line to help ensure the fire perimeter remains secure. Firefighters are using remote sensing data that detects heat and periodic reconnaissance flights to monitor the east side of the South Zone.  Firefighters are using remote sensing data that detects heat and periodic reconnaissance flights to monitor the east side of the South Zone.   

For South Zone fire information, please call 530-487-4602

South Zone, August Complex Update

South Zone August Complex Map

Northeast Zone Update – Shasta-Trinity, Mendocino and Six Rivers National Forests:

 Fire lines held well across the fire’s perimeter with dozers and crews strengthening primary and alternate containment lines. Near Progeny and the South Fork Trinity River firefighters installed hose along dozer lines to further secure the fire perimeter if firing operations are needed in the future. In Rattlesnake Creek, mop up led by U.S. Marine firefighters continued and additional fire line containment was achieved. Further west near Pony Buck Peak in the 2017 Buck Fire area, warming temperatures resulted in islands of unburnt fuels in the fire’s interior burning out. Near Round Mountain hot shot crews completed line construction in Beegum Creek and further secured line in the drainage.

Today dozers near the South Fork Trinity River are working to complete critical lines west and northwest of Bear Wallow Mountain. Hot shot crews will continue to strengthen line near Round Mountain in Beegum Creek and build direct line in the Buck Fire scar down to the South Fork Trinity River. Helicopters will assist with target bucket drops of water on hot spots as needed. Backhaul of firefighting equipment continues on the east end of the fire today, approximately 10 miles south of Hwy 36.

For more information on the Northeast Zone, call (530) 628-0039.

Northeast Zone, August Complex Update

Northeast Zone August Complex Map

Northwest Zone – Shasta-Trinity, Mendocino and Six Rivers National Forests:
Management of the Northwest Zone transferred to Great Basin National Incident Management Team 1 with Evans Kuo as the Incident Commander. 

Firefighters continue making steady progress throughout the entire Zone. Masticators continued clearing roadway debris and removing felled trees north of Ruth Lake along Mad River Road. Dozers worked nearby, building secondary containment line. West of Van Duzen Road, firefighters continued improving direct and indirect lines towards the Lassic Fire scar in preparation for potential firing operations. South of Little Round Mountain near Kettenpom, firefighters continued mopping up line proximate to the recent burnout. Helicopters helped throughout the day with targeted water buckets for hot spots and pretreating lines. 

Continued warm weather and clear skies today will help firefighters identify and diligently mop sup hot spots throughout the unsecured portions of the fire perimeter. Firing operations on unburned islands south of Little Round Mountain may occur, should conditions be favorable. Crews will continue mastication on Mad River Road, constructing dozer line nearby, and improving line west of Van Duzen Road. 

Where fire line containment has been achieved, crews are beginning suppression repair, which includes installing waterbars and pulling debris over handline and dozer line to reduce erosion potential and other activities to mitigate damage caused by fire suppression activities. 
 
For more information on the Northwest Zone, call (707)-867-0965.

Northwest Zone, August Complex Update

Northwest Zone August Complex Map

October 11, 2020 at 9:26 AM

On Saturday firefighters completed a fireline around the slopover northeast of Lake Pillsbury, near Bloody Rock. They will continue to mop-up and patrol this area for several days to help ensure the area is secure. 

The Southwest Area Incident Management Team is coordinating closely with CAL FIRE Incident Management Team 5 to support suppression actions to protect local communities at risk. Firefighters are scouting potential opportunities to engage the fire in the Hellhole Canyon area, northeast of Covelo, where they can do so safely and effectively. 

Fire crews and engines continue to patrol the southern and western perimeter of the South Zone. Firefighters plan to patrol the eastern side of the South Zone with aircraft today. With cooler temperatures and increased relative humidity expected to continue through weekend, minimal fire activity is expected.  

No flights occurred yesterday, as cloud cover limited visibility. However, firefighters on the ground continued to scout areas where fire suppression actions have occurred and plan for repair opportunities. Today firefighters will begin repairing handline constructed on the southwest portion of the fire. For information on the three phases of wildfire recovery visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7228/    

EVACUATIONS: For the latest evacuation information status in the South Zone, visit https://tinyurl.com/MendoEvac for Mendocino County, https://tinyurl.com/LakeCoIncidentViewer for  Lake County, and https://nixle.com/county/ca/glenn/ for Glenn County. 

CLOSURES: Order No. 08-20-14 is in effect for the Mendocino National Forest. Private properties accessed via a Forest System road may require a permit from the USDA Forest Service. Please contact the Mendocino National Forest at 530-934-3316 for more information.

SAFETY: Across California hot and dry conditions persist. While the area has received some limited precipitation, conditions have yet to improve and alleviate the fire threat. Know before you go. Visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/mendocino for current fire restrictions and closure information. We need everyone’s help in preventing any fires from starting. One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire. 

For South Zone fire information, please call 530-487-4602

North Zone Update – Shasta-Trinity, Mendocino and Six Rivers National Forests:   

Weather: Rains fell across much of the fire area yesterday providing some much-needed moisture, anywhere between 0.12 inches and 0.25 inches. This was by no-means a season-ending event, and the fire is still active. Starting today and continuing for the next several days the chance of rain is 0%. This drying trend will combine with increased temperatures over the next couple days, which could increase fire behavior and intensity. For today, temperatures remain cool with highs in the low 70’s with N/NW winds at 8-12 mph. 

Northwest Zone – Crews took advantage of yesterday’s moisture to further-solidify containment lines over much of the Northwest Zone. Masticators continued their important work of clearing roadway debris and removing felled trees north of Ruth Lake along Mad River Road. Dozers worked nearby, building secondary containment line. Firefighters have completed line construction from Van Duzen Road to the Mad River Road at Ruth Lake. Due to poor visibility, helicopters were not in operation.

Today, crews continue mopping up along containment lines across the Northwest Zone and patrolling around nearby structures in the Ruth Lake Area and north on the Mad River Road. West of the Ruth Lake, crews continue line construction from the Lassic Fire burn scar near Coffee Pot eastward towards the lake. Dozers continue indirect line construction north of Mad River Road on the 12 Road. Crews continue mop up and patrol along the burn south of Little Round Mountain. In the coming days, firing operations may commence in unburned islands near the fireline in the Ketten Pom area. This work would consume unburned fuel at a low intensity. Helicopters remain ready to assist firefighters on the ground with bucket support, reconnaissance operations, and potential aerial ignition support.

Northeast Zone – Fire activity was moderated yesterday by high humidity and some precipitation that occurred across most areas of the fire. Where rain showers were heavier crews patrolled the fire from Hwy 36. The moisture allowed fire crews to make good progress and engage the fire directly in the afternoon. Near Irish Mountain and Little Bear Wallow Creek the fire received near one tenth of an inch of rain and hand crews completed and strengthened direct line around spot fires that crossed firelines the previous day. Heavy helicopters assisted firefighters here yesterday as skies cleared and dropped numerous buckets of water to extinguish hot spots near the fire’s edge. South of Post Mountain and in the Rattlesnake Creek area crews were able to gain increased depth with their mop-up work and further secure the fireline. In Beegum Creek the fire received less rain, however firefighters were able to keep the fire within its current footprint due to overall subdued fire activity. 

Today, northwest winds behind the passing front could gust to 15 mph and will bring drier air across the fire. In the afternoon, fire activity may increase where wind comes into alignment with terrain and slope, especially in the Beegum Creek drainage. Additional fire resources and hotshot crews will be deployed to focus areas in Beegum Creek, south of Pony Buck Peak and Bear Wallow Creek. In South Fork Trinity River drainage, firefighters will work to fortify contingency dozer and hand lines and continue brushing FS Road 1S14. In Bear Wallow Creek near Progeny, crews will install hose lays and conduct strategic firing operations to secure fireline. North of Hwy 36 and in the communities of Beegum and Patina firefighters will further structure assessments and preparations.   

October 10, 2020 at 10:59 AM

Weather:
Saturday will be mostly cloudy and cooler with a chance of intermittent light rain. The temperature will be 69-74 in the valleys and 59-64 in higher elevations. The humidity is expected to be in the 45-55 range. The wind will be southeast to southwest at 4-8 mph.


South Zone Update – Mendocino National Forest: 

WILLOWS, Calif. – October 10, 2020 – 
On Friday, a helicopter dropped water to support firefighters on the ground as they completed dozer and handline needed to help secure the fire’s edge along the slopover northeast of Lake Pillsbury, near Bloody Rock. Firefighters will be mopping up this area for several days.

On the west side of the South Zone, fire continues to back out of the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness onto CAL FIRE Direct Protection Area. The Southwest Area Incident Management Team is engaged in a coordinated and collaborative response with CAL FIRE to support suppression actions to protect local communities at risk. 

Firefighters are currently patrolling the eastern side of the South Zone with aircraft. Fire crews and engines are patrolling the southern and western perimeter of the South Zone. Minimal fire behavior is expected as cooler temperatures and increased relative humidity continue through the weekend. However, some smoke is expected to remain visible in areas as heavier fuels like logs and stumps continue to hold heat and the fire burns through pockets of previously unburned vegetation within the fire’s perimeter. 

Firefighters are evaluating areas across the South Zone to identify and prioritize suppression repair needs. They have begun ordering equipment and personnel to support suppression repair efforts in the coming days. 

North Zone Update – Shasta-Trinity, Mendocino and Six Rivers National Forests: 

Weather: Temperatures will be cooler and humidities higher than the area has seen for several weeks. A small chance of rain exists in the fire area, less than .10 inches possible. Southwest winds in the morning will shift to the northwest in the evening. Sustained winds 10-15 mph with gusts up to 25 mph. Fire activity may increase where wind comes into alignment with terrain. After today, chance of wetting rain over the next several days will revert to 0%. 

Northwest Zone – Yesterday’s weather provided firefighters the opportunity to fortify containment lines across the Northwest Zone. Crews focused their efforts on mopping up the previous day’s burning operation south of Round Mountain near Ketton Pom. To the north, crews continued establishing line from Coffee Pot to the Van Duzen Road. Further east, crews have nearly completed line construction from Van Duzen Road to the Mad River Road at Ruth Lake. Mastication operations along Mad River road helped clear the roadway of debris and snag falling hazards, providing for firefighter and future public safety. The favorable weather allowed helicopter operators to work with ground resources, providing targeted water bucket drops to cool hot spots and pretreat lines. 

Today, crews continue mopping up along containment lines and patrolling around nearby structures in the Ruth Lake Area and north on the Mad River Road. West of the Ruth Lake, crews will build line from the Lassic Fire burn scar near Coffee Pot, eastward towards the lake. Crews continue mop up and patrol along the burn south of Little Round Mountain. Helicopters remain ready to assist firefighters on the ground with bucket support and reconnaissance operations.

Northeast Zone – Skies were clear yesterday over the Northeast Zone which led to increased afternoon fire activity near Progeny, Little Bear Wallow Creek, and Beegum Creek. Near Progeny and Irish Mountain firefighters suppressed spot fires as fire behavior increased and continued to widen and improve indirect firelines. North of Hwy 36 in the South Fork Trinity River area dozers, chippers, and hand crews made progress on contingency firelines along FS Road 1S14.  Reduced smoke and improved visibility allowed helicopters to fly most of the afternoon and drop water on hotspots and slow fire spread near Progeny and in Little bear Wallow Creek. In Rattlesnake Creek, south of Post Mountain, fire activity was low, and firefighters and Marines made good progress in mopping-up and securing firelines. In Beegum Creek, hotshot crews built fireline along the eastern perimeter and Marines continued to mop-up and secure fireline on the northwestern perimeter. Helicopters also supported firefighters in Beegum Creek throughout the afternoon with numerous water bucket drops to reduce fire activity and spread.

Today, hand crews, dozers and chippers will continue to build, improve and secure firelines and focus areas will remain in Little Bear Wallow Creek and Beegum Creek. These are also drainages were increasing southwest winds could find slope alignment resulting in increased afternoon fire activity and spread. Structure assessments and preparations will continue in Beegum, Platina and areas north of Hwy 36. PG&E personnel will continue to inspect and repair powerlines along the Hwy 36 corridor west of Forest Glen in order to restore power and communications in the next few days to affected communities.     

October 9, 2020 at 8:08 AM

The August Complex is currently divided into four zones: Northwest, Northeast, South and West.  Effective Friday at 6 a.m. the Southwest Area Type 1 Incident Management Team #1 assumed command of the August Complex South Zone. 

On Thursday, a helicopter dropped water to support dozers and ground crews as they continued to secure the perimeter and mop-up around a 300-acre slop-over northeast of Lake Pillsbury, over the M6 Road near Bloody Rock.  Cooler temperatures and increased humidity are helping reduce fire activity. Pockets of heat within the fire’s perimeter are expected to continue to smolder. Firefighters will continue to mop up, monitor, and patrol along the firelines.  

Firefighters are currently assessing suppression repair needs. Suppression repair is a series of immediate post-fire actions taken to repair damages and minimize potential soil erosion and impacts resulting from fire suppression activities. This work repairs the hand and dozer fire lines, roads, trails, staging areas, safety zones, and drop points used during fire suppression efforts.

October 8, 2020 at 2:46 PM

The August Complex is divided into four zones: Northwest, Northeast, South and West. Southwest winds are favorable in the Northwest Zone, pushing the fire back on itself. The Northeast Zone is monitoring and watching lines closely as winds come through. Temps will lower and relative humidity will increase in the coming days with a chance of rain on Saturday.

Northwest Zone – Structure protection groups worked in the Ruth Lake and South Fork Trinity River areas yesterday. Crews continued to hold dozer lines east of Hwy (SR) 36 to South Fork Ridge. Firefighters worked to improve containment and contingency lines from Ruth Lake through the Gobler and Lassic Fires burn scars to below Mule Ridge, with firing operations to eliminate unburned fuels between constructed lines and edge of the fire. Crews worked diligently to improve and build lines from Coffee Pot to Kettenpom. The smoke lifted yesterday, allowing for helicopter water drops near Eel River.

Today, firefighters are monitoring and patrolling lines around the Ruth Lake area, including north of Journey’s End. Structure groups continue to work in Ruth Lake and South Trinity River areas. Fire personnel are constructing direct line from west of Van Duzen to Mule Ridge. With some fire activity in the old Lassics Fire footprint, crews in the area are focusing on improving lines from Coffee Pot north to Goat Hill and up to Mule Ridge. Aviation support will help crews in this area tomorrow.

Effective 10/08/2020 at 1000 hours Trinity County Sheriff’s Office plans to lift the evacuation order and place the communities of Van Duzen and Mad River under an Evacuation Warning. The Highway 36 road closure at the Humboldt County Line will be moved east to Highway 36 and the Mad River Road. The Van Duzen Road south to the Van Duzen River bridge will be placed under an evacuation warning with a hard closure located at the Van Duzen River Bridge on the Van Duzen Road. Highway 36 east of the Mad River Road to Highway 3 will remain on a hard closure. The Mad River Road South of Highway 36 will remain on a hard closure.

All other orders and closures remain in place.

Northeast Zone – Firefighters on Wednesday dealt with more active fire behavior in some locations due to clearer skies in the afternoon and low humidity. The area of the fire south of Irish Mountain and west of Copper Hill was especially active as the decrease in cloud and smoke cover warmed the highly combustible vegetation.  Existing dozer and hand lines south of Post Mountain held well despite the weather change.  Throughout this area, firefighters are mopping up and holding the fire along containment lines. Utility companies are hard at work inspecting and repairing infrastructure along Route 36, an effort expected to last several days.   

Fire crews made good progress in constructing hand line directly around the fire perimeter in the Middle Fork of Beegum Creek near Round Mountain and utilized helicopters to drop retardant along the southern portion of the fire. North of this area along Hwy 36, firefighters have been completing structure protection, installing hose lays, and other efforts to safeguard communities. Today’s operations will include the contributions of the newly arrived 250-person, U.S. Marines Corps Engineer Support Battalion from Camp Pendleton. The Marine Corps will strengthen the ability of firefighters to contain the fire.

October 7, 2020 at 8:15 PM

The August Complex has been divided into four zones: Northwest, Northeast, South and West. Southwest winds will be favorable in the Northwest zone, pushing the fire back on itself. The Northeast zone will be monitoring and watching lines closely as winds come through. Temperatures will lower and relative humidity will increase in the coming days with a chance of rain Saturday.


Northwest Zone – Yesterday crews took advantage of favorable weather conditions, supportive smoke inversions, and southwest winds to secure the fire perimeter by burning pockets of unburned fuel between the edge of the fire and the established control lines. Firefighters made good progress in containing spot fires east of South Fork Ridge and north of Ruth Lake. Structure groups continued work in the Ruth Lake Area and near Journey’s End. Crews worked on constructing direct line from the Van Duzen Road east to Lake Ruth. 

Today if conditions allow firefighters will continue firing operations in conjunction with work of structure protection groups to defend areas near Ruth Lake. Crews will continue to hold dozer lines east of Hwy (SR) 36 to South Fork Ridge. Fire personnel will strengthen dozer lines and contingency lines from the west side of Ruth Lake through the previous Gobbler and Lassics Fire burn scars to below Mule Ridge. Crews will be working to improve containment lines from Round Mountain to Kettenpom. More air resources will be relocating to the northwest zone and will be available to support firefighting efforts as visibility improves. As smoke blanket lifts, fire activity may increase and columns may become more visible.   


Northeast Zone – Great Basin Incident Management Team 2 assumed command today, Wednesday, of the Northeast Zone of operations. The zone’s Incident Command Post continues to be based in Redding, CA.  On Tuesday, the Alaska team focused both on effective operations and transitioning information to Great Basin team to enable a full continuity of operations. The control lines along Route 36 beginning at the west end, mile marker 64, were improved to reduce the threat of northward spread. The team partnered with CalFire to continue structure assessments and protection north of Route 36. A drone was flown along the South Mountain ridge to assist with firing operations. 

A priority on Wednesday will be creating line along the fire perimeter near Round Mountain. The team continues its progress on contingency dozer lines northeast of the South Trinity River. Many hazard trees are being removed along the Route 36 corridor, with structure protection on the north side nearly completed. Two additional hand crews have arrived and are beginning work in the active Round Mountain area. 

Tomorrow, the U.S. Marines from Camp Pendleton’s 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force will begin operations in this zone. They are forward-deployed to a spike camp and will field five 20-person strike teams comprised of ten 20-person crews that perform the full range of front-line firefighting tactics.  

October 6, 2020 at 9:02 AM

Smoke is still expected to stay in valleys throughout the day. Winds will be light out of the southwest. It continues to be hot and dry with a front approaching in the next several days.

Northeast Zone – Yesterday, firefighters took advantage of favorable light easterly winds over the fire area. The fire north of Round Mountain continues to back down into terrain that is difficult to access. Crews are scouting for opportunities to go direct, if safe to do so. Hotshot crews were able to engage the fire edge north of Beegum Creek. As smoke cleared due to east wind, aircraft were able to fly and support these crews with retardant and water drops. Crews will scout for locations to construct contingency lines. The burned area of the Buck Fire continues to be a good holding feature. The fire perimeter east of Yolla Bolly Mountain is in patrol status.

North of Forest Glen, firefighters are going direct to keep the fire between State Route 36 and Forest Road 14 and are improving contingency lines. Fire is slowly backing down to SR 36 south of Post Mountain and work on the contingency lines continues around Post Mountain. Structure preparation work around Wildwood, Harrison Gulch and Platina is ongoing. The primary and secondary containment lines west of Rowdy Bear and Indian Valley to the South Fork Trinity River are being improved utilizing forest roads and old fuel breaks. Heavy machinery is being followed by fire crews brushing along the lines. CalTran and fallers are clearing hazard trees along SR 36.

More than 250 Marines and sailors from Camp Pendleton, Calif., will be arriving on the August Complex Northeast Zone on Wednesday, Oct. 7, after being reassigned from the Creek Fire on the Sierra National Forest. There will be five strike teams formed from 10, 20-person crews along with their overhead personnel and a medical unit. They have been trained in firefighting tactics and have utilized their new skills from the past two weeks on the Creek Fire. They have built fireline, conducted tactical firing operations; cold trailed and mopped up perimeters. They will be integrated into the ongoing suppression efforts on the Northeast Zone starting Thursday. The service men and women are assigned to Camp Pendleton’s 7thEngineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

Northwest Zone – Good progress was made on putting out spot fires on the east side of the South Fork Ridge. Crews worked on a 50-acre spot fire north of Ruth Lake and west of South Fork Ridge, which is now stable. If conditions align, firing operations may be used to reduce fuels between the edge of the fire and containment lines in multiple locations across the Northwest Zone today. This will lead to better overall containment of the fire and allow crews to hold the fire within control lines. From SR (Hwy) 36 downhill to Ruth Lake, containment lines will be further secured to keep the fire from moving towards the northwest. Firefighters will work to secure a new dozer line north of Journey’s End and structure groups will continue to protect buildings as the fire backs downhill. Fire personnel will be working on dozer lines and contingency lines from the west side of Ruth Lake, through the previous Gobbler and Lassics Fires to below Mule Ridge. North of Zenia, if conditions cooperate, firefighters may carry out a firing operation near Big Meadow Creek to reduce fuel between the edge of the fire and the contingency lines that run from Coffee Pot to Round Mountain. Near Salt Creek, crews will improve containment lines around Litle Round Mountain to hold the fire north of Ketenpom, in cooperation with CAL FIRE. Where crews cannot directly fight the fire due to terrain or safety concerns, they are using indirect techniques such as anchoring to road systems and using dozer lines for containment well ahead of where the fire is currently burning.

In the Zenia area, crews will improve dozer contingency lines in anticipation of possibly carrying out night firing operations. By doing this in the evening, crews hope to take advantage of the higher humidity and lower winds to safely provide a slow creeping fire to reduce fuel between the fire front and the contingency lines. Along this front, this continued coordination with CAL FIRE is critical to our success is containing this fire. Where crews cannot directly fight the fire due to terrain or safety concerns, they are using indirect techniques such as anchoring to road systems and using dozer lines for containment well ahead of where the fire is currently burning.

October 4, 2020 at 10:11 AM
South Zone Update – Mendocino National Forest: 

Another day of hard work in the Lake Pillsbury region has resulted in high confidence in the integrity of the containment lines built to protect property and resources. All hose, fixtures, pumps, and other fire apparatus have been pulled and reset for potential use in the northwestern corner of the August Complex. Patrol status has been achieved at Lake Pillsbury, Rice Creek and adjacent areas.

Sunday will be a transitional day, with Pacific Northwest Team 2 migrating resources and strategy to the northwestern corner of the August Complex. In upcoming shifts, the team will further join forces with CAL FIRE and the Alaska IMT1. Along with that movement, task forces consisting of multiple fire engines and water tenders will continue patrolling the long containment lines from Lake Pillsbury to the west up to Eel River, and east and north to Paskenta.

For more information on the South Zone, call (530) 487-4602.  
 

North Zone Update – Shasta-Trinity, Mendocino and Six Rivers National Forests: 

(Redding, CA) – As the size of the incident grows, fire managers and U.S. Forest Service administrators have made the decision to reorganize the incident area into four geographic areas; Northwest Zone, Northeast Zone, South Zone and West Zone. This change is being made to increase oversight and optimize the utilization of resources.  One incident management team will be assigned to each zone. The West Zone will continue to be managed by CALFire and the other zones will each be managed by a national Type 1 team.

Favorable weather conditions have allowed firefighters to make good progress in all divisions.  On the east flank, the fire remains within the main containment lines. As the fire burns to the south from Red Mountain, crews are working to tie containment lines to the Buck Fire burned area. The fire continues to slowly back down towards State Route 36 along the northeast fire perimeter.  To the west on SR 36, the fire has spotted into the Pickett Fire burned area. Crews continue to improve dozer lines and provide structure protection in the Ruth Lake area and to north along Mad River and Van Duzen roads to SR 36. Dozer lines are being constructed utilizing forest roads and old fuel breaks northwest of Post Mountain to South Fork Trinity River to prevent the fire from spreading north towards Hyampom. CALFire is working in the area of Watts Lake, Zenia, and Kettenpom.

Even as firefighters make progress on securing the fire perimeter, fire danger remains extreme with dry vegetation, drought conditions, very low relative humidity, record temperatures, and potential for additional wind events. Fire behavior analysts refer to an index called “Probability of Ignition” (PIG). This rating describes the probability that an ember that lands on dry fuels will ignite a fire.  With the extreme dryness of both the fine fuels (grasses, bushes) and the 100-hour and 1,000-hour fuels (larger diameter downed trees), the PIG for this area is now 90%.  That means that if 100 embers reach a dry fuel source, 90 of them will start a fire. Given these extreme conditions, please comply with the Sheriff’s orders and leave quickly when an evacuation order is issued. Failure to evacuate diverts firefighters and public safety officers from protecting homes to assisting residents who should have evacuated.

Residents are not permitted entry into evacuated areas until the Sheriff lifts the orders. Public safety officers continue to enforce roadblocks for firefighter and public safety as well as property protection.

October 3, 2020 at 12:53 PM

Weather:  
A high pressure system will produce dry conditions and very warm temperatures. Smoke will continue to impact the August Complex and could hamper air support. Temperatures will be about 100 and humidity around 15%. Northwest winds will increase mid-afternoon at 10-15 mph with a few gusts as high as 20 mph.

 
South Zone Update – Mendocino National Forest: 

Substantial work was carried out along the southwestern corner of the fire near Big Signal Peak to mop up and secure unburned fuel within the control line. Fire personnel began assessing areas farther north along the southwestern edge in anticipation of moving and focusing resources in areas with more active fire. Crews pulled an eight miles of hose from the interior of the fire, from exterior lines that are fully contained, and contingency or back-up lines. Good progress was made along the eastern and southern edge by removing equipment and 60% of the hose that will be reallocated to higher priority locations.
 

Crews are moving clockwise around the perimeter toward the western area of the fire to gain further information to plan for next steps. Although resources are moving in that western vicinity, activity will continue elsewhere as crews focus on repair of fire suppression activities including dozer and handlines. Firefighters will continue patrolling and backhauling of equipment and hose along the eastern and southern edge, where there is good containment. The structure protection group will remove pumps, hose, and other fire apparatus from areas around Pillsbury Ranch and Rice Creek areas.

For more information on the South Zone, call (530) 487-4602.  
 

North Zone Update – Shasta-Trinity, Mendocino and Six Rivers National Forests: 

(Redding, CA) – As the size of the incident grows, fire managers and U.S. Forest Service administrators have made the decision to reorganize the incident area into four geographic areas; Northwest Zone, Northeast Zone, South Zone and West Zone. This change is being made to increase oversight and optimize the utilization of resources.  One incident management team will be assigned to each zone. The West Zone will continue to be managed by CALFire and the other zones will each be managed by a national Type 1 team.

Favorable weather conditions have allowed firefighters to make good progress in all divisions.  On the east flank, the fire remains within the main containment lines. As the fire burns to the south from Red Mountain, crews are working to tie containment lines to the Buck Fire burned area. The fire continues to slowly back down towards State Route 36 along the northeast fire perimeter.  To the west on SR 36, the fire has spotted into the Pickett Fire burned area. Crews continue to improve dozer lines and provide structure protection in the Ruth Lake area and to north along Mad River and Van Duzen roads to SR 36. Dozer lines are being constructed utilizing forest roads and old fuel breaks northwest of Post Mountain to South Fork Trinity River to prevent the fire from spreading north towards Hyampom. CALFire is working in the area of Watts Lake, Zenia, and Kettenpom.

Even as firefighters make progress on securing the fire perimeter, fire danger remains extreme with dry vegetation, drought conditions, very low relative humidity, record temperatures, and potential for additional wind events. Fire behavior analysts refer to an index called “Probability of Ignition” (PIG). This rating describes the probability that an ember that lands on dry fuels will ignite a fire.  With the extreme dryness of both the fine fuels (grasses, bushes) and the 100-hour and 1,000-hour fuels (larger diameter downed trees), the PIG for this area is now 90%.  That means that if 100 embers reach a dry fuel source, 90 of them will start a fire. Given these extreme conditions, please comply with the Sheriff’s orders and leave quickly when an evacuation order is issued. Failure to evacuate diverts firefighters and public safety officers from protecting homes to assisting residents who should have evacuated.

Residents are not permitted entry into evacuated areas until the Sheriff lifts the orders. Public safety officers continue to enforce roadblocks for firefighter and public safety as well as property protection.

A strong ridge of high pressure both at the surface and aloft will prevail across northern California into early next week. Winds will be generally light and terrain driven with continued poor nighttime relative humidity recoveries on mid-slopes and ridgetops. Strong daily inversions will persist, as mixing and transport winds are light, producing areas of thick smoke and limited visibility. In the fire area, temperatures are mainly in the upper 70s to mid-80s, depending on aspect and elevation with daily minimum relative humidity values in the upper teens to mid-20s.

September 30, 2020 at 8:59 PM

South Zone Update – Mendocino National Forest: 

This morning, Pacific Northwest #2 Incident Management Team under Incident Commander Rob Allen assumed command of the South Zone of the August Complex after transitioning with Mike Quesinberry’s NIMO team. The August Complex is 949,055 acres with 47% containment.

In addition to constant input from firefighters on the ground, data from nighttime infrared flights is being used to identify heat sources inside the control lines that need to be addressed. Crews spent Tuesday conducting mop up, checking control lines and enhancing structure protection in the Lake Pillsbury area. In areas where mop up has been completed and checked, firefighters are working to take down and retrieve hose lays, pumps, and portable tanks that were installed on alternate contingency lines.

A Burned Area Emergency Response Team (BAER) has begun work on the east side of the South Zone, collecting and analyzing information to document burn severity and to prioritize emergency stabilization measures. This long-term process is initiated as soon as possible after a wildfire, and will continue for up to a year to prevent further damage to life, property, or natural resources on Forest Service Lands. BAER teams identify needs in areas that are unlikely to recover naturally from wildand fire damage, and use that information to prioritize rehabilitation work.

For more information on the South Zone, call (530) 487-4602.  

North Zone Update – Shasta-Trinity, Mendocino and Six Rivers National Forests:  

  (Redding, CA) – While the high winds have subsided, the fire danger remains extreme. Many hazards lurk throughout the August Complex North Zone. Smoke is settling into the region. Fire personnel working on the northern and western flanks have reported zero visibility due to dense smoke. Highly combustible vegetation, falling trees, downed powerlines, exploding fuel tanks, and many other dangerous conditions are present throughout the active fire perimeter, which continues to grow.

It is extremely important for residents to stay out of closed and evacuated areas, allowing firefighters to maintain focus on the fire and the numerous hazards in the area. Please prepare to evacuate during a warning and leave quickly when an evacuation order is issued. Failure to evacuate diverts firefighters from protecting homes to assisting residents who should have evacuated. The Trinity County Sheriff issued a new evacuation warning on Tuesday for Bear Wallow and Friend Mountain, including Rowdy Bear, as terrain-driven winds could move the fire further north into the South Fork Trinity River drainage.

A damage assessment team has been ordered to assist the Trinity County Office of Emergency Services. They understand homeowners are eager for information. Staff will enter affected areas as soon as it is safe to do so and directly notify owners; your patience is appreciated. Roadblocks remain in place for firefighter and public safety as well as property protection. Please comply with the Sheriff’s orders.

Fire behavior remains active, with tree torching and uphill runs. Green pockets of vegetation continue to ignite near Forest Glen and Ruth Lake, posing on-going threats to structures. Firefighters are still working hard in Ruth, Post Mountain, Forest Glen, Three Forks, Hoaglin, Zenia, Kettenpom, Hettenshaw, and other affected communities to reduce hazards, protect structures, and conduct structure triage.

Today crews are working to hold and improve the containment line on the east side of the fire. The fire is progressing north of State Route 36 on both sides of the South Fork Trinity River. Firefighters are ready to conduct strategic burning operations south and west of Post Mountain when conditions permit. Structure protection remains a high priority for firefighters. Dozers and hand crews are constructing containment lines around homes and properties at risk. Plans are in progress for protection around the Hyampom community.

September 29, 2020 at 9:32 AM

A preliminary estimate shows structures and powerline infrastructure have been damaged or destroyed by the powerful wind-driven fire in the past few days. Trinity County Office of Emergency Services has not yet been able to begin damage assessments. They will enter the area as soon as it is safe to do so and directly notify owners; your patience is appreciated. Hot spots, falling trees, impassable roads, and many other hazards are present. Roadblocks remain in place for firefighter and public safety as well as property protection. Please comply with the Sheriff’s orders. Failure to evacuate diverts firefighters from protecting homes to assisting residents who should have evacuated. Crews continue working in Ruth, Post Mountain, and Forest Glen defending structures and conducting structure triage.

Smoke is expected to move back into the area over the next several days with a strong low-pressure system building over northern California. Lighter winds and shade from the smoke is anticipated to moderate fire behavior, but fire danger is still extreme. Dry fuels and winds can carry fire quickly. The winds are expected to shift to a flow from the north to northwest today, which will push the fire generally toward the southeast. However, the terrain can also funnel winds, shifting wind direction.

The fire continued to burn actively through the night with flanking, backing down slopes, and isolated tree torching. Firefighters patrolled and monitored structures on the west side of the fire last night and those efforts continue today. Crews conducted overnight strategic burning operations near Hettenshaw on the west side of the fire and near the junction of Forest Roads 30 and 35 on the east side. Firefighters continue to hold and improve containment lines on the northeastern flank prior to the shift in wind direction.

September 28, 2020 at 9:14 PM

Extreme fire behavior observed today with crowning, running, and long-range spotting. Spot fires have been identified north of Highway 36 and east of Forest Glen. Evacuation Orders and Warnings remain in effect for multiple areas. Red Flag Warning today for gusty winds and low humidity. Threats to communities, privates and Federal timberlands and ranchlands, powerlines gas lines, hydroelectric plants, critical emergency services communications infrastructure. There are threats to numerous cultural sites, and critical wildlife habitat. Naturally occurring asbestos poses a threat to firefighter safety. Highway 36 and multiple County Roads remain closed. Area and trail closures in effect.

September 26, 2020 at 11:53 AM

A Red Flag Warning goes into effect Sunday morning for critical fire weatherA combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures are forecast through Monday. Winds are predicted to come out of the north/north east at 15 to 20 mph, gusting to 40 mph on exposed areas and ridgetops. Extreme fire behavior is possible where the predicted weather conditions align with terrain.

Firefighters are doing everything they can to keep the fire south of State Route 36. Aircraft will assist the firefighters as they work to secure the northeast corner near Forest Glen. Strategic firing operations will continue to reduce unburned fuels between the highway and the fire. This will decrease the intensity of the fire as it approaches the road, and support firefighters in their efforts to hold the fire south of Route 36.

Firefighters are working with dozers and other heavy equipment east of Ruth to “secure, control and gain depth along the fireline there,” said Operations Section Chief Jon Glover. This is critical operation to complete before the wind shift on Sunday. “We are really trying to button up the control lines in the Ruth area ahead of the forecast wind shift,” said Planning Operations Section Chief Karen Scholl.

Firefighters in Post Mountain/Trinity Pines continue to clean up the dozer line, assess and test pumps and hoses. 

Over 120 firefighters are working through the night in the most critical areas of the fire. Handcrews, engines, and dozers are holding and strengthening the control lines from South Fork Mountain down to the South Fork Trinity River.  “Night shift is really hard duty, some of the most dangerous that we do is at night, and we appreciate all that you’re doing out there,” said Incident Commander Norm McDonald expressing his appreciation for the crews.

Firefighters on the ground were assisted by aircraft yesterday outside of Forest Glen. Helicopters and single engine airtankers dropped thousands of gallons of water, and a VLAT, or very large air tanker, was used to drop retardant. This is a temporary holding tactic that gives crews on the ground time to get in place and use handtools and heavy equipment to secure the fireline. Waterdrops from helicopters are used to supply water to crews working on hot spots in areas that are not plumbed with pumps and a water source. Skidgines, dozers and masticators are just some of the heavy equipment working on firelines on the northernmost perimeter of the fire south of State Route 36.  

September 24, 2020 at 8:39 AM

North Zone: Firefighting resources are concentrating their efforts on State Highway 36 today. Taking advantage of cooler temps and higher relative humidities, strategic burning tactics will be employed coming off Rattlesnake Ridge in the South Fork Trinity drainage. These efforts will slow the fire and strengthen the firelines that have been built to hold the fire south of Hwy 36. Temporary road closures can be expected due to increased fire traffic and potentially smoky conditions.

Dangerous winds that had been forecast for yesterday did not materialize as predicted, and firefighters took advantage of this break to complete a successful tactical firing operation off of Rattlesnake Ridge. Crews put fire on the ground along the ridge, letting it slowly burn downhill towards the southwest, into the lighter-than-expected wind. The operation was a success, as it removed a significant amount of fuel from the fire’s path, should stronger winds return to push it up towards the ridge. Reducing these fuels is crucial to reduce the likelihood of spotting ahead and outside of control lines.

Crews have nearly completed improvements to the fuel break the Forest Service had previously constructed around the community of Post Mountain/Trinity Pines. Portable water tanks, called pumpkins, have been set up and filled along the fire break. Firefighters will use these water sources to supply powerful Mark III water pumps for hoses and sprinklers should the fire move across Hwy 36 in the future.

Engine crews and heavy equipment are working on direct fire line near Snow Gap, as well as continuing to improve the indirect line on the 35 Road. Patrol and mop up continues from Kettenpom to Flying AA Ranch, and on the east side in the Stuart Gap and Rat Trap areas. Crews are working up to 300’ from the fires edge to cool hot spots and remove hazard trees.

Smoky conditions are expected to persist today in Hayfork, Wildwood, and Post Mountain. Increased cloud cover is expected, along with a chance of showers in the western areas of the fire, and smoke will settle into the river valleys ahead of a high pressure system. The National Weather Service in Eureka has issued a Fire Weather Watch for critical fire weather conditions beginning Saturday. Temperatures are forecast to rise into the 90s and humidities will drop. Winds are predicted to come out of the north/northeast.

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.

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.