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Fire at a glance (numbers)

  • Incident Name:
  • State:
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  • Size (acres):
  • Percent Contained:
  • Estimate of Containment:
  • Personnel:
  • Structures Destroyed:

Helena, Shasta – Trinity NF. IMT 2 (Young). Five miles northwest of Junction City, CA. Timber and brush. Minimal fire behavior.

September 30, 2017 at 10:13 AM

Property owners who have been affected by the Helena Fire can contact Trinity County for information on disaster cleanup: (530) 739-2710, or visit office next to ACE Hardware in Weaverville on Main Street (Hwy 299), Hours M-F: 9am – 5pm, Sat: 8am – noon

More information about the Helena Recovery program can be found on Trinity County’s website: http://www.trinitycounty.org/index.aspx?page=428

September 24, 2017 at 9:01 AM

NorCal Team 2 will transition command of the Helena and Fork Fires to a Type 3 Team as of 7am on Monday, September 25, 2017. Today will be the last update for the Helena and Fork Fires. However, information will be updated as needed at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5564 and on Facebook and Twitter. Please contact the fire information line at 530-628-0039 if you would like to be added to the update distribution list. (Updates will be provided only as conditions change.) The fire information line will continue to be staffed as needed.

The fire showed only a very few isolated hot spots yesterday well inside the current perimeter. However, residents should expect to see smoke inside the fire area as unburned islands of vegetation continue to ignite. Today, crews will keep watching for rolling material which can threaten lines, and for any other hot spots. They will improve and mop up lines as needed. The fire will be continuously staffed through the team transition and into the future.

Weather and Smoke: The current weather pattern, with cool mornings and warm afternoons will continue for the next few days. Winds are expected to be light and terrain-driven.

September 23, 2017 at 9:46 AM

The Helena Fire continues to burn near Junction City and Weaverville, CA. The Fork Fire is located north of Monument Peak and southwest of East Fork Lakes in the Trinity Alps Wilderness.

Helena Fire – Size: 17,927 acres
Fork Fire – Size: 3,532 acres

Status: Minimal activity was observed again overnight, and an infrared flight showed only a few remaining isolated heat spots within the fire perimeter. Crews will continue to patrol today, identifying and suppressing hot spots close to the line as needed. Residents should expect to see smoke within the fire perimeter until significant winter rains occurred.

Weather and Smoke: The weather is expected to remain similar to yesterday: clear and cold in the morning with some cloud cover moving into the area in the afternoon. An upper level ridge continues to move toward the area, maintaining the current warming and drying trend.

September 21, 2017 at 9:55 AM

Join us to learn how Incident Management Teams support firefighters on large fires! A Public Camp Tour is planned for Friday, September 22, at 2pm. Please RSVP to the fire information line (530-628-0039 or helenafireinfo@gmail.com) if you plan to attend. Details to follow.

Minimal activity was observed on the fire overnight. Despite yesterday’s precipitation, crews completed handline east of the residences on Canyon Creek Road and continued to improve lines along Conner Creek. They also continued work on repairing contingency and completed lines as they could, and brought in excess hose and equipment. Today, crews will focus on building containment line directly along the western edge of the Fork Fire east of Canyon Creek Road and on holding and improving lines around the fire. While an estimated quarter- to half- inch of rain fell across the majority of the fire area, it was not enough moisture to put the fire out. Firefighters will be carefully watching and suppressing any smokes that appears close to the fireline, and residents should be aware that interior smoke will be visible for the foreseeable future.

Weather and Smoke: Unseasonably cool temperatures and high humidity will continue today. Some afternoon cloud cover is expected to move into the area this afternoon, but should produce only minimal shower activity. A warming, drying trend is expected over the weekend. Winds are expected to remain light.

Other Area Fires: Several other lightning-caused fires are burning on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, including the Buck Fire, which is burning near Black Rock Mountain (close to the Yolla-Bolly Middle Eel Wilderness).

September 18, 2017 at 10:48 AM

The predicted cold front moved into the fire area overnight, and higher humidity decreased fire activity by the early morning hours. In general, very little movement was observed. Last night, the Helena Fire continued to push north toward the Fork Fire. Engines stayed in close proximity to residences along Canyon Creek Road north of Rarick Gulch overnight while the fire continued to back into the drainage. The fire has reached the top of the ridge north of Rarick Gulch. At around 2am a light rain shower passed over the area, and fire activity was minimal after that. Crews have been working for several days to construct handline directly along the fire’s southwestern edge west of Connor Creek. Favorable overnight conditions allowed them to complete careful burning along that line, securing it in advance of the potential incoming wind event.

Today, crews will continue to monitor fire spread between the two fires, and to patrol and mop up containment lines around the fire. They will also focus on tying containment lines from the top of the Hayfork Divide west to the Trinity River, and completing the line into Eagle Creek. Suppression repair continues as well on contingency and completed primary lines. Suppression repair focuses on preventing erosion through construction of water bars, but can also include removing berms and covering newly opened lines to prevent unwanted access.

Weather and Smoke: A cold front is moving into the area today, bringing high humidity and breezy conditions. Some shower activity is expected, but will probably stay on the northern edge of the fire area. Clouds are expected to clear this afternoon, but high humidity is predicted to remain. Gusty winds to 20mph are expected on ridgetops today, and may push smoke south down Canyon Creek and into Junction City. A stronger system is anticipated to arrive Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, bringing with it a bigger chance of wetting rain.

September 17, 2017 at 9:53 AM

The Helena Fire continues to burn near Junction City and Weaverville, CA. The Fork Fire is located north of Monument Peak and southwest of East Fork Lakes in the Trinity Alps Wilderness.

Helena Fire – Current Containment: 56% Size: 17,754 Cause: Human – under investigation
Fork Fire – Current Containment: 56% Size: 3,478 acres Cause: Lightning

Helena-Fork Resources: Engines: 29 Crews: 15 Dozers: 11 Water Tenders: 10 Helicopters: 6 Total Personnel: 676

Status: The fire was relatively quiet overnight as conditions stayed cool and humidity climbed to above 70%. Some minimal growth was observed on the southwest corner of the Fork Fire as it moved into Gwin Gulch. Last night,crews continued work to strengthen black line around the structures in Conrad Gulch. Fire around those residences held well, moving into the area with low intensity and a slow rate of spread. The fire did cross Rarick Gulch late yesterday afternoon, but activity decreased considerably last night as the inversion set in and humidity increased. Moderate spread was also observed yesterday and overnight in both the Connor and Eagle Creek drainages. Smoke and fire are very visible from Highway 299, especially in the area of Pigeon Point, but firefighters are carefully watching for any rollout or fallen trees that could threaten containment lines. The eastern edge of the fire continues to hold well. Crews will continue to monitor there as well.

Today, crews will continue to hold the fire around the structures in Conrad Gulch and continue to patrol and hold the line from Glenison Gap to West Weaver Creek to prevent fire spread to the east. Hotshot crews will continue line construction down the steep drainages from the Hayfork Divide into Connor Creek and Eagle Creek to keep the fire from spreading to the southwest. They will monitor spread in Rarick Gulch.

Weather and Smoke: Mild, dry conditions are expected through the day today, with light slope and valley winds gusting to around 12mph in the afternoon. Conditions are expected to change considerably tonight as a cold front moves into the area, bringing higher humidity and even cooler temperatures. The cold front could bring stronger westerly winds, and firefighters will be assessing line strength today with that in mind. This system will be concentrated primarily to the north of the fire area, and little moisture is expected to make it this far south. However, predicted higher humidity and cool temperatures are expected to lessen fire behavior.

Other Area Fires: Several other lightning-caused fires are burning on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, including the Buck Fire, which is burning near Black Rock Mountain (close to the Yolla-Bolly Middle Eel Wilderness).

September 11, 2017 at 7:15 AM

The Helena Fire, managed under unified command with CAL FIRE and California Interagency Incident Management Team 3 (CIMT3), continues to burn near Junction City and Weaverville, CA. The Fork Fire located north of Monument Peak and southwest of East Fork Lakes in the Trinity Alps Wilderness is being managed by CIMT3 with support of state and local resources.

Helena Fire – Date/Time Reported: August 30, 2017 Size: 17,105 Containment: 43% Cause: Human – under investigation

Fork Fire – Date/Time Reported: August 7, 2017 Size: 3,447 acres Containment: 0% Cause: Lightning

September 9, 2017 at 11:18 AM

Helena Fire: 16,937 Containment: 40% Cause: Human – under investigation
Fork Fire: 3,417 acres Containment: 0% Cause: Lightning

Fire activity is expected to remain low to moderate in grasses and lighter fuels. Fire activity is expected to be moderate within the interior such as large blown down trees and dead snags continue to burn. Fire spread will be through caused by rollout of smoldering logs and snags on steep slopes, creating the possibility of short slope runs. Firefighters will continue to monitor contained portions of firelines for hotspots. Structure preparation is complete in the Canyon Creek area. Crews will begin fireline construction along the south-west portion of the fire near Hayfork Divide, and down to the Trinity River. On the Fork fire, a six person helitack module was inserted yesterday to begin line construction and scout for natural barriers to stop fire spread.

Weather and Smoke: High pressure will bring warm and dry conditions to Northwest California this weekend and into early next week. Chances for showers and thunderstorms and seasonal temperatures will return to the forecast by mid-week. Smoke from other fires in northern California and southern Oregon continue to create unhealthy air conditions. Visit ncuaqmd.org for air quality information and hours and locations of clean air shelters.

September 8, 2017 at 8:30 AM

20,354 acres is a combined acreage. Helena fire is 16,937 and Fork fire is 3,417.

Quiet activity along fires edge, but fire continues to burn in heavy fuels and in duff layers under heavy timber canopies.

Planned Actions

Helena: Continue to control and contain fire and residual hot spots around structures. Continue to scout for and put in direct and indirect control lines. Complete contingency dozer lines in the area of 5 Cent Ridge and west of Sidney Gulch.

Fork: Unstaffed overnight due to safety concerns and a prioritization of the Helena Fire.

September 7, 2017 at 8:57 AM

20,292 acres is a combined acreage. Helena fire is 16,145 and Forks fire is 3,417. Rain today and overnight has decreased fire activity. Rainfall totals ranged from .5 to .75 inches.

September 6, 2017 at 8:41 PM

Active fire behavior was observed today with occasional group torching and short range spotting due to rollout of burning materials on steep slopes.

Planned Actions

Helena: Continue to control and contain fire and residual hot spots around structures. Continue to scout for and put in direct and indirect control lines. Complete contingency dozer lines in the area of 5 Cent Ridge and west of Sidney Gulch.

Fork: Unstaffed overnight due to safety concerns and a prioritization of the Helena Fire.

Projected Incident Activity

Potential for thunderstorm development over the mountains north and south of the fire area could have a large impact on fire spread. Strong and erratic winds will promote large fire growth as the fire transitions from grass to timber on higher slopes when the inversion lifts. Previous dozer line from the Eagle fire is being improved as indirect line.

September 6, 2017 at 9:40 AM

Fire behavior was moderated last night due to increased humidity levels. Creeping and smoldering continued in the heavier fuels and deep duff layers.

Potential for thunderstorm development over the mountains north and south of the fire area could have a large impact on fire spread. Strong and erratic winds will promote large fire growth as the fire transitions from grass to timber on higher slopes when the inversion lifts. Previous dozer line from the Eagle fire is being improved as indirect line.

September 5, 2017 at 10:01 AM

Moderate fire behavior over night (backing, creeping, smoldering). Minimal fire behavior was observed after midnight. Backing occurred in the heavier pockets of fuel.

September 4, 2017 at 8:01 AM

Fire remained active overnight as fire aligned with slope and drainages. Short-range spotting mainly due to rollout. Heavy inversion remains over fire area.

Potential for thunderstorm development over the mountains north and south of the fire area could have a large impact on fire spread. Hot and dry conditions will promote fire growth as the fire moves from grass to timber on higher slopes when the inversion lifts. Fire has moved beyond the Clear Gulch drainage of the Trinity Alps Wilderness. Fire continues to grow to Weaver Bally Lookout to the north and Glennison Gap to the east as expected with lifting of the inversion layer. The fires continues to burn around (1st priority) Junction City, Helena, Red Hill, and Hocker Flats. The fire will continue to spread towards to the south toward Rattlesnake Gap and Eagle Creek to the west, previous dozer line is being improved upon.

September 3, 2017 at 7:43 PM

Unified Command CAL FIRE (Kavanaugh) CA-IMT 1 (Von Tillow) assigned. Active fire behavior, flanking and short range spotting to rollout. Mandatory evacuations in place. Structures threatened in Junction City, Helena and surrounding areas. Threat to 60 & 115kV powerlines, Spotted Owl, Salmon and Steelhead, local agriculture, water shed east of Weaverville. Hwy 299 Trinity County closed in both directions near Junction City. Federal air and ground resources committed.

September 3, 2017 at 9:38 AM

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There will be a community meeting today, September 3rd, at 3PM at the Performing Arts Center in Weaverville, CA.

Representatives including the following agencies will be present:
California Incident Management Team 3
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
Shasta-Trinity National Forest
American Red Cross
Trinity County Board of Supervisors
Trinity County Sheriff’s Office
California Highway Patrol

Approximately 2,000 people have been evacuated, a temporary shelter has been established at the First Baptist Church in Weaverville.

High temperatures, very dry conditions and terrain influenced winds will continue to drive fire behavior. Terrain driven winds higher in some location. Smoke inversion will remain throughout the day.

September 2, 2017 at 3:58 PM

California Interagency Incident Management Team 3 (CIIMT3) is managing the Helena Fire in the Highway 299 corridor under unified command with CALFIRE and the Fork Fire which is burning in the Trinity Alps Wilderness. A damage assessment team has inventoried structures in the Helena Fire area. One hundred forty one structures have been confirmed damaged or destroyed by the Helena Fire. Residents who have been evacuated can contact the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office at 530-623-8103 for information about the status of their property.

Status: The fire continued to be active through the night and is moving toward Junction City. Crews continue to protect and secure structures and critical infrastructure in the community of Junction City and vicinity including Coopers Bar Estates, Hocker Meadow Road, Power House Road and Canyon Creek. Direct and indirect fire lines are being constructed to keep the fire east of East Fork Road. Roads and dozer lines on the south side of the fire are being used to keep the fire west of Feleters Gulch. On the northern perimeter, the fire is backing into Brock Gulch and is holding along Brock Road. The fire has crossed into the Trinity Alps Wilderness near Canyon Creek. The smoke inversion is moderating the fire’s rate of spread, and is also limiting the use of air resources.

Evacuations: The Trinity County Sheriff’s Office issued an evacuation order for residents between Helena and Oregon Mountain Summit, including the Canyon Creek area; Red Hill Road and all roads off of Red Hill Road; Valdor Road; Canyon Creek and all roads off of Canyon Creek; Power House Road and Upper Road. Evacuation services are available in Weaverville. An evacuation center has been established at the First Baptist Church; small animals may be taken to Trinity County animal shelter and farm animals may be taken to Trinity High School.

Damage Assessment: An inventory yesterday verified that 72 homes and 61 outbuildings have been destroyed, and 4 homes and 4 outbuildings have been damaged. The Trinity County Sheriff’s Office will provide property information to residents. The Sheriff’s Office can be reached at 530-623-8103 and will post walk-in office hours on their Facebook page.

Weather and Smoke: The fire area is under a hazardous weather outlook with an excessive heat warning. Smoke from fires in northern California and southern Oregon is creating unhealthy air conditions. Visit ncuaqmd.org for air quality information and hours and locations of clean air shelters.

Road Closures: State Route 299 is closed east of Junction City (near milepost 45) and west of Helena Bridge.

Wilderness / Recreation Access: The Canyon Creek and Hobo Gulch Trailheads are not accessible due to the Hwy 299 closure. Hikers and horseback riders in other areas of the Trinity Alps Wilderness should be aware of smoke and other potential hazards due to nearby fires. The BLM Junction City Campground and Bagdad River Access along Highway 299 and the Grapevine Swimming Hole on East Fork Road are closed until further notice.

August 31, 2017 at 11:29 PM

The Helena Fire continues to burn along Highway 299 on both sides of the Trinity River west of Weaverville. Today, a heavy inversion developed due to the high pressure system centered over the area and created a thick blanket of smoke. The fire did not grow significantly and it remains at approximately 5,000 acres with 0% containment.

Air tankers and helicopters are available, but today Air Attack surveyed the fire area and determined that tankers would be unable to support containment efforts because of limited visibility.

California Interagency Incident Management Team 3, a Type 1 Incident Management Team (IMT), has arrived and will be shadowing fire managers for the next 24 hours. The IMT will assume command of the fire on Friday at 6:00 p.m.

The Helena Fire is under unified command with CAL FIRE.

Evacuations: The evacuation order put into place by the Trinity County Sheriff’s for residents between Helena and Oregon Mountain Summit, including the Canyon Creek area, remains in effect. The evacuation center at the First Baptist Church in Weaverville is sheltering approximately 100 people. Large animals may be taken to Lowden Park.

August 31, 2017 at 5:53 PM

On August 30, 2017 at 5:10 p.m. the Helena Fire started near the town of Helena, west of Weaverville, CA along Highway 299. It is burning along highway 299 and is currently burning on both sides of the Trinity River.

Evacuations: The Trinity County Sheriff’s Office issued an evacuation order for residents between Helena and Oregon Mountain Summit. This includes the Canyon Creeks area.

An evacuation center has been established at the First Baptist Church in Weaverville located at 1261 Main Street across from Suzie’s Bakery. Large animals may be taken to Lowden Park located on Washington Street between Hwy 3 and Hwy 299.

A fire information number has been set up at (530) 628-0039. Those who have been evacuated can also call (530) 623-1726 to have their contact information placed on a list so that they can later be notified by the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office about any property damage.

The earlier estimate of 6,000 acres was revised due to better mapping, approximately 2,000 people have been evacuated.

Trinity County Sheriff’s office will utilize a code red system to notify affected residents of any future evacuation orders.

Road Closures: State Route 299 is closed east of Junction City (near milepost 45) and west of Helena Bridge. Travelers should take alternate routes.

Wilderness: The Weaverville Ranger Station is not issuing new Wilderness Permits at this time.

The Redding BLM Field Office has closed a campground and day use areas along Highway 299 east of Weaverville because of the 5,000-acre #HelenaFire. The Junction City Campground and Bagdad River Access along Highway 299 and the Grapevine Swimming Hole on East Fork Road are closed until further notice.

Fire is in unified command with CAL FIRE. A Type 1 Incident Management Team has been requested.

For safety purposes, no new wilderness permits are being accepted for the Trinity Alps Wilderness.