Fire at a glance (numbers)
- Incident Name: Highway
- State: CA
- Lead Agency: TNF
- Size (acres): 45
- Percent Contained: 90%
- Estimate of Containment: unknown
- Personnel: 30
- Structures Destroyed: 0
Highway, Hwy 20 in Nevada County. Fire is located 1 mile southeast of the town of Washington, minimal fire behavior. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
August 24, 2023 at 7:23 AM
Based on current and expected fire activity, this will be the final update for the Highway Fire.
Incident managers indicate that crews remain on track to meet all suppression goals. Containment is currently 90%.
Suppression repair is moving forward and will continue into next week or until incident objectives are met. Suppression repair activities include repairing dozer lines created during suppression activities and chipping of downed vegetation.
Precipitation earlier in the week benefited suppression activities and heat pockets within the fire perimeter. As temperatures begin to rise again, crews are experiencing heat and smoke activity within fire perimeter, however activity remains minimal.
Snags (burned or damaged trees from fire or firefighting activity) continue to come down, which remain a concern for firefighter safety.
There are currently approximately 30 personnel assigned to the fire.
Public can expect to continue to see heavy equipment moving in and out of the area.
-Washington Road is now open to the public. Caution advised due to continued fire traffic and heavy equipment moving in and out of the area.
-Alpha Road remains closed through August 30 until 6 p.m. for 1-mile surrounding fire perimeter due to continued suppression and repair efforts.
August 21, 2023 at 11:29 AM
Fire crews are continuing mop-up operations. Hazard trees are being assessed and removed as needed for firefighter safety. Fire lines outside of the main perimeter have been assessed.
Suppression repair will begin today which includes repairs to dozer lines outside of the main fire perimeter. Washington Road is open to local residents only through August 22 at 6 p.m.
Crews are currently removing excess suppression equipment on contingency lines. Specialized equipment is arriving daily to begin suppression repair work. Public can expect to see heavy equipment moving in and out of the area.
Appropriate resources will remain assigned to the incident until incident objectives are met.
Precipitation is expected early this week, which may benefit fire suppression efforts toward reaching containment. With rainy and wet conditions in the area, crews must remain vigilant for the increased hazards that come with the additional precipitation. This landscape is already steep and rugged, and it becomes even more treacherous with the addition of rain, making the terrain muddy and slippery. Firefighter safety is top priority.
Due to moisture, there is currently minimal smoke impacts. Smoke may increase later in the week when vegetation begins to dry out and temperatures rise.
• Washington Road is open to local traffic only through August 22 at 6 p.m.
• Alpha Road closed through August 30 at 6 p.m. for 1-mile surrounding fire perimeter due to suppression efforts
August 21, 2023 at 8:38 AM
No change overnight.
August 20, 2023 at 7:00 PM
The fire is holding at 45 acres. The updated acreage is due to more accurate mapping. There has been no additional growth.
Containment is approximately 30%.
Crews continue mop-up operations.
August 20, 2023 at 12:20 PM
The fire is currently holding at approximately 40 acres. There has been no additional growth. Containment is at 30%. For today’s operations, crews continue to mop-up deep within the containment lines.
Hazard trees are being assessed and removed for firefighter safety. Some rain fell over the fire last night. Some of the assigned resources and personnel are being sent to other incidents throughout the west coast. Washington Rd is now open to local residents only.
August 19, 2023 at 8:16 PM
The fire is approximately 40 acres. The fire perimeter has not changed. Containment is now 30%.
Fire personnel continue to work on mopping up and extinguishing any hotspots deep within the containment lines.
Hazard trees are being assessed and removed as needed for firefighter safety.
Tonight’s shift will be the last night operation. Day operations will continue.
August 19, 2023 at 1:08 PM
Per NCSO: ALL EVACUATION ORDERS AND WARNINGS HAVE BEEN LIFTED for the Highway Fire. Zones: E-030, E315-A, E-315-B and E-316 are now clear. Washington Road is restricted to local access only at this time.
Alpha Rd south of Alpha Loop remains closed as fire crews continue finalizing their work in the area. A big thank you to our firefighters for a job well done, & to the affected residents for your cooperation and partnership in a safe evacuation & repopulation.
August 19, 2023 at 8:25 AM
North Bay Incident Management Team is in place to support the incident.
The fire is currently approximately 40 acres. This is due to more accurate mapping. The fire has not grown overnight. Containment remains at 25%. Fire resources continue to work today to strengthen containment lines and mop up.
Washington Road is now open to local residents only. Please use caution – the road is being used by fire personnel and equipment.
August 18, 2023 at 7:01 PM
The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office in consultation with the US Forest Service, has reduced Zone NCO-E030 from an evacuation order to a WARNING. Alpha Road remains closed from Alpha Loop to the north and to Omega and Hwy 20 to the south due to ongoing firefighting efforts. Please remain on alert and be prepared to evacuate if fire conditions worsen. Continue to monitor updates at www.readynevadacounty.org and community.zonehaven.com.
Road Update: Washington Road between the town of Washington at Washington Creek to Phelps Hill Rd, remains inside the evacuation area of Zone E315A – HOWEVER at 8:00pm tonight, Friday 8/18/23, we will be opening Washington Road for Town of Washington residents use only, until otherwise indicated. Please be advised that this is subject to change if fire conditions and safety considerations warrant. Also, there are a lot of first responder personnel and equipment along the route, PLEASE use caution while traveling along Washington Road.
E315B: Washington Rd south of Phelps Hill Rd to Hwy 20 remains under an evacuation WARNING. Continue to be vigilant and follow fire updates.
Please travel carefully as fire personnel continue to work in the area.
August 18, 2023 at 5:40 PM
Attention Town of Washington Residents: The local Washington CA Fire Department is hosting a community meeting at 7pm tonight about the Highway Fire. This is an opportunity for locals to learn more about the Highway Fire.
August 18, 2023 at 8:04 AM
No significant fire growth reported overnight. Fire remains at a reported approximate 35 acres and 10% containment. Today, fire resources will continue to reinforce line surrounding fire along with helicopter support.
August 18, 2023 at 7:27 AM NCSO Notification for town of Washington residents: Nevada County road crews are in place on Washington Road to enable controlled traffic access in and out of town from 7 AM to 4 PM only. Traffic control points will be at Washington Creek to the north to Phelps Hill Road to the south. This is for town of Washington residents only starting at 7 AM today until 4 PM, the road will not be accessible after 4 PM and alternate routes will need to be used after that time. (Gaston or Relief Hill Rd) Be aware that this is subject to change based on fire conditions and safety needs.
Please travel carefully as fire personnel continue to work in the area.
August 17, 2023 at 8:15 PM
Fire reported at an approximate 35 acres, reflecting minimal growth throughout the day. Fire has continued to hold within contingency lines. Incident is at an approximated 10% containment.
August 17, 2023 at 5:23 PM
The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office in consultation with the US Forest Service, is modifying the evacuation zones for the #HighwayFire near the Town of Washington as of 5:00 pm 8/17/2023. The changes are as follows:
Evacuation Order for Zone NCO-E316, the Town of Washington, is reduced to a WARNING. Washington Road between Phelps Hill Rd and Town of Washington remains under an evacuation order; therefore, residents will only be able to access Town of Washington via Washington Rd with law enforcement escort this evening between 6pm and 9pm tonight.
Otherwise, Town of Washington residents will only be able to come and go from Gaston or Relief Hill Rd while the evacuation order remains in place along Washington Rd north of Phelps Hill.
Zone NCO-E315 is being split into two zones as follows: E315A: Washington Rd north of Phelps Hill Rd to the Town of Washington will remain under evacuation ORDER. E315B: Washington Rd south of Phelps Hill Rd to Hwy 20 will be reduced to a WARNING status.
Zone NCO-030 Remains under Evacuation Order. The current fire perimeter is nearest this zone, therefore it will continue to be under mandatory evacuation order at this time. Zones NCO-E315 and NCO-E318 previously under warning status, are now clear.
August 17, 2023 at 3:25 PM
Here’s the latest on the Highway Fire in Nevada County, directly from the Incident Command Post at the Dry Yards on Washington Road. Thanks to Incident Commander Jason Flores, Washington Fire Chief Mike Stewart, IC Trainee Erik Husmann and Tahoe National Forest PAO Lauren Faulkenberry for their time.
August 17, 2023 at 3:05 PM
Update on the animal evacuations: For assistance with evacuating animal(s) or finding a safe place for animal(s) to receive refuge during the evacuation period, please call the Nevada County Dispatch Center at (530) 265-7880.
August 17, 2023 at 12:22 PM
Large aircraft over the fire, will drop to reinforce the existing retardant lines. Fire activity is still moderate, expected to pick up in the heat of the day.
August 17, 2023 at 11:10 AM
NCSO update: Highway Fire animals being evacuated should now be taken to Sammie’s Friends. This includes all livestock. The Fairgrounds is no longer taking animals.
August 17, 2023 at 10:15 AM
Tankers 88 and 89 are working the fire, with three helicopters. Fire activity remains moderate.
August 17, 2023 at 9:55 AM
NCSO update: Notification for River Rest Resort and Little Town Campground evacuees from the Town of Washington for the #HighWayFire: Campers will be allowed into the evacuation area with a law enforcement escort to retrieve and remove RV’s from the evacuation zone.
Campers will be allowed past the road block on Hwy 20 at Washington Rd, to proceed to the command post on Washington Road to check in with law enforcement for escort into town. Please be advised that this could be cancelled without notice as safety conditions warrant!
August 17, 2023 at 8:42 AM
The Nevada County Sheriff’s HEART Team had eight rescue teams staged at the Incident Command Post and eight more ready at the Fairgrounds if large animal evacuations were needed. Animal Control transported four cats to the Fairgrounds after their human family members were evacuated by NCSO. Two more cats were brought in by their humans, all are at the Fairgrounds, cared for by the Nevada County Veterinary Disaster Response Team.
August 17, 2023 at 8:31 AM
TNF Air Attack 17 has lifted from the Grass Valley Air Attack Base and will be over the fire shortly.
August 17, 2023 at 7:00 AM
TNF update: Minimal growth overnight. Fire currently reported at 30.9 acres. No change in containment.
Approximately 300+ fire staff currently assigned to the incident with relief/additional resources arriving and on order today.
Fire operations today will focus on reinforcing perimeter control and building contingency lines. Evacuation orders and warnings currently remain in place. Nevada County Sheriff will evaluate as the day progresses.
August 17, 2023 at 6:41 AM
Good progress has been made overnight. Some light rain overnight. FIRIS mapping plane is over the fire.
August 16, 2023 at 8:43 PM
All evacuation orders remain in effect through the evening.
August 16, 2023 at 7:39 PM
Highway Air Attack is feeling comfortable in releasing both tankers back to base.
August 16, 2023 at 7:07 PM Two helicopters and two smaller tankers are still working the fire. Large air tankers are returning to McClellan Air Base for the night. The fire is boxed in with retardant and has not burned through the retardant lines. Ground resources are using the roads to anchor their lines and are making good progress.
August 16, 2023 at 7:01 PM
Possible new start in the area to the south of the fire, TNF Helicopter 514 will go check. Reported smoke is on Excelsior Point Road near Comealong Way.
August 16, 2023 at 6:30 PM
Latest TNF update puts the fire at 25 acres and now 5% contained.
August 16, 2023 at 6:27 PM
Air Attack 17 has transitioned with Air Attack 230 now in command of air operations over the fire.
August 16, 2023 at 6:08 PM
In Nevada County, Hwy 20 is open. California Highway Patrol has a Mandatory closure at Washington Road 15 miles east of Nevada City, due to the fire.
August 16, 2023 at 5:57 PM
Current weather conditions (Whitecloud station) Temp: 88F Relative Humidity: 26% WEind SE at 3 mph with gusts up to 8 mph.
August 16, 2023 at 5:10 PM
The Wireless Emergency Alert below went out ONLY for Zone NCO-E030 near the Town of Washington. People in Nevada City do not need to evacuate. Go to Ready Nevada County’s dashboard to see the zones under evacuation.
This is the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office issuing an Evacuation Order for zone NCO-E030 due to a wildfire located near the Town of Washington. EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY! Collect family members and pets. Seek shelter outside of the evacuated zones. For more: bit.ly/NCEvacMap or call 211
August 16, 2023 at 4:53 PM
Tanker 82 is being released back to Columbia. Still 3 S2Tankers, and one 737 working the fire as fixed wings, helicopters also at scene.
August 16, 2023 at 4:48 PM
Fire behavior has moderated somewhat, retardant drops have slowed progression. The fire will go into night operations, ground resources are working in very steep terrain. IC was just informed of several hundred gallons of fuel stored near a residence on Washington Road, creating a hazard.
August 16, 2023 at 4:44 PM
Highway Air Attack is releasing Tanker 86 back to Sonoma.
August 16, 2023 at 4:42 PM
Zone NCO-E030 is now under an evacuation order, upgraded from the evacuation warning.
August 16, 2023 at 4:38 PM
Local engine strike team deploying to the fire, immediate need.
August 16, 2023 at 4:34 PM
NCSO update: For those with ANIMALS for the Highway Fire: Location to temporarily house large and small animals during an evacuation: Nevada County Fairgrounds Gate 8 located at 11228 McCourtney Rd, Grass Valley, CA 95949
August 16, 2023 at 4:31 PM
Outflow winds from a thundercell in the area are causing erratic fire behavior. Helicopters are working spot fires.
August 16, 2023 at 4:21 PM
Hwy 20 is being shut down at Alpha Road.
August 16, 2023 at 4:19 PM
Thanks again to Clayton Green for sharing this view of the Highway Fire.
August 16, 2023 at 4:06 PM
Resource request for the fire: 4 additional dozers, two Type 3 Charly strike teams, two handcrews and 3 water tenders.
August 16, 2023 at 4:03 PM
Madelyn Helling Library Temporary Evacuation Point at 980 Helling Way, Nevada City CA 95959
August 16, 2023 at 3:57 PM
Some spot fires in the next drainage over, fire now estimated at 30-40 acres.
August 16, 2023 at 3:45 PM
CodeRED message from NCSO: This is the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office issuing an Evacuation WARNING for a wildfire located at Washington Road affecting zones NCO-E318, NCO-E015 and NCO-E030. Those who require additional time to evacuate, and those with pets and livestock should consider leaving now. Check Community.Zonehaven.com for updates and available shelter locations
August 16, 2023 at 3:42 PM
Many thanks to Clayton Green for sharing this video of the Highway Fire early on. More to come.
August 16, 2023 at 3:35 PM
Evacuation warning issued for NCO-E015 (Maybert Rd, Golden Quartz Picnic Area) NCO-E318 (Gaston, The Bear Trap, God’s Country, and Celine Ridge) and NCO-E030 Omega Diggins.
August 16, 2023 at 3:33 PM
Highway IC has split the fire into three divisions, still potential for an extended attack incident – meaning the fire goes into a second operational period.
August 16, 2023 at 3:28 PM
Washington Road at Hwy 20 is closed to ALL traffic, only evacuations and first responders.
August 16, 2023 at 3:22 PM
10-15 acres, slow to moderate rate of spread, Town of Washington and Alpha Road evacuated.
August 16, 2023 at 3:14 PM
Incident Command Post will be at the Dry Yards. Animal Control has activated the HEART team and the Fairgrounds will receive all animals that need evacuating.
August 16, 2023 at 3:12 PM
Tanker drops are slowing the progression of the fire. Evacuations are ongoing, NCSO is assisting residents without transportation. Animal Control to assist with pets and livestock.
August 16, 2023 at 3:10 PM
Evacuations for downtown Washington from south of the bridge.
August 16, 2023 at 3:03 PM
Avoid Hwy 20 between Nevada City and I-80.
August 16, 2023 at 3:00 PM
Air Attack 17 has requested additional air support, Tanker 100 and Helicopter 514 are working the fire. Incoming law enforcement units ti stage at the Overlook on Hwy 20.
August 16, 2023 at 2:53 PM
Immediate need for dozers and additional aircraft.
August 16, 2023 at 2:49 PM
Evacuation order for Zone NCO-E315 Washington Overlook, Alpha Diggins, Phelps Hill and NCO-E316 the Town of Washington.
August 16, 2023 at 2:45 PM
Air Attack reports 5 acres, moderate rate of spread. Evacuations coming for Washington Road. NCSO assisting. Fire has high potential for growth and is spotting.
August 16, 2023 at 2:42 PM
Augmented dispatched, CAL FIRE resources assisting the Tahoe National Forest on the Highway Fire.
August 16, 2023 at 2:25 PM
Vegetation fire visible on cameras, on Hwy 20 near the Vista Point and the Washington Road turnoff. This will be the Highway incident.