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Fire at a glance (numbers)

  • Incident Name: North Complex
  • State: CA
  • Lead Agency: PNF
  • Size (acres): 318,724
  • Percent Contained: 83%
  • Estimate of Containment: November 12, 2020
  • Personnel: 1,313
  • Structures Destroyed: 2,471

North Complex, Plumas NF, USFS. IMT 1 (CA Team 4). One mile southwest of Crescent Mills, CA. Timber and brush. Active fire behavior with creeping, torching and spotting. Several communities and infrastructure threatened. Evacuations, area, road and trail closures in effect.

October 5, 2020 at 1:52 PM

Crews continued putting in hose lays and brushing along the penstock to prepare the terrain for when the fire reaches the area within the next 24-48 hour period.

Fire tactics are looking into utilizing drones to introduce fire into the extremely steep terrain around the penstock to reduce fuels and provide for firefighter safety. A helicopter dropping ping-pong sized balls that ignite on impact is being considered as a back-up if the drones aren’t available.

Fire fighters continue to focus on the east side of Highway 70. Today, dozers and crews will be opening old lines in the Camp Fire area to provide contingency if the fire spots across the highway.

The Lassen National Forest is assisting in preparing contingency lines to assist with protecting structures and with structure protection.

October 4, 2020 at 10:05 AM

North & South Zone:

Crews conducted firing operations overnight to reinforce retardant lines near the penstocks within the Highway 70 corridor. The fire continues to gradually back and flank to the northeast but has not spotted across the highway.

Other night shift resources patrolled the remainder of the fire’s containment lines, which continued to hold.

Today, firefighters will again be focused on constructing and reinforcing containment lines both to the north and south of the fire within the highway corridor. They will be supported by multiple heavy helicopters and single engine air tankers as soon as flying conditions allow.

Evacuations and Road Closures 

Butte and Plumas county sheriff’s offices have evacuation orders and warnings issued covering the Highway 70 corridor and surrounding area. Please check their websites and Facebook pages for the latest updates. You can also sign up with your county for reverse 911 notifications by registering with the CODE RED system. 

October 3, 2020 at 7:22 PM

Management of the North Complex has transitioned from Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team Black to California Interagency Incident Management Team 4 at 6 p.m. today. Team 4 looks forward to continuing to work with our cooperators including CAL FIRE, Butte County Sheriff, Plumas County Sheriff and California State Parks.

North & South Zone:

Firefighters continue to focus on the Highway 70 corridor as the fire gradually backs and flanks to the northeast. Crews are working to establish containment lines ahead of both the north and south sides of the active fire within the canyon. Heavy helicopters and single engine air tankers delivered retardant until mid-day when visibility deteriorated. The fire has not spotted across the highway as of 6 p.m. today. There were no containment issues along the remainder of the fireline, which continues to be monitored with both day and night shifts.

Crews will continue to work overnight along Highway 70 to monitor for spot fires while watching out for rock and tree rollout making its way onto the road.

October 3, 2020 at 12:44 PM

North & South Zone:Night crews maintained their presence on the Highway 70 corridor and as of 7 a.m., the fire had not spotted across the highway. The fire does continue to gradually move to the northeast, beginning near Grizzly Dome Tunnel and bumping up along the highway for about two miles.Other night shift resources patrolled the remainder of the fire’s containment lines, which continued to hold.Resources today will remain focused on the Highway 70 corridor, utilizing heavy helicopters and single engine air tankers with retardant while crews reinforce dozer line and existing roadways. The rest of the fire’s perimeter will continue to be monitored for any sources of heat.The North Complex will be transitioning from a Type 2 Incident Management Team to a Type 1 Incident Management Team. This will be the last update from Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team Black and at 6pm today, Team Black will transition the fire to California Interagency Incident Management Team 4.

Evacuations and Road Closures
Butte and Plumas County Sheriff’s offices have evacuation orders and warnings issued for areas northwest of the fire along the Highway 70 corridor. Please check your respective county sheriff’s websites and Facebook pages for the latest updates. You can also sign up with your county for reverse 911 notifications by registering with the CODE RED system.

October 2, 2020 at 8:27 AM

North & South Zone:

Crews worked overnight within the Highway 70 corridor to monitor for spot fires and continue preparing structure protection. The fire continues to gradually grow to the northeast from the Grizzly Dome Tunnel area but has not spotted across the highway.

Other night shift resources patrolled the remainder of the fire’s containment lines, which continued to hold.

Today, firefighters will again be focused on constructing and reinforcing containment lines both to the north and south of the fire within the highway corridor. They will be supported by multiple heavy helicopters as soon as flying conditions allow.

Firefighters are finding members of the public inside the fire closure area, specifically in the Grass Valley Reservoir and La Porte areas. The public is being asked to respect the closures and stay out of the area for public and firefighter safety.

October 1, 2020 at 10:19 AM

North & South Zone:

Resources overnight continued working the uncontained fireline within the Highway 70 corridor. The fire has not crossed the highway and did not experience any significant growth, despite occasional strong wind gusts through the canyon. In addition to monitoring for spot fires, crews reinforced dozer line and prepared structure protection.

The fire does remain well established in the vicinity of Grizzly Dome Tunnel and is bumped up to the highway along a half-mile section.

Other night shift resources patrolled the remainder of the fire’s containment lines, which continued to hold.

Firefighters will remain focused on the Highway 70 corridor working to keep the fire from crossing the highway, aided by helicopters as soon as flying conditions allow.

Weather conditions continue to be hot and very dry. Winds are expected to be the typical pattern of downslope/down valley at night, shifting to upslope/upvalley during the heat of the day. There has also been significant gusts in both the overnight and later afternoon hours.

September 30, 2020 at 8:52 PM

North & South Zone:

The fire continues to burn actively within the Highway 70 corridor near Grizzly Dome Tunnel, but has not spotted across the highway, nor made any significant runs as of 7:00 p.m. tonight. Helicopters effectively engaged the fire after this morning’s heavy smoke lifted. Resources are focused on keeping the fire from crossing Highway 70.

There were no containment issues along the remainder of the fireline, with good progress continuing to be made in the Bucks Lake and Highlands areas.

Crews will continue to work overnight along Highway 70 to monitor for spot fires and preparing structure protection for buildings and critical infrastructure. With active fire on the steep slopes above, firefighters are reporting rock and tree rollout making its way onto the road.

Weather conditions continue to be hot and very dry. Winds are expected to be the typical pattern of downslope/down valley at night, shifting to upslope/upvalley during the heat of the day.

September 30, 2020 at 9:59 AM

North & South Zone:

Night crews maintained a heavy presence on the Highway 70 corridor and as of 7:15 a.m. this morning, the fire had not spotted across the highway. The fire does remain well established in the vicinity of Grizzly Dome Tunnel and has bumped up to the highway along a half-mile section.

Other night shift resources patrolled the remainder of the fire’s containment lines, which continued to hold.

Resources today will be focused on the Highway 70 corridor working to keep the fire from crossing the highway, containing any spot fires that do occur, and preparing structure protection for threatened buildings and critical infrastructure. Predicted weather conditions are favorable and should allow for the heavy use of helicopters in supporting these Highway 70 efforts.

Firefighters will continue to monitor the remainder of the fire’s perimeter and mop up any sources of heat that are found.

Weather conditions continue to be hot and very dry. Winds are expected to be the typical pattern of downslope/down valley at night, shifting to upslope/upvalley during the heat of the day.

September 29, 2020 at 8:11 PM

The previously issued evacuation warning for all areas west of SR29/128 (Foothill Blvd) to the county line, between Diamond Mountain Road and Petrified Forest Road has been upgraded to an evacuation order.

In addition to this evacuation order, there is a new evacuation warning in effect for:

  • West of Highway 128 (Foothill Blvd) to the county line
  • North of Petrified Forest Road to the county line

North & South Zone:  

Resources remain focused on the growing uncontained fireline located near Grizzly Dome Tunnel within the Highway 70 corridor. As of 7 p.m. this evening, the fire’s edge had reached the highway along an approximately half-mile section, but had not spotted across it. The fire did not cross Highway 70 thanks to a heavy use of aircraft, aided by more favorable flying conditions, and a shifting of resources from elsewhere along the fire to support efforts along the highway. 

The remainder of the fire’s containment lines held, with crews working to mop up occasional hot spots.  

Tonight, crews will have a heavy presence along Highway 70 monitoring for spot fires and containing any if found. 

Weather conditions are trending warmer and remaining very dry. Winds are expected to be the typical pattern of downslope/down valley at night, shifting to upslope/upvalley during the heat of the day.  

Publicly available fire mapping imagery from earlier today appeared to show spot fires north of Highway 70. The fire did not cross as of 7 p.m. These heat signatures can be spatially inaccurate because they are taken by a satellite and the way they are mapped. More information can be found at: https://earthdata.nasa.gov/faq/firms-faq#ed-modis-validation 

West Zone:

Containment lines on the West Zone held throughout the wind event, and no further fire growth is expected. Firefighters continue to search for and mop up hot spots well inside the fire perimeter to ensure no embers cross the fire line. Tactical patrols are being conducted throughout the West Zone to identify and mitigate hazards, making sure the area is safe when homeowners return. Fire Suppression Repair will continue for the next few weeks.

September 29, 2020 at 8:57 AM

North & South Zone:

Crews continue to monitor fire lines throughout the north and south zones working to mop up hot spots and contain several small spot fires. Of highest concern is a large section of uncontained line within the Highway 70 corridor. Started as a spot fire late on Sunday afternoon and fueled by strong winds, the fire had become well established initially in French Hotel Creek, and now in Grizzly Creek, where it has grown to within several hundred yards of Highway 70 near Grizzly Dome Tunnel. This area will be today’s highest priority for firefighting resources.

Firefighters will be aided today by calmer winds that have died down overnight and are expected to be 10-15 mph in the typical pattern of downslope/down valley at night, shifting to upslope/upvalley during the heat of the day. These conditions will allow for greater use of helicopters and other aircraft to fight the fire.

Reduction of total containment from 78% to 76% is a result of the growing uncontained fireline in the Highway 70 corridor and not from losing any previously declared containment line elsewhere.

West Zone:

The Red Flag Warning expired overnight, and winds are expected to return to normal for the next few days. Very warm and dry conditions will continue, although increasing smoke across our area from nearby fires could result in lower afternoon temperatures and slightly higher humidities. Similar conditions will remain through Thursday, with lower temperatures and higher humidity returning through the weekend.

Containment lines on the West Zone held throughout the wind event, and no further fire growth is expected. Firefighters continue to search for and mop up hot spots well inside the fire perimeter to ensure no embers cross the fire line. Tactical patrols are being conducted throughout the West Zone to identify and mitigate hazards, making sure the area is safe when homeowners return. Fire Suppression Repair will continue for the next few weeks.

September 28, 2020 at 9:05 PM

North & South Zone:

The fire area continued to experience strong winds out of the northeast today, which are not expected to subside until tonight. Gusts were up to 20-30 mph in some areas. These winds have resulted in increased fire activity across the fire area, causing several spot fires outside of containment lines, but were caught and contained before they had an opportunity to increase in size.

Yesterday, a spot fire became established in French Hotel Creek, approximately two miles south of Grizzly Forebay, and continued to grow in a southwesterly direction. It is approximately 1.5 miles away from Highway 70, but is not an immediate threat. In response, Butte and Plumas county sheriffs’ offices issued evacuation orders and warnings notices. Please refer to their websites and Facebook pages for the latest information.

Tonight, resources will be focused on containing the spot fire in French Hotel Creek, as well as monitoring the rest of the fire’s perimeter and engaging any other areas of heat or spot fires that may appear.

Active fire behavior today with wind driven runs and long range spotting. Fire spotted into French Hotel Drainage today and is well established to the north. A Red Flag Warning in place today for gusty winds and low humidity. Evacuation Orders and Warnings remain in place with additional evacuatons in progress today. Repopulation is occuring were safe to do so. Structures are threatened. Threats to communication infrastructure for Plumas County, USFS, Verizon and multiple repeater sites, Upper Feather River Watershed and water storage/ pumping infrastructure, multiple Fire stations, private and Federal timberlands, several commercial mining sites, protected and endangered species, historical sites and Maidu cultural sites. Two Native American Casino’s, and the Union Pacific railroad. Multiple bridges destroyed and damaged including road infrastructure. Area, road and trail closures in effect. Crews from Quebec Canada assigned. RM Type 2, Team Black (Hagan) in command of North and South Zone. CAL FIRE Team 4 (Russell) managing West Zone, in unified command with Butte County Sheriff.

September 28, 2020 at 7:54 AM

West Zone:

The containment lines on the West Zone have been tested by the strong winds, higher temperatures and low humidities for the last two days and will be so today. The fire lines continue to hold. Firefighters continue to aggressively mop up hotspots within the fire perimeter to prevent any chance of embers or debris crossing the fire line. Tactical patrols are being conducted in the fire area to identify hazards to be mitigated to ensure the area is safe when home and land owners return. Fire Suppression Repair began last week and will continue.

North & South Zone:

The fire area continued to experience strong winds out of the northeast overnight that are not expected to subside until this evening. Gusts will be 30-40 mph and up to 60 mph in some locations. These winds have resulted in increased fire activity across the fire area, causing spot fires outside of containment lines. 

Late yesterday afternoon a spot fire became established in French Hotel Creek, approximately two miles south of Grizzly Forebay, and continued to grow in a southwesterly direction. In response, Butte and Plumas county sheriffs’ offices issued evacuation notices. Please refer to their websites and Facebook pages for the latest information. 

Containment lines held strong elsewhere along the fire perimeter, including Onion Valley. 

Resources will be focused on containing the spot fire in French Hotel Creek, as well as monitoring the rest of the fire’s perimeter and engaging any other areas of heat or spot fires that may appear. 

The fire area is currently under a Red Flag Warning until 9 p.m. tonight, which is issued for critical fire weather including dry and windy conditions. Additionally, there is a Wind Advisory until 2 p.m. today. 

September 27, 2020 at 10:32 PM

BCSO is issuing an Evacuation Warning for the areas of Stirling City, Magalia, and Clark Road from the Paradise town limits south to Hwy 70, east to Lake Oroville to include Pentz Road from the Paradise town limits south to Hwy 70.

September 27, 2020 at 8:30 PM

North & South Zone:

Strong northeast winds persisted over the fire area last night and continued throughout today, with afternoon gusts of 30-40 mph. This resulted in increased fire activity across the fire area, causing spot fires outside of containment lines. In anticipation of the weather event, firefighters have been strategically positioned to monitor and engage increased fire behavior or any new spot fires.

As of late this afternoon there is a spot fire in French Hotel Creek, approximately two miles south of Grizzly Forebay, that is well established and actively burning. Resources including dozers, engines and handcrews will look at utilizing existing dozer lines from previous fires and building new fire lines in an effort to contain this spot fire. Other crews will focus on containing any other spot fires throughout tonight’s shift as winds are expected to be sustained at 15-25 mph with gusts of 40+ mph.

The fire area is currently under a Red Flag Warning until 9 p.m. Monday, which is issued for critical fire weather including dry and windy conditions. Additionally, there is a Wind Advisory until 2 p.m. Monday calling for wind gusts up to 45 mph.

September 27, 2020 at 4:21 PM

Increased activity on the North Complex visible on the wildfire cameras.

September 27, 2020 at 10:32 AM

The final totals from the CAL FIRE Damage Inspection Team are as follows:

Damaged Residential Structures: 51
Destroyed Residential Structures: 1523

Damaged Commercial Structures: 5
Destroyed Commercial Structures: 59

Damaged Other Structures: 57
Destroyed Other Structures: 760

Total Damaged Structures: 113
Total Destroyed Structures: 2342

September 27, 2020 at 9:52 AM

Crews continue to reinforce existing control lines, patrol for spot fires, and look for opportunities to increase containment in difficult terrain.

Smoke

The shift to NE wind has improved air quality throughout the Sierra. Smoke impacts may increase in Oroville and Grass Valley, as they will be downwind of the fire for the next two days. As burning conditions worsen in the heat of the day, these communities may see periods of smoke. Expect continued clear air east of the fire Sunday and Monday for Susanville, Janesville, the Reno/Sparks area, and the Tahoe basin.

North & South Zone:

All containment lines throughout the fire held overnight despite strong winds accompanying a weather front that produced gusts of 40 and 50 mph at higher elevations. Today, firefighters will be on alert and moving resources as appropriate to suppress any spot fires created by the sustained 10 to 20 mph winds from the northeast. Two areas of highest priority will be the uncontained line located south of Grizzly Forebay and from Onion Valley to Turn Table.

The fire area is currently under a Red Flag Warning until 9 pm Monday, which is issued for critical fire weather including dry and windy conditions. Additionally, there is a Wind Advisory until 2 pm Monday calling for wind gusts up to 45 mph.

We would like to welcome our international firefighters. Seven hand crews from British Columbia, Canada arrived yesterday evening, have been briefed and will start working on the fire today.

The public is being asked to respect the closures and stay out of the area for public and for firefighter safety. Firefighters are still finding members of the public inside the fire closure area.

West Zone:

Due to the predicted strong north eastern winds this afternoon and the current Red Flag Warning firefighters continue to aggressively mop up hotspots within the fire perimeter to prevent any chance of embers or debris crossing the fire line. Tactical patrols are being conducted in the fire area to identify hazards to be mitigated to ensure the area is safe when home and land owners return. Fire Suppression Repair began on Wednesday in the Cherokee area and will progress throughout the fire area over the next few weeks.

September 26, 2020 at 10:25 AM

West Zone:

Due to the predicted Red Flag Warning starting Saturday, firefighters last night continued to reinforce fire lines throughout the fire area. Firefighters continue to aggressively mop up hotspots within the fire perimeter to prevent any chance of embers or debris crossing the fire line. Hazards are being identified and mitigated to ensure the area is safe when home and land owners return.

South Zone:

Crews reported few issues last night as all containment lines held. Today, firefighters will continue preparing for the upcoming weather change by reinforcing containment lines, in addition to patrolling for spot fires. Crews successfully eliminated a large unburned “island” of fuel, thereby reducing a source for spot fires which reduces the chance for further spot fires across the fireline.

North Zone:

There were no spot fires reported last night, and all containment lines held. Crews will continue to monitor the area between Grizzly Forebay and Highlands for spot fires, and look to reinforce containment lines where they can.

There will be a Red Flag Warning from 9 pm Saturday to 2 pm Monday. This will bring a change in winds that will test the recently completed containment lines. Islands of unburned fuels continue to catch fire, which can throw embers across containment lines creating spot fires. Crews will continue patrolling these areas for spot fires.

Firefighters are finding members of the public inside the fire closure area. The public is being asked to respect the closures and stay out of the area for public and for firefighter safety.

September 25, 2020 at 7:32 AM

West Zone:

Today will be our last day of near-average temperatures, generally light winds, and relative humidity values staying above 30 percent. Upper level flow will become more west to east, helping to moderate temperatures and humidity. Winds will again follow the typical pattern of upslope/upvalley flow in the afternoon and then will switch to downslope/downvalley in the morning. After the front passes, conditions will get hotter and drier starting Saturday with strengthening winds. A fire weather watch is predicted to go in to effect from 11:00 am Saturday through 8:00 am Monday.

There was minimal fire activity over the night. Firefighters continued to reinforce the primary, alternate, and contingency fire lines throughout the fire area. Last night firefighters continued to aggressively mop up hotspots within the fire perimeter to prevent any chance of embers or debris crossing the fire line.

outh Zone:  

Crews last night patrolled containment lines around Quartz Hill and Onion Valley looking for areas of heat and ensuring that the line held. Today, firefighters will continue to look for opportunities to reinforce containment lines and monitor for any spot fires. All other containment lines within the zone held. 

North Zone

While firing operations along containment lines have been completed, crews are still fighting spot fires. One spot fire late yesterday was contained at almost 20 acres. Resources will continue to reinforce the containment line where possible and patrol for spot fires. 

The weather forecast is calling for a change in wind direction and speed. This change in winds will test the recently completed containment lines as there are islands of unburned fuels continuing to catch fire and throw embers across the lines, creating spot fires. Firefighters will be focused on catching and containing these spot fires before they have the chance to become established. The public is asked to be mindful of firefighting traffic in the vicinity of the fire.

September 24, 2020 at 7:42 PM

West Zone:

There was a slight change in weather conditions due to a front moving in over the fire area today. Upslope and upvalley winds will continue during the day, with stronger downslope and then downvalley winds at night. After the front passes, conditions will get hotter and drier starting Saturday with strengthening winds. A fire weather watch is predicted to go in to effect from 11:00 am Saturday through 8:00 am Monday. The critically dry fuel moistures make the vegetation extremely receptive to fire.

Firefighters continue to reinforce the primary, alternate, and contingency fire lines throughout the fire area. Firefighters will be aggressively mopping up hotspots within the fire perimeter to prevent any chance of embers or debris crossing the fire line.

South Zone:  

Crews today continued to mop up containment line around Quartz Hill and Onion Valley with the help of a helicopter using heat detecting sensors to find hot spots. Resources tonight will concentrate in this same area to guard against any spot fires. The fire remained in its current footprint throughout the rest of the zone. 

North Zone:  

Resources completed firing operations in the vicinity south of Grizzly Forebay. While there is now containment line surrounding the North Zone of the fire, unburned islands of timber continue to catch fire and create spot fires. Night crews will continue patrolling and mop up operations. 

Type 2 Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team Black took command of the fire at 6 a.m. this morning. Incident Commander Troy Hagan would like to thank California Interagency Incident Management Team 4 for the great work that has been done during their 21-day assignment.  

September 24, 2020 at 7:25 AM

West Zone:

Weather conditions are beginning to slowly change ahead of a front expected to reach the fire area today. General winds are expected to be southwesterly around 10 mph, mainly above 6,000 feet. Humidity is on the rise as an upper level feature brings in additional moisture from the northwest. Upslope and then upvalley winds will continue to be the theme during the day, with stronger downslope and then downvalley winds at night. After the front passes, conditions will get hotter and drier with strengthening winds. A fire weather watch is in effect from Saturday through Monday. The critically dry fuel moistures make the vegetation extremely receptive to fire.

Yesterday the firing operation northwest along Old Forbestown Rd. to Squaw Flat Rd. down to the Ponderosa Reservoir was successful. It did not cross any of the fire lines. The burning operation was successful in removing fuel from in front of the fire front to the north and south of the Ponderosa Reservoir which mitigated any further spread. Firefighters continued to reinforce the primary, alternate, and contingency fire lines throughout the night. Firefighters will also be aggressively mopping up hotspots within the fire perimeter to prevent any chance of spot fires crossing the fire line in the next few days.

South Zone:  

Crews last night focused on the Quartz Hill and Onion Valley area picking up spot fires and conducting mopping up operations. Resources today will continue to concentrate in this area to reinforce existing containment lines. The fire remained in its current footprint throughout the rest of the zone. 

North Zone:  

Resources will be looking to complete firing operations in the vicinity south of Grizzly Forebay, should conditions permit. There continues to be spotting adjacent to containment lines in the areas south of Bucks Lake, but crews have been successful in catching them all. 

Type 2 Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team Black took command of the fire at 6 a.m. this morning. Incident Commander Troy Hagan would like to thank California Interagency Incident Management Team 4 for the great work that has been done during their 21-day assignment.  

September 23, 2020 at 7:50 PM

West Zone:

Weather conditions are beginning to slowly change ahead of a front expected to reach the fire area tomorrow night. General winds are expected to be southwesterly around 10-15 mph with gusts to around 25 mph, mainly above 6,000 feet. Local winds have dominated the night weather. After the front passes, conditions will get hotter and drier with strengthening winds. A fire weather watch is in effect from Saturday through Monday. The winds are causing erratic fire behavior in the area of the South Fork of the Feather River drainage where most of the fire activity is taking place in the West Zone. The critically dry fuel moistures make the vegetation extremely receptive to fire.

Today the fire continued to push to the west along the South Fork of the Feather River and burned to the Ponderosa Reservoir. A successful firing operation on the north and south side of Ponderosa Reservoir took place today. The burning operation was successful in removing fuel from in front of the fire front and mitigated any further spread. Firefighters will continue to reinforce the primary, alternate and contingency fire lines throughout the night. Firefighters will also be aggressively mopping up those hotspots within the fire perimeter to prevent any chance of any spots promoting across the fire line.

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South Zone:

Crews today continued to patrol and mop up around Quartz Hill and Onion Valley after last night’s successful firing operations. A helicopter with heat detecting sensors surveyed the area to aid crews in finding any hidden hot spots. Night crews will continue mop up efforts throughout this same area. All other containment lines remain secured.

North Zone:

Firing operations took place south of Grizzly Forebay and will continue into tonight’s night shift, should conditions allow. Crews were able to catch all slop overs and hot spots and will continue to patrol containment lines throughout the night.

Members of the Type 2 Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team Black will take over command of the fire tomorrow at 6 a.m. as California Interagency Incident Management Team 4 has reached the maximum 21-day limit.

September 23, 2020 at 7:33 AM

South Zone:

Overnight firing operations were successful around Quartz Hill and Onion Valley as crews were able to reinforce containment lines. Resources today will be focusing on monitoring these areas and looking to pick up any possible spot fires. Previously established south zone containment lines remain secured.

North Complex near Onion Valley and a photobombing hummingbird as seen from Saddleback on Sept. 22nd. Photo courtesy Tony Kelsey

North Zone:

Firing operations in the vicinity of Grizzly Big Creek to Grizzly Forebay were very productive last night. Crews completed firing to just south of Grizzly Forebay, where crews will look to complete firing during today’s shift. All slop over fires and spots have been picked up and will continue to be patrolled.
Members of the Type 2 Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team Black will be shadowing California Interagency Incident Management Team 4 today. Team Black will take over command of the fire on Thursday at 6 a.m. after Team 4 reaches their maximum 21-day limit.

West Zone:

The fire continues to push to the west along the South Fork of the Feather River and has burned to and around the Ponderosa Reservoir. Check lines and tactical firing are taking place to slow the spread of the fire as firefighters aggressively construct more direct and indirect control lines to keep the fire from moving into the communities of Forbestown, Woodleaf, Clipper Mills and Strawberry Valley. In other areas of the fire crews are reinforcing direct firelines, mopping up, and conducting tactical fire patrols.

Near seasonal temperatures remain, along with relative humidity values
recovering to around 40 to 50% at night, and falling to around 25 to 35 % during the day. Smoke will continue to be a concern for weather, and air operations. Upslope and then upvalley winds will continue to be the theme during the day, with downslope and then downvalley winds at night. The winds are causing erratic fire behavior in the area of the South Fork of the Feather River drainage where most of the fire activity is taking place in the West Zone. The critically dry fuel moistures make the vegetation extremely receptive to fire. Change is expected to come this weekend and early next week which is expected to be hotter and drier with strengthening winds. A fire weather watch will be issued this Saturday lasting into early next week.

September 22, 2020 at 7:31 PM

South Zone:

Day shift resources will be extending their shift in order to assist night shift crews attempting to complete ignitions near Quartz Hill. Unfavorable wind conditions have hampered ignition operations for the last several shifts. Other resources will be continuing to monitor and patrol the south zone fire perimeter. Currently, all containment lines remain secured.

North Zone:

Due to today’s winds, there have been several small spot fires near Grizzly Forebay, though all remain within containment lines. Crews here will also be extended into the night shift to take advantage of expected favorable condition for firing operations.

Members of the Type 2 Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team Black have been arriving and will be inbriefed later this evening. Team Black will take over command of the fire on Thursday morning at 6 a.m. after California Interagency Incident Management Team 4 reaches their maximum 21-day limit.

West Zone:

Weather conditions through Thursday look to stay fairly stable, with minor variation depending on cloud cover. General winds during the day are expected to be southwesterly around 10-15 mph with gusts to around 25 mph, mainly above 6,000 feet. Change is expected to come this weekend and early next week, which is expected to be hotter and drier with strengthening winds. There is a chance for a fire weather watch to be issued. The winds are causing erratic fire behavior in the area of the South Fork of the Feather River drainage where most of the fire activity is taking place in the West Zone. The critically dry fuel moistures make the vegetation extremely receptive to fire.

The fire continues to push to the west from Forbestown Reservoir Rd, along the South Fork of the Feather River toward the Ponderosa Reservoir. Check lines and tactical firing are taking place to slow the spread of the fire. Crews are aggressively constructing more direct and indirect control lines to keep the fire from moving into the communities of Forbestown, Woodleaf, Clipper Mills and Strawberry Valley. Aircraft were able to fly for most of the day over the fire.

September 22, 2020 at 6:23 PM

Planned Actions
North Zone/South Zone –

Branch VII:

Division BB: Firing operations will continue on the dozer line paralleling the La Porte Road, moving north to the Middle Fork of the Feather River.

Division DD: Mop up and hold recently fired areas of the Pacific Crest Trail east to the 22N27 and the La Porte Road systems.

Divisions GG and JJ: Continue to hold and mop up to mitigate any threats to current containment lines.

Branch X:

Divisions P, S, V, X, and Z: Continue to hold and mop up to mitigate any threats to current containment lines.

Division AA/TT: Continue to hold and mop up. A structure protection plan is in place for Buck’s Lake, Haskins, Highlands, Meadow Valley and Tollgate.

Division MM: Improvement of direct line with dozers anchoring on the Oro – Quincy Road working west to the Camp Fire burn scar.

Division QQ: Mop up and secure the Red Mountain Road. Continue to fire the Grizzly Big Creek Road, keeping the fire south of the Grizzly Forebay, tying into the 23N33Y Road.

West Zone

Fire lines are expected to hold in Branch XXIII and Branch XXV on the western perimeter of the fire and

Branch XX (Division F and Division I) on the southwestern perimeter of the fire. Crews will continue to reinforce direct firelines, mop up, and conduct tactical patrols around structures. Crews will continue to work in fire impacted areas and are engaged in making areas safe for repopulation, and notifying agencies where infrastructure hazards exist.

In Branch XX in on the southeastern perimeter of the fire (Division C and Division D), crews will continue to construct and improve direct and indirect fire lines and tactically burn existing control lines. Contingency lines in the North Branch and Cherokee Contingency Branch have been completed. Crews will continue to build fire lines in the South Branch Contingency areas.

DINS teams will continue their efforts to gather official information on the impact to structures in the burn area.

September 22, 2020 at 3:01 PM

The firing operation on the North Complex is underway. The smoke plume is widely visible in Yuba and Nevada counties. This is a controlled backburn, not the fire making a run.

September 22, 2020 at 10:44 AM

The Very Large Air Tanker (VLAT) Tanker 911, a DC 10, is over the North Complex.

September 22, 2020 at 7:32 AM

South Zone:

Crews will look to continue firing operations that began overnight to reinforce dozer line in the Onion Valley area, should conditions permit. The fire continues to hold from Little Grass Valley south to Harrison Ridge and is largely in patrol status.

North Zone:

Firefighters continue to focus on prepping along Grizzly Big Creek and south of Grizzly Forebay for firing operations. As always, firing operations can only happen with favorable weather conditions, which are expected today. Patrol and mop up continues on the Red Mountain Road and the containment lines continue to hold from Lookout Rock, east all the way to Quincy.

When the time comes for residents to return home, please drive with caution as firefighters and incident personnel will still be working and patrolling the fire perimeter.

West Zone:

The smoke continues to moderate both the temperatures and humidity over the fire area. The winds are consistent with downslope and then down valley winds over night and then shifting upslope and up-valley during the day coming from the south/southwest. The winds that surface are causing erratic fire behavior in the area of the South Fork of the Feather River Drainage where most of the fire activity is taking place in the West Zone. The critically dry fuel moistures make the vegetation very receptive to fire.

September 21, 2020 at 6:56 PM

West Zone:

Tonight down drainage and down canyon wind’s will again develop, causing erratic fire behavior in the area of the South Fork of the Feather River Drainage. The critically dry fuel moistures make the vegetation very receptive to fire. Smoke was present across the fire area today. Therefore, aircraft was only able to conduct a few hours of air operations. We used that time to drop retardent to strengthen the alternate fire line in the South Fork of the Feather River drainage.

South Zone:

Firefighters completed the ignitions along the dozer line that parallels the LaPorte Road. Operational resources were planning to go direct with the fire perimeter near Quartz Hill. However, adverse winds have shifted tactics to firing off the constructed dozer line later tonight if conditions allow.

North Zone:

Crews contained a slop over near Red Mountain Road and they will continue to mop up and patrol that fire perimeter area. Resources have been waiting for favorable winds along Grizzly Big Creek and south of Grizzly Forebay so no ignitions were conducted during the day but operations are hoping conditions will align over the next 1-2 shifts.

September 21, 2020 at 8:02 AM

South Zone:

Planned night firing operations parallel to LaPorte Road did not take place last night as the window for favorable conditions diminished. Other ignitions that had taken place earlier yesterday were monitored throughout the night and patrolled with no significant changes. Approximately 3 miles of containment line was added around Little Grass Valley, which is represented in black on the incident map. Day shift resources will attempt to carry-out ignitions near the Pacific Crest Trail and along the dozer line parallel to LaPorte Road.

North Zone:

Night shift completed the ignitions along Red Mountain Road and today, resources will be monitoring and patrolling the line. Ignitions were not favorable for the night shift along Grizzly Big Creek but the day shift will attempt firing operations later today.

Thank you for your patience and support throughout the incident, especially in the mandatory evacuation areas. When the time comes for repopulation of communities on the north and south zone, we ask everyone to be mindful of traffic on the roadways with the influx of returning residents and fire personnel who will still be working in the area.

West Zone:

Last night down drainage and down canyon wind developed after midnight with overall weaker winds than previous nights. Today will be warm with light upvalley winds which may be slower and be lighter due to the abundant smoke. Today humidity is predicted to be in the mid-20s in clear air with higher humidity in the smoke covered areas. Smoke continues to be present across the area impacting operational factors, especially air operations.

The fire continues to burn west toward the Ponderosa Reservoir and southwest down to the South Fork of the Feather River and South towards Forbestown Reservoir Road. Crews are actively constructing direct and indirect control lines to keep the fire from moving into the communities of Forbestown, Woodleaf, Clipper Mills and Strawberry Valley. The western and southern perimeters of the fire lines are holding with no fire growth expected. 140 Soldiers with the California National Guard did arrive late yesterday to assist in mopping up the fire area. They will be divided into 6 crews of 20 each with overhead.

September 20, 2020 at 7:53 PM

South Zone:

Firing operations along the Pacific Crest Trail have been completed and night shift will be nearing completion along the dozer line that parallels LaPorte Road. This firing needs to be completed and secured before there is repopulation of Little Grass Valley and the Community of LaPorte.

North Zone:

Ignitions were not favorable for the day shift along Grizzly Big Creek but the night shift will have the conditions to carry out the firing operations. A portion of Red Mountain Road was lit earlier today and firing operations will continue into tonight.

Thank you for your patience and support throughout the incident, especially in the mandatory evacuated areas. The ignitions on the south and north zones need to be completed and entirely secured, which we are expecting within the
next 1-2 days, before we can ensure residents can return home without having to leave a second time.

West Zone:

Firefighters are making good progress but continue to be challenged on the north side of the South Fork of the Feather River in the area of the Forbestown Reservoir. 140 Soldiers with the California National Guard did arrive today to assist in mopping up the fire area. They will be broken into 6 crews of 20 each with overhead.

September 20, 2020 at 10:24 AM

South Zone:

The firing operations conducted along Cleghorn Road were successful with desired effects of fuel consumption. There were some spot fires that were detected but they were quickly identified and contained by firefighters. Containment lines continue to hold from Sly Creek Reservoir to Onion Valley as well as along the eastern portion around east Quincy, crews will continue to monitor and patrol these areas.

North Zone:

This morning crews will assess the conditions to determine continuing with firing operations along Grizzly Bear Creek. Resources will also be looking to light approximately 1.5 miles along Red Mountain Road. With the favorable weather, the plan is to use aircraft again to assist ground resources in detecting and containing any new spot fires.

West Zone:

Strong down canyon winds developed last night. Expect temperatures to remain fairly similar this new week. General winds are expected to stay around 10 mph during the day. Temperatures may fluctuate slightly as a cold front moves into the Pacific Northwest Monday/Tuesday. Humidities will also see minor fluctuations with the temperature. Smoke will be over the area which could cause some operational concern with aircraft.

North Complex Column on Sept. 8, 2020

The western and southern perimeters of the fire lines are holding and hose is being removed from some of those areas. The southeast perimeter of the fire continues to burn in heavy fuels and steep terrain south to Lost Creek and to the southwest down to the South Fork of the Feather River. A spot fire did develop across the South Fork of the Feather River last night and has burned 150 acres. Firefighters continue to work on containing that spot which has remained within the established fire lines.

Previous updates on the North Complex are here.