Wildfires have burned more than 2 million acres in California this year, setting a record even as crews battled dozens of growing blazes across the state. Officials say the most striking thing about the record is how early it was set – with the most dangerous part of the year ahead. Dry, hot winds are predicted to raise fire danger to critical levels in the coming days.
The August Lightning Fire Complex that started August 17th as 37 different fires on the Mendocino National Forest has burned over 356,300 acres in 5 different counties. Many of the original fires 30 miles northwest of Willows have merged to form larger fires. They include the Doe Fire, the Tatham Fire, the Glade Fire, the Hull Fire, and now the 20,000 acre Hopkins Fire west of Platina. The complex has an estimated overall containment of 24%.
The Elkhorn Fire in the Tomhead Mountain Area of Western Tehama County has burned 50,100 acres with 55% containment. It continues to be a threat to communities to the north and east and forest closures are in effect.
The Red Salmon Complex in the Trinity Alps Wilderness about 14 miles northeast of Willow Creek has increased to 48,000 acres and containment has been further reduced to 20%.
The North Complex in Plumas and Lassen National Forests originally included 21 fires, but 16 are contained. The largest still active are the 29,500 acre Sheep Fire, the 8,300 acre Bear Fire and the 22,000 acre Claremont Fire. The overall containment of the complex is 50%. Many evacuation orders have been downgraded.
A Sagebrush and Juniper Fire in Eastern Lassen and Modoc Counties has grown a little but containment has greatly improved. The Cold Springs fire has now burned around 84,800 acres with 98% containment.