Firefighters battling the West Coast wildfires say this year’s blazes are some of the worst they have ever seen. They say the fires are taxing the human, mechanical and financial resources of the nation’s wildfire fighting forces to an extraordinary degree. And half of the fire season is yet to come.
Cal-Fire has corrected a figure they had released on the North Complex of fires in Plumas and Butte Counties. The Cal-Fire website was reporting 10 times the actual figure, which is 865 residential and commercial structures destroyed, mostly in Berry Creek, Feather Falls and other communities northeast of Lake Oroville. The 273,335 acre complex includes the Bear Fire, or “North Complex West Zone”, along with the Sheep and Claremont Fires. There have been 15 fatalities confirmed as vast areas remain under evacuation orders. Other people remain missing. Overall containment is estimated at 36%. Nearly 3,500 personnel are assigned to the complex.
The Slater Fire that started last Monday in the Klamath National Forest is being managed along with the Devil’s Fire with a total size of over 148,300 acres. It’s still only 10% contained. All of Happy Camp and surrounding communities are evacuated as hundreds of homes have been lost and at least 2 civilians have died. Part of the Slater Fire is burning in Oregon.
The North and South Zones of the August Lightning Complex are merging together near the Mendocino/Trinity County line. Many of the islands of unburned areas within the complex have been burned over as the bulk of the fire moves toward the west. The size now totals a staggering 796,650 acres with 30% overall containment.
The Red Salmon Complex in the Trinity Alps Wilderness about 14 miles northeast of Willow Creek has expanded to over 95,100 acres, prompting evacuation orders. Containment is estimated at 18%.