June 21, 2024
No evacuation orders are issued for the Lone Pine fire, which is in Six Rivers National Forest and Hoopa Valley Tribal land south of Hoopa near Tish Tang Ridge. But an evacuation advisory has been issued.

No evacuation orders are issued for the Lone Pine fire, which is in Six Rivers National Forest and Hoopa Valley Tribal land south of Hoopa near Tish Tang Ridge. But an evacuation advisory has been issued by the Hoopa Office of Emergency Services for those close to the blaze.

As of Thursday afternoon, nearby residents were told to prepare for a possible evacuation and learn evacuation zones. This advisory is for residents north of the Bigfoot Scenic Byway and those south and east of Tish Tang Road.

There is potential for an evacuation warning if the fire crosses Tish Tang Creek, said Serene White, a spokesperson for the Hoopa Office of Emergency Services.

Firefighting efforts were bolstered with more resources Wednesday night. A joint news release from Hoopa Valley Tribe and the U.S. Forest Service noted that firefighters are creating a handline and heavy equipment is creating dozer lines near Tish Tang Ridge, with firing operations expected on the west side of the fire.

“Knowing the terrain is making it a lot easier for us,” said White, noting that two fire leaders on this effort have worked as firefighters in the reservation. She added that the resources have significant importance to the tribe.

The firefighters are battling mountainous, steep terrain, in some places too steep for ground equipment. But the firefighters and smoke jumpers aggressively fighting the fire are used to it, said White.

“Despite red flag weather warnings for heat and high winds yesterday, fire activity remained moderate with no significant runs,” the joint release notes.

The fire was at 450 acres as of Thursday afternoon and 5% contained. White said now, the major concern is any incoming lightning strikes that will cause more fires.

“That is a concern because that’s how this fire got started,” she said.

A tweet from the Eureka National Weather Service noted that the threat of isolated thunderstorms will persist Thursday, with storm cells generally moving north-northwest toward the coast. Then, the storm cells are expected to shift over inland areas Friday and into the weekend.

Smoke continues to be an issue, with community members in the Bald Hills area seeing more smoke than those in the lower valley, said White. Preparations are being made for those who are medically vulnerable. White noted that the Hoopa Neighborhood Facility will provide clean air (starting with those who are vulnerable) and a shelter space if necessary in the future.

“Because of the fires, smoke impacts were quite high for a couple hours yesterday,” noted Debra Harris from the North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District. She said in the Willow Creek area conditions moved from the status of unhealthy for sensitive groups to unhealthy. White encouraged people to buy air purifiers, and Harris noted more information about staying healthy during smoke is on the NCUAQMD website at https://www.ncuaqmd.org/wildfire-smoke-resources.

Residents have been facing power outages without warning. Smith said there are backup generators for facilities.

“We recommend downloading the genasys Protect mobile app,” a release noted, and follow the Hoopa Valley Tribe Office of Emergency Services on Facebook for further information. Genasys was formerly known as ZoneHaven.

Find updated information on the fire at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident-information/casrf-lone-pine-fire-

Smith River Complex

Further north in Del Norte County, the Smith River Complex has prompted evacuations and a highway closure. The 10 uncontained fires also sparked by lightning were estimated Thursday evening to be around 4,000 acres, including the Holiday, Kelly, Prescott, Diamond and other smaller fires.

State Route 199 remained closed Thursday in Del Norte County from Pioneer Road to the Ag Inspection Station as of press time due to fire.

“Currently no estimated time of reopening,” noted Caltrans in a tweet.

An aerial view of the Smith River Complex is shown Tuesday. As of Thursday, the fire is 4,000 acres with 0% containment. Evacuations have been ordered in parts of Del Norte County. (Six Rivers National Forest/Contributed) 

“Firefighters are facing challenges due to extreme weather conditions and rugged terrain. During these emerging incidents, firefighter safety remains a top priority for the Six Rivers National Forest,” a U.S. Fortes Service release noted.

Nearby campgrounds have been closed.

As of Thursday afternoon, evacuation orders placed by the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office include Level 3 “Go Now” for Patrick Creek, Little Jones Creek, Copper Creek Drainage, Coon Creek/ 16n19 17n07. Level 2 “Be Set” for Washington Flat, High Divide, Rowdy Creek, Pioneer/Panther Flat. Level 1 “Be Ready” for French Hill, Big Flat/Rock Creek, Low Divide, Gasquet.

The Del Norte Office of Emergency Services can be followed on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DelNorteOfficeOfEmergencyServices/ and https://www.preparedelnorte.com/ for community alert system. Updated information on the Smith River Complex is at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident-information/casrf-smith-river-complex.

Head Fire

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An estimated 3,500-acre fire that was 0% contained Thursday afternoon is burning near Scott Bar and state Route 96 in Trinity County. The highway is currently closed near the fire and multiple zones have been evacuated.

“Fire behavior was moderated overnight by light rainfall and good humidity recovery. Ridge tops remain drier and the fire continues to back and flank down the drainage towards the Klamath River, especially in heavy dead and down fuels,” noted a news release.

The release notes that the priorities have been continued structure protection in the areas of Scott Bar, Hamburg, and Horse Creek.

Firefighters continue to respond to the Head Fire and to numerous fires that have been confirmed in the forest. Additional smokes continue to be reported; fires are being staffed based on priority and as additional resources become available. Multiple aircraft and other additional resources have been ordered for these fires.

Evacuation zones as of press time include zones SIS-1236 (south of Hamburg) SIS-1120 (East of Horse Creek Road), SIS-1117 (South of California Highway-96), SIS-1007 (North of California Highway-96), SIS-1233 (South Foret Route 46n64) and SIS-2001-B (South of Scott River Road, Scott Bar Mountain Lookout Road).

Find information through Monitor CodeRED (a Siskiyou emergency alert system) at https://www.co.siskiyou.ca.us/emergencyservices/page/codered-emergency-alert) and the @SiskiyouCountySherriff for current information. For updated fire information, go to https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident-information/caknf-2023-klamath-national-forest-august-lightning-fires.

Sage Alexander can be reached at 707-441-0504.