February 24, 2024
Fires in Humboldt County largely impacting the Hoopa and Orleans areas are in various stages of containment ranging from completely contained, to almost, to not very.

Several fires in Humboldt County largely impacting the Hoopa and Orleans areas are in various stages of containment ranging from completely contained, to almost, to not very.

Fires from the Six Rivers Forest Lightning Complex that ignited Aug. 15 following a lightning storm, have created warnings for roughly 243 residents around the Orleans area as of the Times-Standard’s print deadline, but some of the warnings should cease very soon, a spokesperson with the Rocky Mountain Complex Incident Management Team One said.

“At this point, it’s not looking like there’s any immediate risk or threat to those communities,” Brenda Bowen, the spokesperson with the management team, said. “Certainly, we could get more lightning and a new condition that would impact something that we don’t know as of right now, if there were a new (fire) start, but with everything that’s going on right now, everything is looking pretty good.”

The largest and least-contained blaze in the complex is the Pearch Fire spread across 5,099 acres and at 8% containment, threatening the Orleans community and prompting evacuation warnings southeast of the Klamath River and east of Crawford Creek, including Orleans proper.

Crews have been patrolling the Pearch Fire and creating defensible lines and putting sprinkler systems near structures, such as homes, that could be threatened if the fire dramatically grows in size, but Bowen said it will be at least another 10 days before plants dry out enough to present risk.

“We’re really not expecting to see any increased activity,” Bowen said. “Potentially as the sun comes out and the day gets warm, you might see a little puff of smoke coming up from one of those interior sources of heat but nothing significant from that.”

As of 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, all evacuation warnings were lifted stemming from the South Fork Complex, a separate fire in Humboldt and Mendocino counties. The Six Rivers Lightning Complex extends through Humboldt, Siskiyou and Del Norte counties.

South of Hoopa, the Lone Pine Fire is 89% contained and burns across 1,684 acres, though population centers have seen minimal fire activity and crews have foregone suppression efforts for the moment.

“The portion that’s uncontained is within an indirect dozer line that was put in so there is a containment line there in the event that the fire does push to that east side,” Bowen said.

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The other fires near Orleans, the Creek and Flat, are completely contained, both less than a dozen acres.

At the Lost Fire in Redwood National Park, certain areas are too steep and unsteady to deploy firefighters and create dozer lines, so it remains at 68% containment across 722 acres.

Humboldt County residents can register for emergency alert notifications at humboldt.gov/alerts. A comprehensive list of resources can be found at humboldtgov.org/2383/Current-Emergencies and at inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident-information/casrf-2023-srf-lightning-complex-and-redwood-lightning-complex.

“Things are looking great as far as the rest of the fires within the complex that we have management of, we’re just looking at getting those indirect containment contingency lines in the event that fires do come out, or we get a wind event, that there are lines in place that will allow firefighters, whether it’s our team or the local unit or another team after us, that work has already been done the thinning of the hazardous fuels along the roads, the chipping to remove all of that material, so they have a good defensible line to start from,” Bowen said.

Jackson Guilfoil can be reached at 707-441-0506.

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