Updated 4:27a.m. August 18th
Good morning everybody. Here is your early Saturday report on conditions from the Chips Fire burning in Plumas County.
Favorable weather conditions enabled firefighters to make good progress Friday, increasing containment lines from 20% to 34%. In mid-afternoon, the smoke cleared enough, and three Type 1 helicopters dropped water to support crews on the ground, particularly in the Caribou Road area.
In the Clear Creek drainage near Butt Lake Reservoir dam, crews and dozers have started building a new containment line on the east flank of the fire. The goal is to keep the fire away from Seneca, Canyondam, and the Big Meadows subdivision.
The containment line from Yellow Creek Campground to the west shore of Butt Lake Reservoir is complete.
Firefighters conducted direct attack on a 15 acre spot fire in the Red Hill area on the southeast perimeter of the fire.
On the west perimeter, crews continue to build containment lines along the fires edge, working to the south.
The 940 structures that are considered threatened are in the following communities: Lake Almanor West, Almanor, Prattville, the Big Meadows subdivision, Canyondam, Belden, Rush Creek, and Seneca, and structures along Caribou Road. Residents in these areas will continue to see CalFire and Office of Emergency Services engines from various city fire departments moving through neighborhoods as they plan structure protection tactics. Bulldozers and other heavy equipment will continue building and improving contingency lines running southeast from Seneca Road.
PG&E representatives are working closely with the fire management team, and are prepared to de-energize transmission lines as needed for firefighting efforts, including the use of aircraft.
Fire Behavior and Smoke:
Monsoonal moisture will bring a slight chance of thunderstorms through Saturday morning. Storms may cause erratic winds, heavy rains, and lightning.
Motorists are encouraged to use caution on roads within the vicinity of the fire, particularly on Highway 70 and Highway 89 due to increased fire traffic. Travelers should check highway conditions regularly at 800-427-ROAD or http://www.dot.ca.gov/.
Smoke will continue to pose health concerns for the public. Residents are encouraged to visit the “Protect Yourself from Smoke” website for smoke protection information at http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Wildfires/. Local air quality conditions and forecasts are available at http://airnow.gov/index.cfm action=airnow.main.
For tips on how to prepare for a potential evacuation and what to do if you are evacuated, residents in and near evacuation areas are encouraged to visit the “Ready, Set, Go” website at http://www.inciweb.org/incident/article/3052/15480/.
To report and get updates on power outages please call PG&E’s 24-hour emergency and customer service line: 1-800-743-5002.
Evacuations and Closures:
To register a cell phone with the Plumas County Emergency Notification System visit http://countyofplumas.com/index.aspx nid=2163.
Sheriff’s Voluntary Evacuations are now in place for Rush Creek, Canyondam, and Big Meadows. The Sheriff’s Advisement for other communities along Highway 89 including Prattville, Almanor, and West Almanor and East Shore Residence (Hwy 147) remains in effect.
Residents between Tobin and Twain on Highway 70 are under a Sheriff’s Advisement to develop a family evacuation plan. This area includes Belden, Maggie’s Trailer Park, and Little Haven. Planning to provide shelter arrangements for local residents will be based on the locations and extent of any new mandatory evacuations issued by the Sheriff’s Office.
Butt Valley Reservoir recreation facilities administered by PG&E (Ponderosa Flat Campground, Cool Springs Campground, Ray Adams Day Use Area and Boat Launch, as well as Yellow Creek Campground) are closed due to the fire. Gansner Bar, North Fork, and Queen Lily USFS campgrounds remain closed. The Little Grizzly dispersed camping area and High Lakes OHV area, are also closed.
Communities west of the fire area including Paradise, Jarbo Gap, and Concow are not threatened at this time.
In the interest of firefighter and public safety, the Plumas and Lassen National Forests have expanded the original closure areas due to the fire’s growth. The closures will remain in place until the area is safe for the public to enter. Please see the Forest Orders and closure maps on InciWeb (address above). Pacific Crest Trail hikers may bypass the affected area by hiking Highway 70/89 or catching a bus with Plumas Transit to Chester, CA (weekdays only).
Chips Fire, Plumas County