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Friday wiildfire roundup: Lightning-caused fires grow in North State

Mike Chapman
Lava Beds National Monument is closed due to the Caldwell Fire. A large plume of smoke rises behind the Lava Beds visitor center Thursday afternoon.

Seven structures were destroyed and more evacuations have been ordered in the 19,000-acre Gold Fire that's burning in Modoc County as separate lightning-caused fires continue to grow in the Modoc National Forest.

The Caldwell Fire is the largest blaze of a series of lightning-caused fires that's being called the July Complex, Modoc National Forest officials said.

The Caldwell Fire is near Caldwell Butte southeast of the Lava Beds. It was last reported at 1,500 acres Thursday and was growing quickly as the flames were being fanned by winds from a thunderstorm cell, officials said.

Meanwhile, crews on the Gold Fire are making progress on building fire lines as containment was at 35 percent as of Friday morning, up from 15 percent earlier in the day. Two injuries have been reported.

A community meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at the Cal Pines Lodge at 750 Shasta View Drive in Alturas. Agencies will provide the public with Gold Fire updates and answer questions.

Cal Fire officials say the fire is burning in areas where there are homes, ranches and commercial agriculture, livestock and timber operations. The fire is also threatening cultural resources and the Willow Creek Campground. 

More personnel and engines have been sent to the fire. There are 1,214 personnel assigned to the blaze, up from 949 on Thursday. Fire-fighting equipment includes 132 engines, 21 crews, 24 bulldozers and 16 water tenders.

Here are the latest evacuation orders where there's an immediate threat to life and property:

All residents along Highway 139 from Susanville Road (A-2) south to Termo Grasshopper Road.

Areas south of Ash Valley Road west of Spooner Road, east of Highway 139, and north of Termo Grasshopper Road.

Areas west of Highway 139, south of Haydenhill Road, east of Anderson Ranch Road/Dixie Valley Road and north of Long Flat Road.

Evacuation warnings: 

Ash Valley Road at US-395 west to Spooner Road, south on Spooner Road to Highway 139 and east on Highway 139 to Termo Grasshopper Road to US-395.

Areas west of Highway 139 from Terom Grasshopper Road south Gleghorn Road and east of Slate Creek Road.

Areas west of Highway 139 from Terom Grasshopper Road south Gleghorn Road and east of Slate Creek Road.

Area south of Susanville Road (A-2) from Highway 139 west to U.S. Forest Service Road 54/McClelland Road and north of Hayden Hill Road.

Area north of Ash Valley Rd. at US-395 north to the Modoc County Line and west to Rail Canyon.

Highway 139 is closed at Susanville Road (A-2) south to Termo Grasshopper Road and there is a hard closure of Butte Creek Road.

Badger Fire

The Badger Fire several miles north of Yreka in Siskiyou County held at 557 acres and was 70% contained Thursday night.

Road closures remain in the area.

The blaze started Saturday at Badger Mountain and Hawkinsville-Humbug roads. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, Cal Fire said.

Hog Fire

The Hog Fire in southen Lassen County stayed at 9,517 acres Thursday night and its containment was up to 35% compared to 26% earlier Thursday.

Crews have been successful in keeping the blaze five miles west of Susanville as they continue to build containment lines.

"Warming and drying conditions may increase the risk of fire activity from smoldering areas," Cal Fire said.

One injury has been reported.

Fire-fighting equipment assigned to the fire include 147 engines, 33 bulldozers and 31 water tenders.

Here are the latest evacuation warnings:

Community of Lake Forest Estates, both north and south side of Highway 36 from A-1 to Willard Creek Road.

Junction of Highway 36 and Highway 44 east to the A-1 Highway 36 junction, that encompasses River Bench, Britt Lane, Thumper Hill Road, and Ridge Top Road.

West of Brake Check Area on Highway 36, to the junction of Highway 36 and Highway 44, including residents served by Phil Dow Road.

Road closures:

Highway 36 from the Highway 44 and 36 juncture to Westwood

County Road A-1 is closed from north of the water tanks.

The Hog Fire started Saturday at Hog Flat Reservoir and its cause is under investigation.

Platina Fire

Firefighters had the Platina Fire 95% contained as of Thursday evening, Cal Fire said. The containment figure was up from 75% Wednesday evening.

"Firefighters will continue to mop up and patrol; fire suppression repair is ongoing," Cal Fire said.

The fire's size remained at 340 acres.

The wildland blaze started before 4 p.m. Sunday at Platina and Big Foot roads.

Five firefighters have been treated and released after they suffered minor injuries.

The blaze has not damaged or destroyed any structures, fire officials said.

Fewer people were working the fire as of Thursday night. Some 212 personnel were assigned as of Thursday night compared to 276 personnel earlier Thursday. 

Four water tenders remain on the fire but the number of engines have been reduced to 18 from 34 on Wednesday.

Cal Fire investigators are examining the fire's cause.

Mike Chapman is a reporter and photographer for the Record Searchlight in Redding, Calif. His newspaper career spans Yreka and Eureka in Northern California and Bellingham, Wash.