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California wildfires: What we know Sunday about fires burning in the North State

Damon Arthur Matt Brannon
Redding Record Searchlight

As firefighters around California continue to battle wildfires, here's what we know Sunday from updates on various blazes in the state:

Slater/Devil Fire

  • Location: Siskiyou, Del Norte, Josephine (Oregon) counties
  • Size: 130,482 acres (as of Sunday)
  • Containment: 0%

U.S. Forest Service officials are now calling the two separate fires of the Slater and Devil fires one fire.

Evacuation orders remain in effect for most of Happy Camp. However, Elk Creek Road and Seiad were both downgraded to an evacuation warning.

An eerie stillness hangs over the small community of Happy Camp in far Northern California on Sunday, Sept. 12, 2020 days after the Slater Fire roared through the area. The monster fire left the small town in ruins. It is blamed for two deaths and the destruction of more than 150 homes.

Forest service officials say their fire suppression strategy for the Slater and Devil fires changed from protecting structures and utilities to a "larger perimeter containment strategy." 

"While the Devil Fire continues to move mainly to the north and west, equipment and crews were able to pick up the pace building fireline to defend the town of Seiad, and so far that line has held," U.S. Forest Service officials said Saturday night.

On the northwest side of the fire in Del Norte County, firefighters focused on point protection, primarily along Highway 199 from Gasquet to Collier Tunnel. Forest officials said Saturday morning the fire was hung up at Oregon Mountain Road and is backing into Knopki Creek.

This map shows the approximate perimeter of the Slater Fire as of 5 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020.

On the south end of the Slater/Devil fires, favorable weather slowed fire activity Friday and overnight. But the blaze also weakened trees in the burn area, and some have fallen along Highway 96, posing risks to firefighters and others, according to forest officials. 

Firefighters are working on structure protection on the Highway 96 corridor. Further up the east flank of the fire, crews made progress on a fire line between the town of Seiad and the fire. 

California Wildfires:Puppy found alive in rubble of deadly North Complex Fire

Highway 199 remains closed from the Oregon/California border south to Panther Flat Campground.

Highway 96 remains closed from Portuguese Creek to Clear Creek (south of Happy Camp).

NEW closure orders are in effect for the Wild Rivers and Siskiyou Mountains Ranger Districts of the Rogue-Siskiyou National Forest.

Siskiyou County officials have said residents who need a welfare check on their animals in the evacuation zones of the Slater/Devil fires can contact them at 530-643-3658.

Shackleford Fire

  • Location: Siskiyou County 
  • Size: 50 acres (as of Saturday night)
  • Containment: 20%
  • Incident management page: https://bit.ly/2ZrN8s7

Butte/Tehama/Glenn Complex

  • Location: Tehama, Glenn counties
  • Size: 19,609 acres (as of Saturday morning)
  • Containment: 95%
  • Notes: 16 structures destroyed; the blaze includes multiple other smaller fires, according to state officials.
  • Incident management page: https://bit.ly/2RiSgtV
This map shows the perimeter of the North Zone Fire in Butte County and where some of the structures have burned.

North Complex

  • Location: Butte, Plumas counties
  • Size: 258,802 acres (as of Saturday night)
  • Containment: 26%
  • Notes: 12 deaths, 13 missing; evacuations in place; includes the Bear and Claremont Fire, according to state officials
  • Incident management page: https://bit.ly/2RhRhKE

Fire activity was calm Saturday night in both the north and south zones of the fire as humidity increased overnight.

Crews continued to do backburning and dozer lines are being built and meeting the 2018 Camp Fire scar.

The size of the complex increased by more than 6,000 acres throughout Saturday and containment rose from 21% to 22%. At least 227 structures have been destroyed and at least 23 have been damaged. 

On Saturday morning, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection released a map of properties damaged and destroyed in the west zone of the North Complex. The map can be found at this link: bit.ly/3hmFDst

August Complex 

  • Tehama, Mendocino, Humboldt, Del Norte, Trinity counties
  • Size: 875,059 acres (as of Saturday night)
  • Containment: 25%
  • Notes: 1 death; merged fires including Elkhorn, Hopkins, Willow, and Vinegar; includes multiple fires including the Doe Fire, according to state officials
  • Incident management page: https://bit.ly/3meMIPB

Fires previously known as the Elkhorn, Hopkins, Vinegar Peak and Willow Basin fires are now part of the August Complex-North Zone, according to U.S. Forest Service officials. 

Here are the evacuation notices as of Sunday morning:

Humboldt County

  • Evacuation Order: Areas south of Highway 36 in Bridgeville, and all communities along Alderpoint Road down to the Mendocino/Trinity County Line.
  • Evacuation Warnings: Areas west of Bell Springs Road to Highway 101 spanning from Alderpoint Road to the Mendocino / Trinity County Line. This includes the City of Garberville.

Mendocino County

Evacuation Orders:

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office has issued a mandatory evacuation order: The area of Island Mountain, south of the County Line, north of Bell Springs Road and north of the Eel River. The National Forest area from the Anthony Peak down to Hull Mountain, west of the county line, and east of the Eel River near the Eel River Ranger Station.

Evacuation Warnings:

  • Zone U - South of the County Line, east and north of the East Branch of the South Fork of the Eel River, west of Bell Springs Road.
  • Zone T - South of Bell Springs, east of Bell Springs Road, north of Iron Peak and Simmerly Road, west of the Eel River.
  • Zone R - West of and south of Mina Rd, south of the North Fork of Eel River, east of the Eel River.
  • Zone P - South of the County Line, east of Mina Road, north of Hulls Valley Road and west of Hulls Creek.
  • Zone O - South of the County Line, east of Hulls Creek, north of Mendocino Pass Road, and west of Williams Creek

Trinity County

  • Evacuation Orders: Communities of Ruth, Kettenpom, Zenia, Hettenshaw Valley
  • Evacuation Warnings: Ruth Lake, Mad River, Forest Glen, Post Mountain