Incident Overview

The Helena Fire, managed under unified command with CAL FIRE and California Interagency Incident Management Team 3, continues to burn near Junction City and Weaverville, CA. The Fork Fire is located north of Monument Peak and southwest of East Fork Lakes in the Trinity Alps Wilderness.

Helena Fire – Date/Time Reported: August 30, 2017 Size: 17,038 Containment: 42% Cause: Human – under investigation

Fork Fire – Date/Time Reported: August 7, 2017 Size: 3,417 acres Containment: 0% Cause: Lightning

Helena-Fork Resources: Engines: 97 Crews: 29 Dozers: 23 Water Tenders: 16 Helicopters: Total Personnel: 1,317

Status: Rising temperatures over the next couple days will result in increased fire activity. Primary fire spread will be caused by rollout of smoldering logs and snags on steep slopes, which may create the possibility of short upslope runs. Firefighters will continue to monitor contained portions of firelines for hotspots. Structure protection measures are complete in the Canyon Creek area in anticipation of the fire coming down to the road. In this area, crews are also exploring opportunities to directly attack the fire safely. Crews and dozers continue to construct fireline in the southwest portion of the fire near Hayfork Divide, and down to the Trinity River. Direct line construction progressed on the eastside of the fire north of Bear Gulch. On the Fork fire, a hotshot crew and a six person helitack module are making good progress with line construction along the southeast corner of the fire; they have also have worked to secure mining structures east of Grasshopper Flats. Engine resources removed over three miles of fire hose in the Junction City area. Resource advisors initiated restoration and repair assessment of areas impacted by fireline suppression where possible.

Click to view the Evening Helena-Fork Fire Update (PDF, 9/9/2017)
Click to view the Most Recent Fire Map (large PDF, 9/9/2017)
Click to view the Overnight IR Heat Map (PDF, 9/8/2017)
Video: Fire Behavior Update (MOV, 9/8/2017)

Weather and Smoke: High pressure will continue warming and drying conditions through Monday. An offshore trough will bring a chance of showers and thunderstorms around Tuesday. Seasonable weather conditions will prevail through the remainder of the week with smoke from other fires in northern California and southern Oregon continuing to create unhealthy air conditions. for air quality information and hours and locations of clean air shelters.

Forest Closure Order: Today, Saturday, September 9, 2017, a Forest Closure Order went into effect for National Forest Lands affected by the Helena and Fork Fires on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. This order is to protect firefighter and public safety and will remain in effect until the Helena and Fork Fires are declared out.

Wilderness / Recreation Access: The BLM Junction City Campground and Bagdad River Access on Highway 299, Pigeon Campground, and the Grapevine Swimming Hole on East Fork Road are closed. A complete list of roads and trails affected by the forest closure is available on The Shasta-Trinity National Forest Website lists all recreation sites on the Forest to provide alternatives.

The fire situation is dynamic and residents are urged to monitor fire information on InciWeb and on bulletin boards. We all have a role to play in protecting ourselves and each other from the risk of wildfire. There are a number of publications available with information about living and adapting to wildfires. and

Evacuations: The Trinity County Sheriff’s Office and Office of Emergency Services along with the Unified Command of the Helena Fire have lifted evacuation orders in the Junction City area within the evacuated zone for RESIDENTS ONLY! Residents are encouraged to be aware of the continued fire suppression operations in the area, and the dangers associated with increased traffic. All other evacuation orders remain in effect, including upper Canyon Creek Road, Upper Road, Lower Road, Valdor Road and Powerhouse Road. An evacuation center is located at the First Baptist Church in Weaverville. The shelter for large animals is at the Trinity High School. Dogs and cats can be taken to the Trinity County Animal Shelter. 

State Route 299: California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will open Highway 299 to through traffic only at the following times: 5:30 am, 9:00 am, 2:00 pm, 5:30 pm, and 9:30 pm. Eastbound and westbound traffic in line at the designated times will be allowed through the area under traffic control, depending on fire activity and operations; this closure is reviewed daily. Highway closures are currently between Junction City Campground to approximately one mile west of the Helena Bridge. Officials are estimating 40 minutes to get through the area at opening times. Hwy 299 will remain closed to through traffic 9:00 pm until 5:00 am through Sunday. Caltrans, working with Trinity County Department of Transportation, is cutting down hazard trees and verifying that roadways are in good condition.

Trinity Transit: For the Willow Creek Line: AFTERNOON SERVICE ONLY! Westward (from Weaverville towards Willow Creek) will run ONE HOUR EARLIER THAN REGULAR SCHEDULED TIMES. Eastward (from Willow Creek to Weaverville) will run on the regular scheduled times. (No a.m. service.) This can change at the last minute. Visit the Trinity Transit Website or call 530-623-1365 before you travel. Regular service will resume on Monday, September 11, 2017.

Trinity County Roads: The following roads are closed: Canyon Creek Road, Upper Road, Lower Road, Valdor Road, and Powerhouse Road. The Sheriff’s office will continue to patrol the area, and Trinity County has established road blocks that prevent people from entering the evacuated areas. County roads will be repaired and hazard trees will be removed in the near future.

Utilities: Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is estimating they will have a majority of the replacement work complete and power restored by Sunday. Trinity Power and Utility District work is mostly complete with the exception of Canyon Creek Rd. Frontier Communications is working to restore phone service to all affected areas.

Schools: The Trinity Alps Unified School District (TAUSD) will begin classes on Monday, Sept 11, updates are available on their website at Junction City schools also plan to open again Monday. Updates regarding the status of Douglas City Elementary School are available on the Douglas City Elementary School Facebook page

Trinity County Sheriff’s Office: TCSO is providing public safety within the fire area, making contacts with residents who remain behind, providing evacuation security with roaming patrols, and working with Cal OES in running the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

Trinity County Environmental Health: Has been actively assessing imminent public health and safety hazards in the affected burn areas. Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) debris must be removed immediately. A health emergency grants state and local government permission to enter properties that have been assessed as significantly damaged or destroyed with the specific duty to remove HHW debris from the property to protect the community. HHW must be handled separately from other burn debris and cannot be brought to local landfills. Residents are strongly encouraged to leave all HHW is place – to not remove any HHW or damaged containers of HHW from their properties. Full details are available at @TrinityDOT


Basic Information

Current as of 9/9/2017, 9:35:35 PM
Incident Type Wildfire
Cause Under Investigation
Date of Origin Wednesday August 30th, 2017 approx. 05:15 PM
Location Junction City & Helena, CA
Incident Commander Clay Templin (CIIMT 3); Sean Kavanaugh (CAL FIRE)
Incident Description Unified Command With Calfire

Current Situation

Total Personnel 1,317
Size 20,455 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained 42%
Estimated Containment Date Sunday October 01st, 2017 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels Involved Brush, timber, hardwood litter

Fire is burning in past fire scars from 2006, 2008, and 1987. Fire is burning in steep terrain with slopes averaging 40% and up to 100%. Steep, inaccessible areas exist across the area.

Significant Events 20,455 acres is a combined acreage. Helena fire is 17,038 and Fork fire is 3,417

Minimal fire behavior across the fire area due to high overnight humidities. 1000 hr. fuels (large dead/down logs, standing snags) continue to carry heat.


Projected Incident Activity Install and improve fire lines on the north and south sides of the fire, begin removing hose and fireline repair in contained areas near Junction City.
Remarks Highway 299 is closed except for escorted traffic today at 5:30 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Escorts are for east and west-bound through traffic only.

CIIMT3 is managing the lightning-caused Fork Fire approximately eight miles to the north of the Helena Northeast of Weaverville, CA. Nighttime IR flight shows there is still approx. 1/2 mile separation between the Fork and the Helena Fire, These two fires are anticipated to merge.

Current Weather

Weather Concerns Rising temperatures with lower relative humidities over the next four days will continue to dry out one and ten hour fuels.