Incident Overview

This map shows the current fire perimeters for the Helena and Fork FiresImage options: [ Enlarge ] [ Full Size ]

The Helena and Fork Fires are being managed by California Interagency Incident Management Team 3 (CIMT3) with support of state and local resources. The Helena Fire 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: 17,542 Cause: Human – under investigation

Fork Fire – Date/Time Reported: August 7, 2017Size: 3,479 acres Cause: Lightning

Total Containment for both the Helena and Fork Fires is 47%

Helena-Fork Resources: Engines: 64 Crews: 16 Dozers: 24 Water Tenders: 17 Helicopters: 8Total Personnel: 910

Status: Smoke columns and increased fire activity were observed on the Helena Fire today as a result of warmer temperatures and drier air. Two primary fire areas became active, well within the containment lines on the southwest corner in the Connor Creek area and on east side of Canyon Creek Road between Rarick and Conrad gulches. This activity was expected as the fire continues to move through large, heavy downed logs and up steep slopes averaging 40% and up to 100%. Due to its proximity to structures, primary suppression action will be directed to the Helena Fire, with the objective of keeping the fire above Powerhouse Road to the north and from spreading east into Weaverville by constructing and holding containment lines from Junction City northeast to Glennison Gap. Crews will continue to control and contain fire and residual hotspots around structures. Structure protection measures are in place in the upper Canyon Creek area. Crews continue to scout for and construct direct and indirect containment lines and construct direct handline from Glennison Gap north along Weaver Bally Ridge. Crews are also pursuing opportunities to directly attack the fire in the Connor Creek and Eagle Creek areas. Access to the Eagle Ranch contingency line and improvements to 33N45 Road are ongoing. Patrol and mop up is occurring along existing containment lines where possible. 

Click to view the Morning Helena-Fork Fire Update (PDF, 9/11/2017)
Click to view the 
Operations Map for the Fork Fire (PDF, 9/11/2017)
Click to view the Operations Map for the Helena Fire 
(PDF, 9/11/2017)
Click to view the 
Overnight IR Heat Map (PDF, 9/10/2017)
Video: Fire Behavior Update (MOV, 9/11/2017) 

Weather and Smoke: Rising temperatures and lower relative humidity will continue to dry out fuels, resulting in periodic smoke columns being visible. These are all within planned or constructed containment lines. Tuesday shows a slight chance of rain and thunderstorms with a return to normal weather patterns thereafter.

Forest Closure Order: A Forest Closure Order is in effect for National Forest Lands impacted 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. The forest closure orders also apply to hunters.

Wilderness/Recreation Access: The BLM Junction City Campground and Bagdad River Access on Highway 299, Pigeon Point Campground and river access, as well as 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 https://Inciweb.nwcg.gov. The Shasta-Trinity National Forest website lists all recreation sites on the Forest to provide alternative recreational opportunities.

Prepare for Wildfire: Creating defensible space is essential to improve your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire. It’s the buffer you create between a building on your property and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland area that surround it. This space is needed to slow or stop the spread of wildfire and it protects your home from catching fire—either from direct flame contact or radiant heat. Defensible space is also important for the protection of the firefighters defending your home. Flying embers can destroy homes up to a mile from a wildfire. “Harden” your home now before a fire starts by using ember-resistant building materials. Learn more about preparing for wildfire athttp://www.readyforwildfire.org

The fire situation is dynamic and residents are urged to monitor fire information on InciWeb, social media and on bulletin boards.

State Route 299: Traffic will be conducted by one way continuous escort from mile post 38.35 west to mile post 42.0 east. Officials are estimating 20 – 40 minutes to travel through the area depending on traffic volume. Motorists are advised to use extreme caution when traveling the 299 corridor between Junction City and Big Flat due to potential for rock slides and congested traffic.

Utilities: Trinity Power and Utility District work is complete and all lines have been energized. Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has completed pole replacement and have energized power lines in the 299 corridor. Frontier Communications is working to restore phone service to all affected areas.

Schools: The Trinity Alps Unified School District (TAUSD), Junction City and Douglas City schools began classes today. Updates are available on the web at www.tausd.org andhttps://www.facebook.com/douglascityschool.

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). TCSO has created a telephone line for the public to call when requesting welfare checks on residents who remained in the fire area. That number is (530) 623-8126.

Trinity County RoadsThe Trinity County Sheriff has lifted the evacuation for Powerhouse Road, Sundowner Lane, Valdor Road, Upper Road, & Lower Road. Access to the areas above is from Canyon Creek Road only to avoid additional congestion at the Highway 299 roadblock. The Canyon Creek Road closure has moved north to the intersection of Canyon Creek Road and Caprine. The Sheriff’s office will continue to patrol the area and staff road blocks to prevent people from entering evacuated areas. County roads will be repaired and hazard trees will be removed in the near future.

Evacuations: Evacuation orders in parts of the Junction City area have been lifted forRESIDENTS ONLY! Residents need to be aware of the continued fire suppression operations in the area, and the dangers associated with increased traffic. The Red Cross evacuation center located at the First Baptist Church in Weaverville closed effective 12 p.m. today. The shelter for large animals is at the Trinity High School. Dogs and cats can be taken to the Trinity County Animal Shelter. A distribution center for tools (shovels and rakes) for residents impacted by the fire will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily at Nugget Lane and Glenn Road near the four-way stop in Weaverville (Look for the Lions Club banner and Red Cross panel truck). American Red Cross volunteers will also be on site to assist in opening case files for those whose properties were damaged or destroyed by the fire.

Trinity Transit: Regular service resumed today. Visit the Trinity Transit Website or call 530-623-1365 before you travel.

Trinity County Environmental Health: Assessment of imminent public health and safety hazards in the affected burn areas continues. 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 in place – and to not remove any HHW or damaged containers of HHW from their properties. Full details are available at @TrinityDOTResidents from fire affected areas may dispose of food waste for free at the Junction City Solid Waste Transfer Site. Food waste must be separated from general waste, and you must show ID as proof of residence in affected area.

 

Basic Information

Current as of 9/11/2017, 9:29:45 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, California Interagency Incident Management Team 3
Incident Description Wildland Fire

Current Situation

Total Personnel 910
Size 22,021 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained 47%
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 21,021 acres is a combined acreage. Helena fire is 17,542 and Fork fire is 3,479

Active burning is expected into late evening in portions of the fire.

Outlook

Planned Actions Helena: Continue to control and contain fire and residual hot spots around structures. Prepare structures along Canyon Creek Rd. Assess needs for suppression repair. Continue to scout and put in direct and indirect control lines. Construct line from Rattlesnake Gap to the Hayfork Divide.

Fork: Develop access plans grasshopper flats and mine area, construct indirect lines from Weaver Bally to Monument Peak, and to Granite Peak. Use tactical firing to meet incident objectives.

Projected Incident Activity Continue to improve dozer line from the Eagle Fire; continue direct handline construction toward Rocky Point.
Remarks Highway 299 will continue to have one-way controlled traffic due to a damaged section of roadway. Wait times are estimated at up to 1/2 hour.

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 less than one mile separation between the Fork and the Helena Fire, These two fires are anticipated to merge.

Current Weather

Weather Concerns Rising Temperatures in the mid to upper 90’s and lower relative humidities for the next three days will continue to dry out 1hr. and 10 hr. fuels. Tuesday shows a slight chance of thunderstorms.