From Six Rivers National Forest
EUREKA, California, August 1, 2015 – Active lightning strikes over the last two days on the Six Rivers National Forest have resulted in multiple fires on all of the forest’s districts—from north to south, the Gasquet Ranger District/Smith River National Recreation Area, Orleans Ranger District, Lower Trinity Ranger District and the Mad River Ranger District.
Gasquet Ranger District: There are currently 5 fires, the largest of which is nearly 20 acres. One of the fires is threatening Bear Basin Butte Lookout and Pierson Cabin. One of the fires has been contained.
Orleans Ranger District: There are currently 3 fires, including one that is threating the Tom Taylor Cabin, in the Marble Mountain Wilderness. Acreage unavailable.
Lower Trinity Ranger District: The River Complex, burning north of Highway 299, is made up of 4 fires on the Six Rivers National Forest and 12 fires on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. These fires will be managed by a Type 1 Incident Management Team (IMT) that will be arriving in Willow Creek today. Estimated acreage between 2,000 and 8,000 acres. Most of the fires are burning within the Trinity Alps Wilderness.
Mad River Ranger District: The 19 original fires of the Mad River Complex have merged and become four main fires. These fires will be managed by a Type 2 IMT that is arriving today. Fires are threatening a wide area between Ruth Lake and the community of Dinsmore. The fires are on both sides of Ruth Lake and have burned into the Lassic Wilderness. The Gobbler and Pickett fires reported yesterday are part of the Mad River Complex. There is a 50-acre fire near the Mad River Ranger Station.
Expect delays and intermittent closures on Highway 36. There is a mandatory evacuation in effect from Hobart Creek to Old Ruth. The three Forest Service campgrounds at Ruth Lake have been closed. Recreational traffic is being discouraged in the Ruth Lake area.
According to Forest Supervisor Merv George Jr., “This is hitting close to home for all of us. The danger of being around wildfires and suppressing them is inherent—and it goes without saying that the safety of our forest communities and our firefighters is our number one priority.” He added, “We’ve got additional resources on the way and with reconnaissance flights conducted this morning, we’re getting a better idea of what we’re actually dealing with on the ground.”
Mike Minton, interagency fire management officer, added, “This is an unprecedented fire event that is happening on this forest, and forests throughout California. It’s eclipsing any fire event we’ve had before, even the 2008 fires.”
More lightning is predicted for the remainder of the weekend with little to no precipitation.