Chips Fire Burning at More than 35,000 Acres; 940 Structures Threatened

By: Staff Email
By: Staff Email

Crews continuing to work throughout the day and night to lay down the Chips Fire two miles NW of Belden, Calif., that began July 29. More than 600 structures are threatened and the fire is 12 percent contained.

The Chips Fire produced "spot fires" up to one mile ahead of the fire line. This fire behavior has caused the necessary changes to the below listed Evacuation Area to help ensure the safety of the public and the fire personnel. This notice is an Advisory to all Canyon Dam, Big Meadows, Rocky Point Campground, Prattville, Almanor, West Almanor residents and visitors advising of the potential threat of the fire to the listed areas. Under this advisement residents are encouraged to begin preparation for potential evacuations, including family and pets.

Crews worked through the night to strengthen the containment line using both direct tactics near the edge of the fire, and indirect tactics in areas with steep terrain. The fire remained active and spread downslope to the west into the Yellow Creek drainage. It also moved to the western shore of Butt Valley Reservoir.

Crews conducted a burnout near Humbug Road to remove unburned fuels ahead of the active fire front, which should help prevent the fire from spreading further north. Crews also made progress securing containment lines on Red Hill. Fire activity was minimal along the western and southern flanks.

New contingency lines are being established along Highway 89 and north of Humbug Road. Crews may conduct additional burnouts along the northern flank between the active fire front and Humbug Road if conditions are favorable. Of the 90 engines assigned to this fire, a strike team of engines has arrived and another strike team is on the way to the fire. These strike teams will be strategically positioned in the threatened communities, specifically for structure protection.

The 940 structures that are considered threatened are in the following communities: Lake Almanor West, Almanor, Pratville, the Big Meadows subdivision, Canyondam, Belden, Rush Creek, and Seneca, and structures along Caribou Road. Please note, the increase in structures threatened is the result of better structure mapping not additional communities being threatened.

PG&E representatives are working closely with the fire management team, and are prepared to de-energize lines as needed for firefighting efforts, including the use of aircraft.

Fire Behavior and Smoke:
The fire is expected to back downslope to the western edge of Butt Valley Reservoir today. Spotting ahead of the fire may occur this afternoon. Smoke will remain in low lying areas this morning due to downcanyon winds. As temperatures increase, the smoke is expected to rise and produce a column. Southwest winds are expected to contribute to active fire spread this afternoon and push the smoke northeast of the fire area.

Public Safety:
Motorists are encouraged to use caution on roads within the vicinity of the fire, particularly on Highway 70 and Highway 89 due to increased fire traffic. Travelers should check highway conditions regularly at 800-427-ROAD or www.dot.ca.gov.

Smoke will continue to pose health concerns for the public. Residents are encouraged to visit the “Protect Yourself from Smoke” website for smoke protection information at http://www.cdc.gov/Features/Wildfires/. Local air quality conditions and forecasts are available at http://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.main.

For tips on how to prepare for a potential evacuation and what to do if you are evacuated, residents in and near evacuation areas are encouraged to visit the “Ready, Set, Go” website at http://www.inciweb.org/incident/article/3052/15480/.

Highway Closures:
-Caribou Road to Butt Lake Dam from Highway 70- "Hard Closure''
- Rush Creek Road from Highway 70 - "Hard Closure"
- All additional secondary roads North of Highway 70 between Rock Creek Dam and Twain from Highway 70- "Soft Closures"
- Seneca Road from Highway 89 - "Hard Closure''

- Butt Lake Dam, Ohio Valley Road, Butt Lake Road, Humbug/Humboldt Road and all additional secondary roads West of Highway 89 between Canyon Dam and the Humbug/Humboldt Road-fromHighway 89 - "Hard Closure"

Evacuations:
-Sheriff's Mandatory Evacuation- Caribou Road from Hwy 70 to the Butt Lake Dam
-Sheriff's Mandatory Evacuation- Rush Creek Road and Seneca Road
-Sheriff's Mandatory Evacuation- Butt Lake Area, Ohio Valley, Humbug and Humboldt Area, and Yellow Creek Area.
-Sheriff's Advisement- Hwy 70 from Tobin to Twain.

Sheriff’s voluntary evacuations are in place for an area south of Highway 89 that includes the Butt Lake Area, Ohio Valley, the Humbug and Humboldt area, and Yellow Creek. Residents between Tobin and Twain on Highway 70 are under a Sheriff’s advisement to begin developing evacuation plans. This area includes Belden, Maggie’s Trailer Park, and Little Haven. Should members of the public require shelter assistance, please call the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office at 530-283-6300.

Butt Valley Reservoir recreation facilities administered by PG&E (Ponderosa Flat Campground, Cool Springs Campground, Ray Adams Day Use Area and Boat Launch, as well as Yellow Creek Campground) are closed due to the fire. Gansner Bar, North Fork, and Queen Lily USFS campgrounds remain closed. The Little Grizzly dispersed camping area and High Lakes OHV area, are also closed.

Communities west of the fire area including Paradise, Jarbo Gap, and Concow are not threatened at this time.

To report and get updates on power outages please call PG&E’s 24-hour emergency and customer service line: 1-800-743-5002.

To register cell phones with the Plumas County Emergency Notification System visit http://countyofplumas.com/index.aspx?nid=2163.


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