Chips Fire Burning More than 13,000 Acres; Produces 'Spot Fires'

By: Staff Email
By: Staff Email

PLUMAS COUNTY, CA - Growth of the Chips Fire is now up to 13,867 acres and was slowed Sunday night by increased humidity and calm winds. Crews were able to complete containment lines around two spot fires along the fire's northern flank and will work to improve containment lines along the entire north flank.

On the fire's east flank, crews began construction of containment lines around a spot fire that crossed the North Fork of the Feather River in the Red Hill area. Crews will work aggressively Monday to contain this spot fire with the assistance of helicopters and air tankers (when visibility allows).

Engine crews will continue to improve and hold containment lines along the Caribou Road and Highway 70 where the fire continues to back down slope. Crews are continuing to construct and improve containment lines on the fire's western flank.

Due to current weather conditions and fire behavior the following Road Closures, Evacuation Orders and Sheriff’s Advisement are in effect.

Highway Closures

-Highway 70 at Caribou Road “Hard Closure”- Hwy 70 to Butt Lake Dam

- Highway 70 at Rush Creek “Soft Closure" and all additional secondary roads North of Highway 70 between Rock Creek Dam and Twain.

-Highway 89 “Soft Closure”- Hwy 89 and Seneca Road to Butt Lake Dam, Ohio Valley Road Butt Lake Road, Humbug/Humbolt Road and all additional secondary roads South of Highway 89 between Canyon Dam and the Humbug/Humbolt Road

Evacuation Orders

-Sheriff’s Mandatory Evacuation- Hwy 70 at Caribou Road to the Butt Lake Dam

-Sheriff’s Voluntary Evacuation- Rush Creek Road, Butt Lake Area, Ohio Valley, Humbug and Humbolt Area, and Yellow Creek Area

-Sheriff’s Advisement- Hwy 70 from Tobin to Twain.
Crews continue battling the Chips fire in Plumas County now burning at more than 6,800 acres and threatening at least 25 homes.

The fire that began July 29, is at 0 percent containment and estimated containment is expected August 18. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

According to firefighters, the location of the fire 20 miles northwest of Quincy, Calif., provides extremely steep, rocky, and inaccessible terrain, making it difficult for fire crews to safely construct direct fire line. Ten miles of indirect hand line and seven miles of indirect dozer line have been completed. The objective is to suppress the fire. Crews are doing everything they can to safely suppress the fire as quickly and efficiently as possible. Crews are available to assist the Plumas and Lassen National Forests with initial attack for any new fire starts around the fire area. Tonight, firefighters will continue to patrol along Highway 70 and Caribou Road and provide structure protection for residences and businesses around and near Belden.

A Red Flag Warning has been issued for the area from 5pm Saturday to 5pm Sunday for thunderstorms and dry lightning. These thunderstorms are capable of producing new fire starts and gusty outflow winds of up to 50 mph. Weather will be much like previous days this week with hot and dry conditions expected over the fire.

The fire is expected to continue spreading northeast across ridge-lines between Indian and Yellow Creek. The spot fire continues to creep down to the southeast toward Caribou Road. It has grown to around 400 acres and is expected to merge with the main fire.

Butt Valley Reservoir recreation facilities (Ponderosa Flat Campground, Cool Springs Campground, Ray Adams Day Use and Boat Launch as well as Yellow Creek Campground) are closed due to the fire.

Evacuations for Maggie's Trailer Park has been lifted. Gansner Bar, North Fork, and Queen Lily USFS campgrounds and USFS road 27N76 remain closed. Community of Belden and Little Haven is on precautionary evacuation. Three mile long one lane traffic control along State Highway 70 remains in place due to fire spread toward highway. Portions of the Pacific Crest, Yellow Creek, Ben Lomond, and Indian Creek hiking trails remain closed.

A fire closure area has been established for both the Plumas and Lassen National Forests and will be in place until the area is safe.

Travelers should check Highway 70 conditions regularly (800-427-ROAD / Motorists need to anticipate firefighting personnel and apparatus on the road in the vicinity of the fire.

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