Six Rivers lightning fires spur evacuations near Willow Creek

By Ruth Schneider | (Eureka) Times-Standard

A dozen new fires started between Friday night and Saturday morning in the Six Rivers National Forest, the U.S. Forest Service reported Saturday.

The fires have spurred evacuations around Willow Creek. Around 150 people live in the areas where evacuations are ordered, according to Samantha Karges, a spokesperson for the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.

An evacuation center is set up at Trinity Valley Elementary School that is being run by the Red Cross, Karges said, noting last she heard there were four people utilizing the center.

“I know that the last time we did evacuations last year it wasn’t heavily utilized either, but that part of the community has a good support network to rely on and they don’t typically utilize shelters, but of course, there’s one established,” she said.

The evacuation center offers restrooms, overnight indoor sleeping arrangements, and food, Karges said, noting that the county is still working to establish a shelter for animals.

She added that she has heard from some residents who were hesitant to evacuate overnight.

“I got some questions (Friday) night from residents under evacuation orders who (say), ‘It looks like it’s getting better. Why am I being asked to evacuate?’ ” Karges said. “And it’s just because a lot of those fires are in very inaccessible areas. … They could burn through a gulch and make it to a home. So that’s why we’re asking people to leave those certain areas for a reason.”

According to the Six Rivers Facebook page, “Two (of the fires) are now out.”

“We have responded to all and have called in as much support as we can get,” the post adds.

Among that support is Cal Fire Humboldt-Del Norte Unit, which according to Cal Fire spokesman Jeremy Ward includes “support with equipment (and) personnel.”

Karges said that was critical to keeping the fires contained.

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“(Cal Fire’s assistance) going to be very helpful to have some more bodies on the ground,” Karges said. “A lot of these fires from what I’ve been told are in very steep terrain and dry conditions.”

She noted that the winter storms that knocked down hundreds of trees left the terrain more susceptible to wildfires.

“That’s another concern — all of the dead trees and things that fell from those storms,” Karges said. “It’s definitely complicating the issue.”

As of Saturday morning, all of the fires were approximately 200 acres or fewer.

The 10 fires

* Waterman Fire: The blaze around 75 acres. It is located northeast of Willow Creek on Waterman Ridge Road 7N02 Forest Route 4.

* Cedar Fire: It is around 80 acres in size. Hose was placed around the fire and multiple resources are on the scene including engines, a water tender, and a hot shot crew. Additional resources are en route. The Cedar Fire is located close to the Waterman Fire.

* Bremer Fire: It is 15 acres in size and has four engines and one hot shot crew on the scene. The fire is located northeast of Willow Creek on a ridgetop above the Bigfoot subdivision.

* Campbell Fire: The blaze …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News

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