Warnings of strong winds that could fan the wildfires on the West Coast have added urgency to firefighters’ efforts. The alerts stretch from southern Oregon to Northern California and last through Monday evening. Authorities say nearly all the dozens of people reported missing after a devastating blaze in southern Oregon have been accounted for, but the fires have killed 35 people from California to Washington state. The flames have turned homes into rubble, forced tens of thousands to flee and shrouded the region with smoke so thick that air quality was some of the worst in the world.
The monstrous Bear Fire has been renamed the North Complex West Zone. There have now been 14 civilian fatalities confirmed as vast areas are under evacuation orders in Plumas and Butte Counties. Seven people remain missing. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed in Berry Creek, Feather Falls and other communities in the path of the inferno. The North Complex also includes the Sheep Fire and the Claremont Fire. It has burned a combined 264,400 acres with overall containment of 38%.
The Slater Fire that started last Monday in the Klamath National Forest has been remapped and is not as large as previously reported. It’s now being managed along with the Devil’s Fire with a total size of 130,500 acres. It’s only 5% contained. All of Happy Camp and surrounding communities are evacuated. Hundreds of homes have been lost and at least 2 civilians have died. The Slater has also crossed into Oregon.
The Elkhorn Fire in the Tomhead Mountain area of Western Tehama County has merged with the Hopkins, Vinegar Peak and Willow Basin Fires and is now called the August Complex North Zone with an overall size of 255,300 acres and 29% containment. The complex has come into contact with the original August Lightning Fire Complex that started August 17th on the Mendocino National Forest. The fires now form one massive burn area encompassing 877,500 acres with an estimated overall containment of 28%.
The Red Salmon Complex in the Trinity Alps Wilderness about 14 miles northeast of Willow Creek has expanded to 91,700 acres and containment is reduced to 16%.