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Chips Fire Special Feature: Wednesday Morning Update and Photos

Jeremy Couso

Good morning everybody, here is your Wednesday morning update on the Chips fire, with photos from the scene of yesterday’s spot fire below the dam at Lake Almanor.

Melissa, Niki and I were on-scene as a spot fire broke out, with wind funneling the fire up the North Fork Feather River towards the spillway at Canyon Dam. This was one of several spot fires that occurred yesterday outside the fire perimeter, across Highway 89. All of the spot fires were quickly contained.

Looking across at Rocky Point from the Dam at Lake Almanor


Reconnaissance calls in the spot fire, dozers on the way


Forest Service dozer arrives within minutes as the smoke gets thicker


As the spot fire gets closer the Forest Service calls in air support.


It was an omninous view from the dam down the North Fork of the Feather River.


As the spot fires pop up this airship leaves Chester to join the fight.


Chips A.M. Fire Update for Wednesday

  • Size: 62,541 acres
  • Containment: 37%
  • Personnel: 1,174 (Crews: 14 Type 1, 5 Type 2; Helicopters: 5 Type 1, 2 Type 2, 2 Type 3; Engines: 106; Dozers: 18, Water Tenders: 25)
  • Management: California Interagency Incident Management Team 4

Fire Status: As expected, winds Tuesday became stronger, averaging twelve to thirteen miles per hour across the fire area, with 24 mile per hour gusts. This resulted in increased fire activity particularly to the east of Butt Valley Reservoir.

Crews and engines will continue to patrol the area, particularly the communities of Canyon Dam, the Big Meadows area, and Prattville, as well as throughout the Seneca area to watch for and extinguish additional spot fires.

Firing operations that were accomplished the past two nights contributed significantly to stopping the fire’s spread across Highway 89 and into the Canyon Dam area today. Removing ground fuels at night, under favorable conditions, provided for a reduction of fire behavior when winds materialized yesterday.

Today, winds are expected to minimize as a dry air mass moves into the area.

In the Red Hill area, the fire became active again today, limiting the extent of planned burnout activities. Minimal firing was conducted, however, in an effort to prevent the fire from moving towards the Red Hill Communications Site.

Along the west flank of the fire, hotshot crews continue to slowly and methodically build fire line directly along the fire’s edge, working from north to south towards the Chips Creek drainage.

A Wildland Fire Module, which is a specialized crew of ten people trained to work self-sufficiently in the back country for extended periods, was inserted into the south-west area of the fire yesterday.

This crew will camp near Morris Lake, and seek opportunities to construct fire line into the Chips Creek drainage working from south to north.

A second Wildland Fire Module is expected to arrive tomorrow, and will join the crew currently on-site. Also, infra-red mapping will be conducted tomorrow on this portion of the fire to pin-point hot spots for the crew to focus on extinguishing.

Evacuations and Closures: Per the Plumas County Sheriff’s Department, Mandatory Evacuations are in place for the communities of Prattville, Canyon Dam and the Big Meadows area. A Voluntary Evacuation is in place for Almanor. An Advisory is in effect to all West Almanor and East Shore residents (Hwy. 147) advising of the potential threat of the fire to the areas. An evacuation Center is located at the Chester Memorial Hall on Gay Street.

Community Meetings: A community meeting will be held Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m. at the Lake Almanor West Community Park, 177 Lake Almanor West Drive, Lake Almanor West, CA 96020.


Chips Fire, Plumas County

Map of the Chips fire - Sunday August 19th

Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso Publisher/Editor
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