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Chips Fire Information Center: Saturday Evening Fire Report


The Chips fire burning along Highway 70 in the Feather River Canyon

Saturday Evening Report on Conditions

Plumas and Lassen National Forests
Fire Update – August 11, 2012 8:00 PM
Chips Fire Information

  • Date started: July 29, 2012
  • Number of Personnel: 1,076
  • Location: 2 miles Northwest of Belden, CA
  • Crews: 16
  • Size: 30,010 acres
  • Engines: 87
  • Percent Contained: 8%
  • Dozers: 20
  • Estimated Containment Date: August 31, 2012
  • Water Tenders: 20
  • Cause: Under Investigation
  • Helicopters: 4 Type 1, 2 Type 2 and 2 Type 3
  • Cost to Date: $11,700,000
  • Air Tankers: Available if Needed
  • Structures Threatened: 600 Residence; 4 Commercial; 36 Outbuildings
  • Injuries to Date: 7

Today’s Update:

The extreme fire activity seen yesterday was followed by a day of moderated activity. There were some areas interior to the perimeter burning as some islands burned out, but the overall size of the fire increased very little. The spot fires across the North Fork of the Feather River, and Caribou Road onto Red Hill were worked by firefighters. There is still a short piece of line to construct in order to tie in with the existing containment line.

Fire crews worked on the primary containment line that stretches from Yellow Creek Campground to Butt Valley Reservoir, then from the Reservoir south to Highway 70. Fire crews and dozers made good progress in an effort to secure and improve these lines.

Firefighters also worked to improve primary containment lines on Humbug Road north of the fire. New contingency lines have been established along Highway 89 and north of Humbug Road.

PG&E transmission lines were not shut down today. 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 air tankers.

Fire Behavior and Smoke:

The northeast spread of the fire will continue toward Butt Valley Reservoir and Caribou Drainage. On the northwest and north flanks the fire will move toward Humbug Road through Little Grizzly Valley. On the west side, the fire will back down through the Soda and Chips Creek drainages. Downslope movement is expected to also occur into Murphy Creek on the south.

Smoke generated by this fire will continue to present problems for residents and firefighters throughout the fire area, and extending to the Sacramento Valley. This is due to down canyon winds.

Fire information officers held a public safety meeting for Chester residents

Public Safety:

There was limited traffic control today along Highway 70. Travelers should check Highway 70 conditions regularly (800-427-ROAD / Motorists should expect delays and need to anticipate firefighting personnel and apparatus on the road in the vicinity of the fire. 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 Local air quality conditions and forecasts are available at 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

Power Outages:

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

Evacuations and Closures:

Mandatory Evacuations – Rush Creek and the community of Seneca remain under a mandatory evacuation. The Caribou Road from the junction of Highway 70 to Butt Lake Dam is also under mandatory evacuation. Additional evacuations may be necessary depending on fire activity.

Sheriff’s voluntary evacuations are in place for an area south of Highway 89 that includes Butt Lake Area, Ohio Valley, the Humbug and Humboldt area, and Yellow Creek Area. 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. They will coordinate shelter arrangements through the Plumas County Office of Emergency Services.

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.

In the interest of firefighter and public safety, the Plumas and Lassen National Forests have expanded the original closure areas due to the fire’s growth. The closures will remain in place until the area is safe for the public to enter. Please see the Forest Orders and closure maps on InciWeb (address above). Pacific Crest Trail hikers may bypass the affected area by hiking Highway 70/89 or catching a bus with Plumas Transit to Chester, CA (weekdays only).

Motorists are encouraged to use caution on Highway 70 and Highway 89 due to fire activity and increased fire traffic.

The Saturday Afternoon Chips Fire Boundary Map - Click on the map for a bigger image


Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso Publisher/Editor
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