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Northern California Wildfire Update

Kerry Greene
US Forest Service

  UPDATE | Friday 09-19  3:30 p.m.

Nearly 6,000 firefighters are battling 12 major fires that are burning nearly 250,000 acres across the state of California, with the lion's share of resources focusing on Siskiyou County. More than 180,000 acres are burning in the Klamath National Forest, including the 130,139 acre Happy Camp Complex fire, which recently merged with the July Complex's Man Fire.

These fires are in addition to the 479 acre Boles Fire that burned close to 150 homes in the city of Weed Monday afternoon, and fires in Butte, Shasta, Mendocino and Humboldt counties.

Several of the fires have burned rural homes and resulted in mandatory evacuations, although most orders have now been lifted.

The newest fire started Thursday in Butte County. The Nelson Fire, burning on the Ilano Seco Refuge, charred about 400 acres. Firefighters were able to control the fire within a fire within a few hours. No structures were threatened in the grass fire, which was 80% contained Friday morning.

Four structures were destroyed in Shasta County's Gulch Fire, caused by a vehicle near the the community of Bella Vista. Several homes were burned in Mendocino County's Black Fire, and fire engine was destroyed by a burnover Sunday evening

More details below:

Siskiyou County -- Boles Fire

  • Location: Boles Creek, Weed
  • Cause: Under investigation; 3 injuries reported
  • Credit courtesy of Cal Fire
    A firefighter inspects a fire engine damaged by a burnover Sunday in Mendocino County's Black Fire.

    Size: 479 acres, 150+ structures burned;

  • Evacuation orders: Angel Valley and portions of Weed remain under evacuation
  • Evacuation Centers: Mt Shasta National Guard Armory, Mt Shasta

Siskiyou County -- Happy Camp Complex

The Happy Camp Complex is burning just north of the July Complex along the Klamath and Scott Rivers in the Klamath National Forest. It's the largest fire burning in the region, which has now merged with the July Complex Fire.

  • Location: Near Happy Camp, California
  • Cause: Lightning
  • Size: 130,139 acres burned 
  • Containment: 72%
  • Evacuations: All mandatory evacuations, advisories and road closures were lifted Wednesday morning.

Siskiyou County -- July Complex

The July Complex consists of several fires that have burned a total of just over 37,400 acres, including the Whites Fire in the Marble Mountain Wilderness. The Man Fire, which was previously a part of the July Complex, has now merged with the southern end of the Happy Camp Complex Fire.

  • Whites Fire
  • Location: 4 miles east of Sawyers Bar 
  • Cause: Lightning
  • 33,763 acres burned 
  • 98% contained 

Shasta County -- Gulch Fire 

  • Location: 15 miles northeast of Redding
  • Cause: vehicle fire
  • 1,375 acres 
  • 100% contained
  • Damage: 4 structures destroyed, 4 injuries

Mendocino County -- Black Fire

  • Location: Black Bart Trail, North of Lake Mendocino 
  • 403 acres
  • 100% contained
  • Damage: 5 residences & 6 outbuildings burned, 3 injuries 

Butte County -- Nelson Fire

  • Location: Grass fire 10 miles west of Durham
  • 400 acres 
  • 80% contained

Humboldt County -- Bald Hill 3 Fire

  • Location: 1 mile northwest of Hoopa on the 6 Rivers National Forest
  • 210 acres 
  • 100% contained
Valerie Ing was a teenager when she hosted her first music program on the airwaves. As a student at SOU, she was JPR’s Chief Student Announcer and the first volunteer in our newsroom. She's now JPR’s Northern California Program Coordinator, hosting Siskiyou Music Hall from JPR's Redding studio in the Cascade Theatre.