Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Sunday, Aug. 20 @ 11:52 a.m.
Smith River Complex Update: Fuels Management, Firefighter Efforts Save Camp Six Repeaters; French Hill Residents Ordered to Evacuate
From the Six Rivers National Forest:
Gasquet, Calif., August 20, 2023— The Del Norte County Sheriff’s Department, in collaboration with the County Office of Emergency Services and California Interagency Incident Management Team 15, have raised the evacuation level along along all of French Hill Road to evacuation level 3 due to a combination of extreme fire and weather behavior.
Afternoon thunderstorms in the area caused gusty and erratic winds over portions of the Smith Rivers Complex. The southern end of the Kelly fire became aligned and made an uphill run to the Camp Six Lookout off the French Hill Road. Proactive fuels management around the communication towers and firefighter efforts allowed the critical infrastructure to be successfully defended.
Smoke will continue to influence the weather today and will likely keep conditions cooler and moister than yesterday. Winds are expected to be calm throughout the day. However, the forecast calls for dryer conditions overnight with wind gusts of up to 30 mph expected in the thermal belt above 2000 feet. These adverse overnight conditions will prolong the burn period, keeping active burning late into the night.
The Holiday fire and the northern portion of the Kelly fire are closing the gap between each along the road 316 corridor. The east side of the Kelly fire will continue to back down Monkey Ridge towards Highway 199, north of the Idlewild Cal Trans station. Additional resources continue to arrive at the incident and get incorporated into the suppression efforts. There are currently 218 total resources and personnel on scene.
Evacuation orders have been placed by the Del Norte County Sheriff's Office, if you are in the area please sign up for theirCommunity Alert Systemto receive emergency notifications. Evacuation levels as of 11:00 am, today August 20 are as follows:
Level 3 “Go Now”: Patrick Creek, Little Jones Creek, Copper Creek Drainage, Coon Creek/ 16n19 17n07, Washington Flat, Pioneer Road, Panther Flat Campground Area, all communities between Pioneer Road and the Oregon Border along Highway 199, and French Hill Road.
Level 2 “Be Set”: High Divide, Rowdy Creek, Gasquet from Pioneer Road to Slant Bridge
Level 1 “Be Ready”: Big Flat/Rock Creek, Low Divide, Hiouchi from Slant Bridge to the east end of North Bank Road
County Roads 316, Shelly Creek, 315 Holiday Mine, 311 Old Gasquet Toll Road, 305 Weimer Road
Forest Service Roads 16N19 and 17N07
U.S. Highway 199 is fully closed in Del Norte County from Pioneer Road to Oregon Mountain Road (PM 16 to 31) due to the fires. The road is expected to be closed through the night, and there is no estimated time of reopening. A hard closure is in place on U.S. 199 at the Agriculture Station near the Oregon border. For the latest road conditions please visit quickmap.dot.ca.gov
U.S. Forest Service campgrounds in the area are closed, this includes Patrick Creek, Grassy Flat, Panther Flat, and Big Flat Campgrounds.
The American Red Cross has opened a shelter at the Del Norte County Fairgrounds (421 US-101 N, Crescent City, CA 95531) for those who are impacted. Red Cross disaster workers are partnering with local officials to help ensure evacuees get the assistance they need and will be providing meals and snacks, access to comfort kits and other supplies.