Multiple Fires Surge Across Northern California
Six separate fires continue to scorch large areas across Northern California as of this MODIS image taken on August 16, 2012.
A lightning storm that moved through the Northern California and Southern Oregon area on August 5th, 2012, started mutiple fires on the Klamath National Forest and the Rogue River National Forest. Firefighters from both forests quickly contained many of the fires over several days. However three of the fires that were in steep and rugged terrain continued to grow. Those fires have morphed into the still burning Fort Complex Fire. This fire is currently 35% contained and is affecting over 4,100 acres. Full containment date is now projected to be August 30, 2012.
The Barry Point Fire that is straddling the Oregon-California state line has made its move deeper into California over the last few days. Over 1300 firefighters and other personnel are currently working to contain this fire. It is currently 30% contained and has affected over 79,000 acres in the two states. Progress is being made with line construction and firing operations on the NE corner, SW corner and western perimeter. Projected full containment date for this fire is August 25, 2012.
The Chips Fire in California has been burning since the end of July. It is currently 20% contained and has affected over 43,000 acres. The cause of this fire is under investigation at this point. A monsoonal weather pattern is forecast for this afternoon and evening (August 17), increasing the potential for afternoon and overnight thunderstorms. Developed storms may produce brief heavy rain, gusty and erratic wind, and lightning which increase the likelihood of significant fire activity. Currently, 900 residences, 4 commercial, and 36 outbuildings are being threatened by this fire. The projected date for full containment is August 31, 2012.
The Reading Fire, north of the Chips Fire, began July 23 with a lightning strike. To date, over 25,000 acres have been affected. Firefighting efforts continue to be focused on protecting structures and controlling the growth of the fire. Containment lines continue to be completed around the fire, with increased progress being made keeping the perimeter as small as possible. There has been no increase in growth on the north side or west side of the fire, and crews continue to ensure containment by mopping up and extinguishing hot spots in those areas. The Reading Fire is 28% contained and the full containment projection date is August 21, 2012.
The Mill Fire started on August 13, 2012, is currently burning over 1,250 acres. It is 20% contained. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Crews continue to work around the clock to build and reinforce containment lines. The rugged terrain and remote area continues to hamper firefighting efforts. The fire is burning actively to the northeast.
The Rush Fire which straddles the California-Nevada state line started August 12 with a lightning strike. The fire is located on Bureau of Land Management, Northern California District, Eagle Lake Field Office, approximately 15 miles southeast of Ravendale, California. The fire is burning near a major natural gas line and transfer station, and power transmission lines that supply the Reno area and continues to spread rapidly to the northeast and southeast. It is 30% contained and has burned over 204,000 acres. Possible thunderstorm activity is in the forecast for the next two-three days. This fire has showed significant growth from thunder cell downdrafts on several occasions.
The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image. Red outlines indicate hot spots where MODIS detected unusually warm surface temperatures associated with fires.
NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC. Caption by Lynn Jenner. with information from inciweb.org and http://www.fire.ca.gov/