Sep 17, 2020
Wildfire Threatens California’s Largest Cannabis Growing Region

A wildfire that began in mid-August now threatens California’s “Emerald Triangle” — an area known for cannabis cultivation, consisting of three counties: Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity. The August Fire Complex has burned through 839,175 acres and is 30% contained, as of Sept. 17.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) has confirmed four structures (residential, commercial and other) have been damaged and 18 structures (residential, commercial and other) have been destroyed.

As of Sept. 17, CAL FIRE reports:

August Complex-North Zone: Priorities remain on structure defense, indirect line construction (away from the fire’s edge), direct line construction and tactical firing operations (applying fire on the ground to remove vegetation and widen containment lines).

Structure defense continues in Ruth Valley and structure preparation is ongoing in the communities of Hettenshaw and Kettenpom Valleys, Forest Glen and Trinity Pines/Post Mountain. The public is reminded to stay aware of current fire conditions. Please follow all Evacuation Orders and Warnings when they are issued.

The fire spotted to the north of Rattlesnake Ridge and it is a priority to stop the progress north toward Forest Glen, and Trinity Pines/Post Mountain. Line construction continues from Ruth Valley west to the Middle Fork of the Eel River.

Firefighters continue to construct indirect line to Horse Ridge and direct line to the Middle Fork of the Eel River. Direct and indirect control lines from Ruth Lake Road to Mad River Ridge are also being worked on.

On the northeast perimeter (Shasta-Trinity National Forest), good progress has been made and crews continue to reinforce the containment line along the 35 Road using tactical firing operations. Established containment lines in this area are being actively monitored.

Smoke has been preventing the use of aircraft, however yesterday air operations were able to occur on the west side of the fire.

In the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness along Wrights Ridge, the August Complex North and South Zones continue to merge, therefore it is not safe to put firefighters in the area.

August Complex-South Zone: The South Zone of the August Complex continues to steadily spread toward the southwest while containment increases on the eastern side. Containment of the Complex remains at 30 percent.

Weeks of record temperatures and limited precipitation have expanded severe drought conditions across much of the area. Due to these conditions, growth is expected to continue on the August Complex even with the chance of rain in the forecast over the next few days. In the Yuki and Sanhedrin Wilderness areas, the fire will continue to move toward the Lake Pillsbury area, and to the west beyond the Impassable Rock area.

In the Lake Pillsbury area, crews and dozers connected fire line to previously constructed fire lines from the 2018 Ranch fire. Structure protection groups are committed to building fire lines and removing vegetation around private property and critical communications infrastructure. CAL FIRE personnel are assigned to assist with operations in the southwestern corner of the fire. If necessary, a tactical burnout around structures in the area may take place. This is done in order to prevent the main fire from spreading rapidly toward structures.

In the Elder Creek area, additional containment has been obtained as crews continue mop-up operations with a focus on having this area of the fire contained within a few more days. Vegetation interior to the perimeter of the fire and near the eastern edge of the fire continues to smolder and produce smoke. Control lines in the area of Salt Creek are holding well.

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