CalFire reported Wednesday morning that a portion of the North Complex Fire burning just north of Yuba County jumped containment lines overnight and made an approximately 50-acre run towards the county line in the area west of Clipper Mills and Strawberry Valley, near Sly Creek.
“Due to the ongoing threat coming ever closer to our northern La Porte Road corridor, we anticipate the current evacuations and road closures in place will remain throughout today,” said Yuba County Sheriff’s Department personnel in a statement Wednesday morning.
Hours later, Yuba County officials said evacuation orders are anticipated to remain in place for “at least the next couple of days” and additional resources have been called in to battle the blaze.
The area north and east of Brownsville up to the county border remains under this evacuation order and includes the communities of Challenge, Forbestown, Woodleaf, Clipper Mills and Strawberry Valley.
Those foothill communities are being threatened by the West Zone of the complex, which has burned 77,479 acres and was 30 percent contained as of Wednesday morning, according to CalFire.
The evacuation orders still in effect include: Yuba Zone 1 (the area east of New York Road, south of the county line and west and north of LaPorte Road); Yuba Zone 2 (the area west of of Bullards Bar Lake, east of La Porte Road, south of the county line and north Bullards Bar Road and Fountainhouse Road); Yuba Zone 3C (the area north of Caroline Road, south of the county line, east of New York Flat Road and areas east of Forbestown Road); and Yuba Zone 7 (the area west of Bean Clipper Road and La Porte Road, south of the county line, east of the county line and north of Moran Road).
Yuba Zone 3A and 3B have been reduced to evacuation warnings and warnings are still in place for Yuba Zones 4, 5 and 6.
Yuba County Sheriff’s Office personnel said they are heavily patrolling the evacuated areas and, as of Wednesday, there have not been any looting crime reports in the areas that were evacuated since repopulation.
The Animal Care Services team also continues to care for the animals of evacuated residents that have requested assistance.
To date, there have been 15 fatalities in the North Complex Fire, 10 of which have been positively identified and next of kin notified, according to the Butte County Sheriff’s Office.
Hannah Chandler-Cooley, meteorologist for the National Weather Service-Sacramento office, said although a weather system moving in today (Thursday) is anticipated to bring strong gusty winds to the Valley, most of the activity will happen to the north of Yuba County.
According to Chandler-Cooley, winds in the Yuba-Sutter region are forecast to reach 20 to 25 miles per hour Thursday and into Friday, but the winds will be combined with cooler temperatures and rising humidity levels that decrease wildfire concerns.
“Although these stronger winds could aggravate wildfires burning in that area, this system is expected to bring moisture to the area which could be beneficial,” said Chandler-Cooley.
Chandler-Cooley said temperatures on Thursday are forecast to be in the low to mid-80s before dipping down into the upper 70s on Friday.
A smoke model shows the forecast strong westerly winds will start to push smoke out of the Yuba-Sutter area Thursday, said Chandler-Cooley, but continued smoky cloud cover will depend on how wildfires in the area act in the next few days.
Yuba County Victim Services staff will be at the Brownsville Substation daily until 3 p.m. to assist evacuees with basic questions and preliminary resources.
Those who cannot make it to the substation located at 16796 Willow Glen Road can call the Yuba County Victim Services hotline at 701-9955.
Several United States Post Offices across the state have been closed due to the threat of nearby wildfires. In Yuba County, closures include the Clipper Mills Post Office, the Challenge Post Office, the Forbestown Post Office. Strawberry Valley postal customers with the ZIP code 95981 are also affected.
As of Wednesday, Challenge and Strawberry Valley customers are advised to go to the Brownsville Post Office, 8975 Frenchtown Ext., to pick up their mail.
Customers of those Clipper Mills and Forbestown locations can pick up their mail from the Rackerby Post Office, 7417 La Porte Road.
Both locations are open for mail pick-up from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Proof of identification is required at the time of pick-up to receive mail and packages.