Conditions

A bicyclist makes his way recently down the Sutter Commuter Bikeway in Yuba City. Smoke from area wildfires has been coming and going over the last few weeks. Air quality was listed as unhealthy for sensitive groups Monday.

The west zone of the North Complex Fire continues to burn down near the south fork of the Feather River and south toward Forbestown Reservoir Road, threatening the communities of Forbestown, Clipper Mills, Woodleaf, and Strawberry Valley in Yuba County.

“The fire continues to move down the canyon and is within about (a) half mile from our border,” according to Yuba County Sheriff’s Department personnel. “At this point, it is not so much about stopping the fire, as it is about steering it and trying to keep it contained on the north side of the river and out of our populated communities.”

While the fire had not yet entered Yuba County, Cal Fire reported Monday morning that the west zone of the blaze had burned 80,500 acres and was 56 percent contained. 

On Saturday morning, Cal Fire reported that, overnight, a portion of the fire jumped containment lines in this area, crossing the canyon of the south fork of the Feather River toward Forbestown.

“Cal Fire advises that this part of the west zone is their primary focus and they are dedicating the majority of their resources to keeping this fire out of our La Porte Road corridor communities,” according to the Yuba County Sheriff’s Department. 

Cal Fire reported Monday that crews are actively constructing direct and indirect control lines in this area to keep the fire from moving into Forbestown, Woodleaf, Clipper Mills and Strawberry Valley.

Cal Fire attempted to use air resources on Sunday to further containment efforts but had to ground them in the afternoon due to smoky conditions, according to the Yuba County Sheriff’s Department. 

Cal Fire reported on Monday that smoke continues to be present across the area and that, with the addition of nightly down-canyon winds, impacts operational factors.

“They get some clearing in the evening and are able to get some help from the air, but this shortens their flight window due to limited hours of daylight as nightfall approaches,” according to Yuba County Sheriff’s Department personnel. 

The entire North Complex Fire has burned 294,301 acres as of Monday and was 64 percent contained. To date, 15 fatalities have been reported, 10,000 structures have been threatened, 1,784 structures have been destroyed and 103 structures have been damaged. 

 

Evacuations

Evacuations north and east of where New York House Road meets La Porte Road remain in place and residents should expect those restrictions to stay in place for at least the next couple of days, according to Yuba County officials. 

As of Monday morning, communities that remain under evacuation orders include Challenge, Woodleaf, Clipper Mills, Strawberry Valley and Forbestown. 

La Porte Road to the west of New York House Road has reopened but New York Flat Road and Challenge Cutoff Road remain closed.

The Brownsville area remains under an evacuation advisory and should continue to be prepared to evacuate again if necessary.

Yuba County Sheriff’s Department personnel said Monday that changes to the evacuation zones were not likely on Tuesday and “will not be on the table for the next few days.“

“So long as the fire is active and threatens to crest the canyon on our side, the orders in place will remain,” Yuba County Sheriff’s Department personnel said in a statement.  

According to Yuba County Sheriff’s Department personnel, neighboring communities should be prepared to re-evacuate should the fire reach Forbestown.

The sheriff’s department asked Cal Fire during a Monday briefing if it would be possible to lift portions of the evacuation order for upper La Porte Road communities since lines at that northern end seem more stable than those near Forbestown.

“We were advised that if the fire moved into Forbestown and Challenge, it could block evacuation routes for the upper residents, trapping them from escaping the fire should that occur,” said Yuba County Sheriff’s Department personnel. “We just cannot take the risk of our residents being boxed in. This fire, although slow moving, remains a very real threat.”

 

Air Quality

On Monday, air quality in the Yuba-Sutter area was listed as unhealthy for sensitive groups, according to airnow.com. 

These smoky conditions have limited Cal Fire’s ability to utilize air operations at this time. 

 

Resources

– Anthem Blue Cross is now offering those who were evacuated round-the-clock, no-cost online access to doctors. 

“This will be especially helpful to those who may be running out of medication or left their medication in the evacuated area,” it was stated on the Yuba County website. 

For more information, call 1-888-LiveHealth or visit https://www.yuba.org/Yuba%20County/Emergency%20Services/LiveHealth.pdf.

– Evacuees in need of shelter or meals are advised to contact the American Red Cross at 276-8034 or Yuba County Office of Emergency Services at 749-7700.

 

Tahoe National Forest Reopens

The Tahoe National Forest reopened on Saturday after nearly two weeks of emergency closures due to wildfire risks. 

Along with the general opening, new orders will strictly prohibit camping in areas other than developed campgrounds open for public use within the Granite Chief Wilderness and within 500 feet of the Pacific Crest Trail. Discharging a firearm is also strictly prohibited, except while engaged in a lawful hunt pursuant to state and federal law and regulations.

A limited number of campgrounds will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis, including Cottonwood, Giant Gap, Whitecloud, Cold Creek, Schoolhouse, Granite Flat, Indian Valley, Prosser and Silver. 

For more information, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/tahoe/.

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