Saturday, 18 May 2024

Redwood National and State Parks reports on status of wildfires

Firefighters on one of the wildland fires caused by lightning in Northern California. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

ORICK, Calif. — On the afternoon of Aug. 14, a thunderstorm rolled through Northern California that started numerous wildfires.

Quick responses from multiple agencies and partners were able to slow or stop many fires, but several have developed into large, uncontrolled wildfires.

Within the southern portion of Redwood National and State Parks three fires were detected, and the park responded with full suppression tactics.

Two of the fires, the Glen and the Devil, are both 100% contained and in patrol status.

The Glen fire smoldered in several redwood trees and was controlled primarily with an innovative sprinkler system, pioneered by local California Department of Parks and Recreation staff, installed over 100 feet up in the trees.

The third fire, named the Lost fire, burning in the Lost Man Creek watershed, is now over 700 acres and 0% contained.

A fast response from federal crews, Cal Fire and Green Diamond Resource Co. prevented the fire from burning into private timber lands. Additional crews have continued to arrive, with over 400 firefighters working to contain the spread of the fire to an area as small as possible.

A majority of the Lost fire is in second growth forest that was logged and replanted decades ago. However, the westernmost flank has reached old growth, where fire activity has diminished in the more humid environment.

All these fires are part of the Six Rivers Forest Lightning Complex and Redwood Lightning Complex that is being managed by California Incident Management Team 2.

More information and daily updates on the fires can be found here.

The same thunderstorm on Aug. 14 also started fires that are burning outside the north-eastern border of the park.

These fires are part of the Smith River Complex, and are being jointly managed by California Incident Management Teams 13 and 15. Information about this complex of fires can be found here.

While these fires are outside the boundary of Redwood National and State Parks, they have multiple impacts to park operations.

The primary access highway to the area, Highway 199, has been closed for several days and is not expected to reopen to normal conditions for many days to come.

The main electrical transmission lines to the area were also de-energized to prevent new fire starts and to protect responders working in the area.

This outage has caused the closure of the Hiouchi Visitor Center, Jedediah Smith Campground, and Mill Creek Campground.

Howland Hill Road has also been closed at the request of emergency responders to improve safety and travel routes for incident personnel.

“Our primary concern and focus on these incidents is the safety of firefighters and the public,” said Redwood National and State Park Superintendent Steve Mietz stated. “Multiple organizations are coming together to aggressively engage the fires in ways that ensure everyone can go home when the fires are out. I am proud of the collaborative spirit from our neighbors and partners who have come to help the park during this tough time. We are grateful for the support and understanding of park visitors at this challenging time.”

A full list of impacts and closures within the park can be found here.

\Additional updates are regularly posted on the Facebook pages for Redwood National and State Parks and the Six Rivers Forest.

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