Updates on fires have been posted below.
I drove North to Redding yesterday with my Mom, Stepdad and my brother. The sky was nasty looking because of the fire near Chico, we thought. But, as we drove up the highway, we saw another plume of smoke to the west of the highway. Chico is East of I5! Another fire in the mountains... We took care of our "business in Redding, had dinner and then headed back towards home after having been in Redding for 4 hours or so. The smoke on both sides of the highway was worse. The smoke over towards Chico was thick enough that we couldn't see the mountains at all in the East. The "new" smoke on the West side was thicker and it wasn't just one plume of smoke anymore. It was split into at least 3 columns of smoke!
I checked the CalFire incidents web page to see if they had any new information on the Chico fire and to see if there was anything about those other plumes of smoke off to the West. They had both, and they've named the "new" fire the "Whiskey Fire". So here's the updates on the fires:
Humbolt Fire: It's still going strong apparently. As of 7:30pm last night, the fire was only 20% contained and has burned about 23,000 acres. It's destroyed about 50 homes and damaged a dozen more. 5,600 more homes are still in danger. The town of Paradise has essentially been cut off from the outside world because of the fire and road closures. The fire is still endangering the city of Chico. The Chico news paper has put together a google map of the fire, view it here.
Whiskey Fire: This is the "new" one we saw from the highway yesterday. As of 6pm last night, the fire was 10% contained and had burned over 2,500 acres. No calls for evacuations yet, as the fire is burning in the Mendocino National Forest.
Electra Fire: When I was browsing through the active incidents on the Cal Fire incidents page, I found another "new fire". This one is over in Amador County... This one isn't big, but it's given the firefighters a different problem. All along the foothills over there are high voltage electrical lines. You know, those big towers with the power lines? Well, the fire has damaged some of the lines so power has been shut down for the majority of that county. I do not envy the folks living over there.. With this heat and no electricity, that means no relief from the heat.
Indians Fire: From what I can get out of the update sites for the forestry, the fire has changed directions and is no longer headed towards Fort Hunter Liggett. As of 8pm last night it is 36% contained and has charred almost 24,000 acres. It's also destroyed one home and it's threatening 660 more. They've also determined that the cause is "human, under investigation". So someone set it.. Whether intentionally or accidentally, we don't know yet.
Martin Fire: Firefighters seem to be fairly successful with this one. As of 7:25pm last night it was 65% contained and has burned less than 1,000 acres. They have lost 10 homes though, and more are still threatened.
At least the winds have calmed. No North winds yesterday and so far none today either. That should help the firefighters get a handle on all the blazes. There is a lot of smoke in the air as you can see from the photo above. I took it about 7am this morning, the sky is an ugly brownish color and the sun can barely shine through... I'm typing this at about 8am and the sun still isn't really shining..
On to other news; The local paper has an article about Rex Archer and the hearing that happened on Thursday. It was posted as "breaking news" last night, but the full article is in today's paper:
Archer ruling expected Wednesday
What it boils down to is that the judge will watch the recorded interviews with two alleged victims before ruling this coming Wednesday whether Earnest Rex Archer will be held to answer on seven child molestation charges. Archer was in court for the preliminary hearing Thursday morning.
I'll be watching the paper this coming week to see what the judge has to say after he's watched the interviews of the two girls.
Fire Updates @ 9:30am:
I just checked the CalFire website for the current incidents and it's reporting that the Electra Fire has been 100% contained. Great news!
The other fires still have a ways to go though. The Humbolt Fire is 35% contained, but they've lost more homes. The count is up to 66 homes lost now. The Whiskey Fire is 15% contained and has charred 3,477 acres as of 6:00am this morning. The Indians Fire is at 38% contained and almost 25,000 acres burned. The Martin Fire is 75% contained this morning and they are reporting that the cause is "human".
Hopefully the winds will stay away again today. It's still calm outside and that helps the firefighters. The sky is still pretty mucky looking, but the sun is managing to shine through it now.