Big Northstate lightning fires are raging, as evidenced by smoke drifting into the Redding area. The governor has declared a state of emergency for Modoc County.
The various fires of the Modoc Lightning Complex are producing their own weather with pyro-cumulus formations from extreme fire behavior. The fires now total more than 80,000 acres. Overall containment is around 40%. The largest is the Steele Fire located north and east of Clear Lake Reservoir. Mandatory evacuations are in effect for the Rush Creek area. The Cove Fire northwest of Adin is threatening Highway 299.
A series of five fires about 7 miles southwest of Happy Camp have combined to become the Clear Fire, which has burned about 3,500 acres of steep heavily forested terrain, with just 15% containment.
A storm last Tuesday started eight fires in the Six Rivers National Forest 20 miles north of Orleans dubbed the Orleans Complex, which total about 1600 acres. All but one are in backcountry areas and are being monitored, but the Ukonom Fire continues to spread through very steep terrain with a lot of burning material rolling downhill.
The Island Fire 14 miles west of Etna is around 1350 acres and is mostly being allowed to run it’s course as it grows by 20 to 50 acres a day.
Traffic on highway 299 through Trinity County is experiencing some slight delays from a new fire that broke out Wednesday. The Sandy Fire is on a ridge north of the highway and west of Del Loma. A retardant line has been dropped around the perimeter. The fire is estimated at 30 acres.