Updated 9/8 at 1:04 p.m.
Some residents evacuated due to the Helena fire in Trinity County began returning home to the Junction City area, after the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office lifted evacuation orders at noon.
Evacuation orders remain in place for homes along: Canyon Creek Road, Valdor Road, Powerhouse Road, Upper Road and Lower Road.
The Helena and nearby Fork fires have burnt 20,354 acres or close to 32 square miles. A total of 1,567 firefighters are on scene. The Helena Fire is considered 40 percent contained, the Fork fire, zero percent. The two blazes are separated by only half a mile and are expected to merge.
Officials estimate achieving full containment on Oct. 1.
The Forest Service said firefighters are focusing on containing residual hot spots near homes and other structures and completing containment lines near the community of Five Cent.
State Route 299 remains closed from Helena Bridge to Sky Ranch Road. A pilot car will escort traffic through the closure at 2 and 5:30 this afternoon and at 9:30 tonight, conditions permitting.
PG&E crews are replacing burnt and downed power poles in the area, a task expected to take two weeks.
Firefighters are concerned that expected afternoon and evening thunderstorms could spread the fire, either due to high, erratic winds or new lightning strikes.
The fire information number for the Helena Fire is: 628-0039.
Meanwhile, the Eclipse fire, mainly in Siskiyou County, has grown to 96,440 acres or more than 150 square miles. It is 25 percent contained. The fire is burning through brush and old growth forest. About a tenth of an inch of rain fell over the fire yesterday, slowing reducing the speed of its spread, but lightning sparked new fires in the vicinity as well.
Stay tuned as we continue to provide top-of-the hour updates on area wildfires. We will also break in with any critical new information.