Updating: Fires Prompt Evacuations In Butte, Yuba Counties

Oct 11, 2017

Updated 10/11/17 at 9:39 a.m.

A state of emergency has been declared in eight counties in California where wildfires have claimed the life of at least 17 people, including one person in Yuba County who was trying to evacuate from the Cascade Fire, according to Yuba County spokesperson Russ Brown.

Calmer winds and lower temperatures have helped firefighters battle the many active wildfires raging across California, but conditions are expected to worsen significantly.

Red Flag Warnings will go into effect Wednesday afternoon from Shasta County clear down to Merced County. Strong wind gusts are expected to fan flames. Cal Fire said Tuesday they were prioritizing building containment lines along the south ends of fires in anticipation of Wednesday’s north winds that are expected to push fire in a southerly direction.

The Wind Complex (Cascade, LaPorte, Lobo and McCourtney Fires):

According to a release from Cal Fire, the Wind Complex has destroyed at least 245 structures. The latest numbers on acreage burned and containment were released at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday by Cal Fire’s Nevada, Yuba, Placer Unit.

  • Cascade Fire: 12,349 acres and 20 percent contained; located north of Collins Lake
  • LaPorte Fire: 3,700 acres and 15 percent contained; located near Bangor
  • Lobo Fire: 857 acres and 30 percent contained; located near Rough and Ready
  • McCourtney Fire: 76 acres and 65 percent contained; located near Grass Valley

The evacuation center at the Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds remains open for evacuees of these fires. Many evacuation orders and road closures remain in place, according to Cal Fire’s website.

View a livestream of a community meeting held today by the Yuba County Office of Emergency Services below.

Honey Fire

The Honey Fire, near Paradise, remains 90 acres in size and is still 40 percent contained according to Cal Fire Butte County via Twitter Wednesday morning. Upper Honey Run Road remains closed. All evacuations for the Honey Fire have been downgraded to warnings.

Cherokee Fire

This morning Cal Fire Butte County tweeted that the acreage scorched by the Cherokee Fire, in the vicinity of Table Mountain, was increased due to updated mapping. The Cherokee Fire is 8,300 acres and is 45 percent contained. All remaining evacuation warnings were lifted Wednesday morning.  

Yesterday's story below. Last updated 10/10/17 at 3:54 p.m.

A state of emergency has been declared in eight counties in California where wildfires have claimed the life of at least 15 people.

A handful of these fires are in the North State, where fire officials have placed several fires in Yuba, Butte and Nevada counties under unified command.

Red flag warnings that were issued across the state are said to expire soon according to a live briefing with the Office of Emergency Services, but more may be issued tomorrow as winds are forecast to pick up and humidity is expected to drop. Cal Fire says they’re prioritizing building containment lines along the south ends of fires as north winds are expected to increase and push fire in a southerly direction tomorrow.

The LaPorte Fire near Bangor and Loma Rica and the Cascade Fire in Yuba County merged earlier this morning according to Cal Fire. They’re now being referred to as the Wind Complex, along with two smaller fires in Nevada County. Cal Fire said in a release that the Wind Complex of fires has destroyed 245 structures with multiple structures still being threatened.

View a livestream of a community meeting held today by the Yuba County Office of Emergency Services below.

Cascade Fire

Firefighters made some headway in Yuba County. The 11,500-acre Cascade Fire burning in the vicinity of Browns Valley is now 15 percent contained.

Around 6,000 people have been alerted to evacuate (either warning or order).

There are no new evacuation orders or road closures in Yuba County. See the list of existing evacuations on the Yuba County emergency preparedness website.

As of yesterday, 60 structures are estimated to be destroyed by the Cascade Fire. Officials are not sure how many are homes and expect that number will change once it is safe to assess the damage.

There are about 273 people at the Red Cross shelter in Yuba, which is a quarter of their full capacity.

LaPorte Fire

Early this morning part of the 3,500-acre LaPorte Fire burned into Yuba County, southeast and east of Bangor. Officials do not know how many acres the LaPorte Fire has burned in Yuba yet. The fire is 10 percent contained. 

According to a 3:30 p.m. Cal Fire press release, the evacuation orders for the following regions west of Bangor have been reduced to warnings:

  • Oro Bangor Highway from Miners Ranch Road to Avacado Road
  • Dunstone Road to LaPorte Road
  • LaPorte Road west of Pleasant Grove Lane

The following evacuation orders remain in place:

  • LaPorte Road from Pleasant Grove Lane to Darby Road, and all areas of Los Verjeles Road
  • Oro Bangor Highway from Avacado Road to the Bangor 4 Corners

Road closure in effect are as follows:

  • Oro Bangor Highway and Avacado Road
  • Teddy Lane and Bangor Park Drive
  • LaPorte Road and Darby Lane
  • LaPorte Road and Pleasant Grove Lane

Honey Fire

Danger to the town of Paradise is receding. According to Cal Fire-Butte County on Twitter, forward progress has been stopped on the Honey Fire which began Monday afternoon in Butte Creek Canyon near Honey Run Road and Merlin Lane.

At last report, the fire was 90 acres and 30 percent contained.

An evacuation order remains in place for Zone 9 and Upper Honey Run Road. An evacuation warning is in place for Lower Skyway. All other evacuation warnings and orders have been lifted.

The evacuation center at the Neighborhood Church in Chico for the Honey Fire has been closed. According to the Town of Paradise Facebook page southbound Skyway is still closed and will remain closed until later tonight. 

Cherokee Fire

The Cherokee Fire, burning on and in the vicinity of Table Mountain, northeast of Oroville, is 7,500 acres in size and 40 percent contained.

According to the Butte County Sheriff on Twitter, all evacuation orders on the Cherokee Fire have been reduced to evacuation warnings and all evacuation warnings have been lifted. That means only one evacuation warning is in place for the Cherokee Fire. It’s on the west side of Cherokee Road from Derrick Road to Red Tape Road.

According to the Butte County Sheriff’s Facebook page, Cherokee Road remains closed from Schirmer Road to the Wildlife Viewing Area.

Original story, last updated 10/9/17 at 6:13 p.m.

Wind-whipped sparks have been fanned into several major wildfires across Northern California over the last 18 hours. Shortly before five this afternoon, Governor Jerry Brown extended a State of Emergency declaration to include Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Nevada and Orange Counties. Declarations for Napa, Sonoma and Yuba Counties were issued earlier today. 

In the North State, three major fires continue burning, along with several smaller blazes. While information officers are now discussing the LaPorte and Cascade fires as distinct events along county lines, they say it’s possible the that the two could merge. 

We will continue to update this post as we get additional information.

LaPorte Fire (Butte County)

The LaPorte Fire burning near Bangor has reached at least 3,500 acres and prompted significant immediate evacuations according to Cal Fire Butte County’s Twitter page. It is 5 percent contained.

According to a spokesperson for Cal Fire’s public information line the following areas are under immediate evacuation order in Butte County: Los Verjeles Road to the county line; LaPorte Road to Darby Road; All of LaPorte Road and all roads off of LaPorte Road to Robinson Mill Road south to Dunstone Road; Oro Bangor Highway to Avocado Road, including Avocado Road; Foothill and Oro Bangor Highway back to Los Verjeles Road to the county line; and Dunstone from Foothill to LaPorte and all connecting roads.

Evacuation warnings are currently in place from Cox Lane to Highway 70 and everything south to the county line.

Cherokee Fire (Butte County)

Firefighters are also battling the Cherokee Fire that’s been burning near Oroville since 9:45 p.m. Sunday.

It has burned 7,500 acres and is 25 percent contained.

A Cal Fire public information line spokesperson in Butte County said for the Cherokee Fire immediate evacuations were in place for the following areas: Table Mountain Boulevard from Cottonwood Road to Highway 70; Coal Canyon Road and all connecting roads; The west side of Cherokee Road from Red Tape Road to Derrick Road; and all of Table Ranch.

Evacuation warnings are in place for the east side of Cherokee Road from Red Tape Road to Derrick Road. Warnings that were in place for Nelson Avenue from the Forebay Bridge to Wilbur Road have been lifted according to the Butte County Sheriff via Twitter.

Cal Fire Butte County is reporting via Twitter that an evacuation center has been opened at the Church of the Nazarene on Monte Vista Avenue in Oroville. A large animal shelter has been opened at Camelot Equestrian Park on Clark Road.

Public Information Officer Mary Ann Aldrich said firefighters are at the scene in large numbers as officials continue to marshal resources for both fires. It is a challenge as dry winds have sparked a number of major fires across California, including two major fires in Napa and one in Mendocino County, she said.

“I couldn’t even estimate this morning how many we firefighters we have, I know that there are hundreds of firefighters and you’re correct in saying that there are multiple fires throughout the state that are going to be competing for these resources we feel confident that we can make strides with the equipment that we have,” Aldrich said.

Cascade Fire (Yuba County)

Meanwhile, a fire burning in Yuba County has burned 7,200 acres and is 5 percent contained, according to the latest from Cal Fire on Twitter. It broke out sometime around 11 p.m. Sunday and has prompted evacuation orders.

Some evacuation orders have been lifted in Yuba County after a successful series of air drops. They are: Neptune Road, Skyview Court, Skyglen Drive, Willow Glen Road, Begonia Way, Sunnyside Lane, and Leafwood Road. 

All other evacuation orders remain in place.

An evacuation center has been opened at the Yuba-Sutter fairgrounds in Yuba City. You can reach the Yuba-Sutter Red Cross chapter at 673- 1460. Large animals can be housed there. 

Virtually all of inland Northern California remains under a red flag fire warning through this afternoon.

Officials tracking air quality are warning that excessive particulates downwind of these three major fires is creating local conditions that are unhealthy for sensitive groups — meaning those with respiratory ailments. Officials warn that parts of Oroville, Bangor and Honcut are currently being affected, though heavy smoke may spread elsewhere as the day proceeds. 

Additionally, PG&E said in a statement that 2,700 households in Butte and Yuba Counties are without power at this time due to a number of circumstances. Fire and wind have damaged some power lines locally, but electricity service has been shut down in some areas as a precaution. 

Cal Fire says it may take 12 to 24 hours to assess damage caused by wildfire.

Shortly before 5 p.m., Governor Jerry Brown extended a State of Emergency declaration to include Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Nevada and Orange Counties. Declarations for Napa, Sonoma and Yuba Counties were issued earlier today.