What we know Sunday about North State wildfires

David Benda and Damon Arthur Redding Record SearchlightPublished 6:09 PM EDT Sep 20, 2020Editor's note: We hav

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Firefighters continued to gain ground Sunday on several large fires by completing more containment line around five North State blazes that have burned nearly 1.4 million acres.

The North Zone Complex Fire on Sunday had consumed 291,200 acres that has burned from the shores of Oroville Lake to just outside Quincy, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The fire has also destroyed 1,561 structures and killed 15 people since it started Aug. 18. The cause of the fire was still under investigation.

The fire is considered the fifth-largest in state history and was 62% contained as of Sunday, Cal Fire said. The cost of the fire had reached $83.3 million Sunday.

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The biggest fire in California history has become the 836,871-acre August Complex, which is composed of several fires --  Elkhorn, Hopkins, Willow, Doe and Vinegar -- which all merged and were burning in Tehama, Trinity, Mendocino, Humboldt, Lake and Glenn counties.

Butte County Sheriff Kory L. Honea announced Friday that the last person reported missing from the North Complex has been found. There were no additional human remains discovered Friday, leaving the reported death toll at 15, he said.

Fourteen of the people who died in the fire have been identified, including the name of one person released Friday.

Honea said Larry Holder, 61, of Berry Creek told neighbors he would ride the fire out in a metal shed on his property. His remains were later found in the shed. 

Previously, authorities identified 13 others who died:

  • Suzan Zurz, 76, of Berry Creek
  • Mark Delagardie, 61, of Berry Creek
  • Kin Lee, 64, of Berry Creek  
  • Jacob Albright, 74, of Feather Falls
  • Randy Harrell, 67, of Feather Falls
  • Paul Winer, 68, of Berry Creek
  • John Butler, age 79 of Berry Creek
  • Sandra Butler, age 75 of Berry Creek
  • Jorge Hernandez-Juarez, age 26 of Berry Creek
  • Philip Rubel, age 68 of Berry Creek
  • Khawar Bhatti, age 58 of Berry Creek
  • Millicent Catarancuic, age 77 of Berry Creek
  • Josiah Williams, age 16 of Berry Creek

The North Complex is just one of many fires still burning around the state. 

Since January, more than 7,900 wildfires have burned over 3.5 million acres in California. Since Aug. 15, when fire activity increased statewide following a lightning storm that hit much of the state, there have been 26 fatalities and over 6,100 structures destroyed.

And fire season is far from over, according to Cal Fire. Some of the state's worst wildfires started in September and October, Cal Fire said.

And this week warm weather and breezy conditions are expected in Southern California.

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Here is a rundown of some of the other fires burning around the North State:

Slater/Devil Fires

  • Location: Siskiyou, Del Norte, Josephine (Oregon) counties
  • Size: 153,842 acres (146,698 Slater; 7,144 Devil)
  • Containment:18% (13% on Slater; 7% on Devil)
  • Notes: 2 deaths reported; Some evacuation orders have been lifted in Happy Camp. evacuation warnings are still in place for most of Happy Camp including Elk Creek Road, and for Seiad along Highway 96, as well as for Gasquet, Hiouchi, and Big Flat, according to InciWeb.
  • Cost: $12.1 million
  • U.S. Forest Service officials have combined the Slater and Devil fires in the far northwestern part of the state into one fire.
  • Incident management page: https://bit.ly/3koQAfg and https://bit.ly/2RxqSIN

Fox Fire

  • Location: Siskiyou County, Callahan area
  • Size: 1,937 acres
  • Containment: 17% (as of Friday night)
  • Notes: *Evacuations in place; "fire personnel will continue to construct and strengthen control lines to stop fire spread to the North towards the town of Callahan," per InciWeb
  • Cost: $800,000
  • Incident management page: inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7203/

August Complex 

  • Location: Tehama, Mendocino, Humboldt, Lake, Glenn, Trinity counties
  • Size: 836,871 acres (as of Saturday morning)
  • Containment: 34% 
  • Notes: 1 death and 11 injuries; largest fire in California history, third largest fire in U.S. history; 35 structures destroyed; merged fires include Elkhorn, Hopkins, Willow, Doe and Vinegar
  • Incident management page: https://bit.ly/3meMIPB and https://bit.ly/3hEFctz
  • Cost: $41.6 million
  • Expected containment: Nov. 15, 2020

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Red Salmon Complex

  • Location: Trinity and Humboldt counties, 14 miles northeast of Willow Creek mainly in the Trinity Alps Wilderness Area
  • Size: 102,426 
  • Containment: 20%
  • Notes: The evacuation order for Forks of Salmon has been reduced to an evacuation warning, according to the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office
  • Cost: $66.9 million 
  • Expected containment: Sept. 30, 2020

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