What we know Tuesday about wildfires in the North State: 2 missing in North Complex Fire; now 782 structures destroyed

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No additional human remains were found Tuesday in connection to the still-burning North Complex Fire, leaving the death toll at 15. 

Two people are still unaccounted for, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said in a Tuesday night news conference, adding that his office has some leads. 

He also said officials have identified three more of the individuals killed in the fire who were found in Berry Creek and Feather Falls.

Cal Fire officials said the number of structures destroyed is 782, up from 706 Tuesday morning. That includes 489 homes. 

The West Zone of the North Complex is 77,329 acres and 29% contained. As a whole, the North Complex is 273,335 acres and 34% contained, down from 39% contained Tuesday morning. 

Rob Bravo, Cal Fire deputy operations section chief, said the communities of Brush Creek, Berry Creek and Feather Falls have seen “substantial” damage. 

Mary Sakuma, Butte County’s superintendent of schools, also confirmed during Cal Fire’s Monday evening briefing that Berry Creek Elementary was destroyed.

“Last Friday, with the support of the sheriff’s office, I was able to lead a small contingency out to Berry Creek Elementary,” Sakuma said. “As has been reported in the images seen across the globe, the school site is a total loss.”

According to Sakuma, the Feather Falls Elementary school site has also been destroyed.

Wildfire maps: Here are 7 online fire maps Californians can use to stay in-the-know

Meanwhile, after dealing with red flag weather Monday, firefighters were expected to get a break Tuesday as the winds were due to calm in Butte County’s West Zone of the North Complex.

“Despite red flag conditions, favorable winds allowed for a small firing operation earlier (Monday) at Four Trees to ensure the fire’s edge was kept in check, guiding it up to Oroville-Quincy Highway,” Cal Fire said in an incident report. “One 40-acre spot fire was caught on the north side of the highway by Frog Rock, but firefighters are confident they will contain it (Monday) tonight.”

National forest closures extended to Sept. 21

The U.S. Forest Service has extended the closure of all national forest lands in California through Sept. 21.

Due to the unprecedented number of fires and the limited resources to fight them, the Forest Service had temporarily closed all national forests in the state until Sept. 14 before extending the order Monday.

Businesses with valid Forest Service permits, including those on Lake Shasta, are exempt from the order.

Meanwhile, more than 16,600 firefighters were fighting 25 major wildfires in California as of Tuesday night, Cal Fire officials said.

Wildfires have burned over 3.2 million acres so far this year. Since Aug. 15, 25 people have died due to wildfires while 4,200 structures have been destroyed, fire officials said.

Slater/Devil Fires

  • Location: Siskiyou, Del Norte, Josephine (Oregon) counties
  • Size: 136,030 acres (Slater: 131,601, Devil: 4,429)
  • Containment: 10%
  • Notes: Mop-up continued in Happy Camp as residents were allowed back into many parts of town. Pacific Power was working on restoring power to Happy Camp. Drones were flying in the Indian Creek area to assess damage. Firelines were holding along Knopki Road near Gasquet in Del Norte County. Increased fire activity from the Devil Fire was anticipated around Seiad on Tuesday. Rising temperatures and low humidity Monday bumped the Slater Fire north toward the Illinois Valley on the Oregon side, east of Highway 199. No structures were lost in Monday’s flareup.
  • Cost: $3.3 million (as of Tuesday)
  • U.S. Forest Service officials have combined the Slater and Devil fires in the far northwestern part of the state into one fire.
  • Two fatalities have been reported.

Butte/Tehama/Glenn Complex

  • Location: Tehama, Glenn counties
  • Size: 19,609 acres 
  • Containment: 97%
  • Notes: 16 structures destroyed; the blaze includes multiple other smaller fires, according to state officials. Acreage was decreased because Elkhorn and Hopkins fires are no longer being counted in this complex.
  • Incident management page: https://bit.ly/2RiSgtV
  • Cost: $53.3 million (as of Tuesday)

News: All 18 California national forests to stay closed due to wildfire threat

North Complex

  • Location: Butte, Plumas counties
  • Size: 273,335 acres (as of  Tuesday)
  • Containment: 34%
  • Notes: 15 deaths, 10 have been identified and their families have been notified; evacuations in place; includes the Bear and Claremont fires, according to state officials
  • Incident management page: https://bit.ly/2RhRhKE
  • Cost: $52.1 million (as of Tuesday)

August Complex – North Zone

  • Tehama, Mendocino, Humboldt, Del Norte, Trinity counties
  • Size: 794,801 acres (as of Tuesday, all zones)
  • Containment: 30%
  • Notes: 1 death and 11 injuries; 35 structures destroyed; merged fires include Elkhorn, Hopkins, Willow, Doe and Vinegar
  • Incident management page: https://bit.ly/3meMIPB
  • Cost: $31 million (as of Tuesday)
  • Expected containment: Nov. 15, 2020

August Complex – West Zone

  • Mendocino, Humboldt, Del Norte, Trinity counties
  • Size: 55,010 acres (as of Tuesday)
  • Containment: 0%
  • Notes: Five main structures destroyed
  • Incident management page: https://bit.ly/2RrrgbS
  • Cost: $4 million (as of Tuesday)
  • Expected containment: Sept. 30, 2020

Red Salmon Complex

  • Location: Trinity and Humboldt counties, 14 miles northest of Willow Creek mainly in the Trinity Alps Wilderness Area
  • Size: 95,137 acres (as of Tuesday)
  • Containment: 18%
  • Notes: Started by lightning July 27 and is now burning in timber and threatening several communities.
  • Cost: $60.3 million (as of Tuesday)
  • Expected containment: Sept. 30, 2020

Shackleford Fire

  • Location: Siskiyou County, southwest of Quartz Valley Reservation
  • Size: 50 acres (as of Monday)
  • Containment: 30%
  • Incident management page: https://bit.ly/2ZrN8s7

Schoolhouse Fire

  • Location: Schoolhouse Gap and McAdams Creek roads, north of Fort Jones in Siskiyou County
  • Size: 45 acres (as of Monday)
  • Containment: 90%

News: Amid destruction, firefighter rescues ‘fire cat’ as it runs to him for safety

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