Little Valley evacuations lifted, dry conditions fueled fire
Tuesday, Aug. 5 — A fire line has been held on the Bald Fire and evacuations for Little Valley residents have been lifted.
According to Eric Ewing, office of emergency services chief, the lightning-caused fire started July 30 in Shasta County and then burned into Lassen County. It is just under 40,000 acres.
“It progressed rapidly toward the east and the northeast through that time period,” Ewing said.
He explained the progression of the wind is to blow northeast, which it did for one day but Ewing said the wind then blew south moving the fire closer to Little Valley. Evacuations remained in place through early afternoon Tuesday, Aug. 5 due to one unchecked piece that hadn’t been able to have a line hold on it.
The wind has been very minimal, but the fire self-propagates itself due to the dry conditions, according to Ewing.
“The reason it’s so large is the fuels are drought stressed, they are extremely dry. I can’t even describe what I’m seeing out there,” Ewing said. “But a simple pine tree, a 10 foot tall pine tree that torches out will cast a shower of sparks that will go a quarter mile … and they drop and they start new fires.”
Ewing, along with Lassen County Sheriff Dean Growdon declared a local state of emergency on Saturday, Aug. 2.
In a special Monday, Aug. 4 meeting, the Lassen County Board of Supervisors ratified the emergency proclamation, which must be done within seven days. A Federal Fire Management Assistance Grant, which Ewing said is very difficult to receive due to strict criteria, was approved on Aug. 2. It was also approved for both the Eiler and the Day fires.
The Eiler Fire burning four miles Southeast of Burney is approximately 28,600 acres. Estimated time of containment is Wednesday, Aug. 20.
Highway 89 remains closed from the junction of Highway 44 to Highway 299 in Shasta County.