Tom Stokely tgstoked at gmail.com
Wed Aug 1 08:10:51 PDT 2018

Lewiston evacuated as fire expands

Lewiston evacuated as fire expands
By AMY GITTELSOHN The Trinity Journal
The Carr fire that burned homes and took lives over the hill in Shasta
County now threatens Trinity.

Lewiston evacuated as fire expands
By AMY GITTELSOHN The Trinity Journal  1 hr ago

[image: Inline image]
Fire burns brush and trees alongside Highway 299 several miles east of
Buckhorn summit on Sunday.
Wayne R. Agner | The Trinity Journal
[image: Planning]
SPI Area Manager Tom Walz, right, and a fire official discuss contingencies
Sunday evening at Buckhorn summit.Sav
The Carr fire that burned homes and took lives over the hill in Shasta
County now threatens Trinity.
All of Lewiston remains evacuated after the western edge of the fire
expanded over the weekend. That edge remains very active, firefighters said.
As of Tuesday, the fire was reported to be 2-3 miles east of Lewiston,
depending on reference points used. Firefighters have been working to keep
the blaze on the other side of County Line Road, but it slopped over in
several areas Sunday night. Overall, the Carr fire was reported on Tuesday
to be at 110,000 acres and 27 percent contained.
Cal Fire Capt. Scott Kenney, information officer for the Carr fire,
described 100- to 200-foot flame lengths when the County Line Road breaches
“They’re pulling out everything they can to make their stop at that line,”
he said in a briefing to evacuated Lewiston residents.
Planes with retardant are being flown when smoke allows, he said, and
“bulldozers work 24 hours a day … Potentially making a freeway up there.”
The main priority is the western section of the fire that threatens
Trinity, he said, and as of Tuesday approximately 80 percent of the 3,600
personnel assigned the Carr fire were working that area. In addition to
those working at the fireline, he said structures in Lewiston are being
prepared with removal of brush and other flammable items.
Lewiston Fire Chief Mel Deardorff was part of a strike team that fought the
fire over the hill in French Gulch and the base of Buckhorn earlier on
during the fire. Now it’s his own town that’s threatened.
“They’ve had such issues with this fire,” Deardorff said, and part of what
triggered the Lewiston evacuation was concerns over exit routes.
“I think this fire has been like dealing with the devil,” Deardorff said.
“You just don’t know what’s going to happen next. It lays down, then it’s
Residents in general seemed to heed the evacuation order.
“A lot of people were really scared, genuinely scared,” he said.
A Trinity strike team composed of firefighters from Weaverville, Lewiston,
Junction City, Douglas City and Salyer was in the thick of things when the
Carr fire blew up in the Old Shasta area last Thursday around Iron Mountain
Road and Rock Creek.
At the Lewiston Fire Hall on Sunday, Weaverville Fire Chief Todd Corbett
described a tough battle as houses in Shasta caught fire from embers. Once
a house gets involved with flames you have to move on, he said.
“Go house to house and save one and watch one burn to the ground, save
another and the next one burns.”
The focus is now on the western edge of the fire moving toward and into
Trinity County which has been most active. Much fire equipment has been at
Buckhorn Summit where County Line Road can be accessed.
A group of soot-smeared Trinity Hotshots from Platina sat by the road using
the embankment as a backrest while taking a break on Sunday.
“It’s a rough fire,” one said. “We’re doing our best to get a grip on it.”
During a briefing at the evacuation center at THS Monday, firefighters were
asked if Trinity County is getting less resources than communities in
Shasta. And several asked about when they could go home.
“Yes, we’re getting fed,” one woman said. “We’re not in our own beds. We’re
older. We hurt.”
“There’s nothing we want to do more than get you back in your homes,”
Kenney said.
Trinity County Undersheriff Chris Compton said what he wants to see is the
black line on the maps between the fire and residents that represents
containment. Compton said he can’t “in good conscience” put people at risk.
In Trinity County, the Lewiston evacuation remains in effect. Evacuation
orders were lifted Monday afternoon for residences along Highway 299 from
Douglas City east to Poker Bar Road and Poker Bar Road northwest to Union
Hill Road. Highway 299 is closed to through traffic just west of Poker Bar
Applause broke out when a man raised his hand and thanked the firefighters
at one of the briefings.
The firefighting agencies are treating this area the same, Compton said. “I
have personally seen that … They don’t see the line,” he said, other than a
potential fire line. “They see a fire.”
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