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Pack mules being used instead of helicopters on East Fire in Yolla Bolly Wilderness Area

Fire crews are using mule trains to fight the fire in the No Name drainage to reduce the use of helicopters in the Yolla Bolly Wilderness Area.

Posted: Jun 19, 2019 10:33 AM
Updated: Jul 1, 2019 5:35 PM

UPDATE 2:40 p.m. Monday, July 1, 2019 - The East Fire is currently 45 percent contained, and according to the Forest Service, may stay that way due to its position along a slope in steep, rugged and inaccessible terrain in Trinity County.

The fire continues to smolder deep in the No Name drainage. Firefighters will not be constructing containment lines in the drainage due to "unnecessary risk and exposure." Instead they are using a pack train of mules and a California Conservation Corps (CCC) crew to haul supplies and support the crews. This reduces the need for helicopter use in the Yolla Bolly Wilderness Area.

The portion of the fire that is contained is located along an area of the East Ridge on the northeast side of the confinement area.

50 personnel are assigned to the incident.

Incident Commander Terry Warlick says, "We greatly appreciate all of the support we have received during the management of the East and Haynes fires."


UPDATE 10:42 a.m. Thursday, June 27, 2019 - There was no new growth on the East Fire as of Thursday. 


UPDATE 10:15 a.m. Wednesday, June 26, 2019 - The East Fire is now 30% contained at 410 acres. 

Fire officials said they expect activity to be low due to a cool weather system in place over California. 


UPDATE 11:44 a.m. Monday, June 24, 2019 - The East Fire is 405 acres and is 20% contained. 

Forest service officials said fire activity has slowed, but it is spreading south toward the Middle Eel River. 

To the southeast, the Haynes Fire is 23 acres and is 100% contained. 

Both fires are 23 miles northeast of Covelo in Trinity County. 

For more information, CLICK HERE


UPDATE 10:08 a.m. Sunday, June 23, 2019 - The East Fire was mapped by infrared photography and has been determined to be 378 acres in size. It is still 5% contained.

The Hayes Fire is 99%contained at 23 acres.

Firefighting strategy continues to involve confinement of the East Fire in an area between East Ridge, Buck Ridge and Wrights Ridge to the south. Firefighters with the U.S. Forest Service have decided to extinguish any remaining smoldering vegetation near the containment line of the Hayes Fire.


UPDATE 9:29 a.m. Sunday, June 23, 2019 - The East Fire is 350 acres in size and is only five percent contained at this time.

The East Fire was reported by Anthony Peak Lookout June 17 at 4

;00 p.m. The lightning-caused fire is located approximately 43 miles west of Red Bluff, Calif. It is burning in the 2008 Yellow Fire within the Yolla Bolly Middle Eel Wilderness. Fire managers have developed a confinement strategy for managing the fire.

Incident Commander Terry Warlick says, “The Mendocino National Forest has guidance to permit lightning fires to play, as nearly as possible their natural and ecological role within the wilderness to reduce the unnatural accumulation of fuels as well as decrease exposure and risk to fire personnel. With firefighter and public safety at the forefront, we are managing this incident toward an outcome which will help improve forest health, protect wilderness characteristics and reduce the potential for a high severity wildfire in this area in the future.”


UPDATE 11:40 a.m. Saturday, June 22, 2019 - The East Fire was fairly active overnight Friday into Saturday morning as moderate north winds remained a part of the firefighting scenario.

The fire has grown to 325 acres and there is no containment yet.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, crews are working to guide the fire southward toward the Middle Fork Eel River inside a designated confinement area (between East Ridge, Buck Ridge and Wrights Ridge). The confinement area is approximately 1,000 acres in size.

Incident Commander Trainee Terry Nickerson said on Friday, "The fire is burning exactly as we want it to." Nickerson said they observed low to moderate activity which was helping reduce snags and debris in the wilderness in a natural way, providing a great opportunity to manage the incident, improve forest health, and reduce exposure and risk to fire personnel.

The Haynes Fire (located to the southeast) is 23 acres in size and is currently 90 percent contained. Some crews assigned to this are wrapping up and will be released soon for other assignments.

Both of these fires started June 17, 2019, in Trinity County approximately 23 miles northeast of Covelo. They are deep in the Yolla Bolly Wilderness 43 miles west of Red Bluff. They were started by lightning strikes.

145 personnel are working on these fires including smokejumpers, hotshot crews, wildland fire modules, and helicopters.

Wilderness hikers are asked to avoid travel near Buck Ridge and Wrights Ridge.


UPDATE 3 p.m. Friday, June 21, 2019 - The East Fire has grown to 200 acres with no containment. 

The Forest Service says the fire is spreading northwest and southeast. Currently, 80 crew members are working to contain the fire. 


UPDATE 10:23 a.m. Wednesday, June 19, 2019 - The East Fire has burned 125 acres and is 1% contained. 

There are currently 100 resources managing the fire, which broke out on Monday afternoon in the Mendocino National Forest, about 43 miles west of Red Bluff. 

CAL FIRE said there is also another fire burning southeast of the East Fire, which is called the Haynes Fire. Crews are working to put out the 10-acre fire. 


TRINITY COUNTY, Calif. - Fire crews are responding to the East Fire, which is burning in the Mendocino National Forest.

The fire was first reported by the Anthony Peak lookout around 4 p.m. on Monday. 

Forest officials said the fire, which is approximately 43 miles west of Red Bluff, was caused by lightning. The fire is currently 40 acres in size.

It is burning in the 2008 Yellow Fire scar within the Yolla Bolly Middle Eel Wilderness. 

For more details, CLICK HERE

Stay with Action News Now for the latest updates as they become available. 

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