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People ready for Hayfork to return to normal after evacuation warnings are lifted

This morning, evacuation warnings in the Hayfork area were downgraded. With the Monument Fire still burning, people in Hayfork are excited that things can return to normal soon.

Posted: Sep 16, 2021 10:20 PM
Updated: Sep 17, 2021 10:02 AM

HAYFORK, Calif. - Thursday morning, the Trinity County Sheriffs Office downgraded evacuation warnings in the Hayfork area.

After weeks of going through evacuation warnings and orders and back again, people in Hayfork are excited that things could return to normal soon. 

Joshua Zapien lives in Hayfork with his girlfriend. While this isn't her first time going through a close wildfire, Zapien is new to the area and has never experienced a fire so close.

Zapien took cues from his partner and is just glad he can take a deep breath now.

"I think once she started stressing, I was like, 'OK, time to stress,'" Zapien said. "It was a little scary, and it’s nice having a breath of fresh air even though I’m wearing a mask."

Coming from a big city, Zapien was surprised by how the community came together during the evacuation orders.

Now that those orders are gone, he's excited to see the community return to normal.

RELATED: Several evacuation warnings lifted for Monument Fire

"Just seeing the whole camaraderie, the whole community just love, it’s quite nice," Zapien said. "And seeing everyone just kind of get into this nice flow again is quite wonderful."

While blue skies are a welcome sight in Hayfork after weeks of smoke, they are also a sign of increased wind in the area.

At a community meeting at Hayfork Park, Public Information Officer Steve Kleist warned that there will be increased wind over the next few days, but it should be nothing to worry about.

"The kind of winds we have now, in terms of what our fire behavior analyst says is that they don’t pose an immediate threat," said Kleist.

One person told Action News Now that they are still being cautious with the upcoming wind, preparing for the worst but hoping the containment lines hold.

RELATED: Monument Fire half contained at nearly 216,000 acres

Kleist said that fire crews are very confident in their containment lines in the area.

A fire behavior analyst at the community meeting also noted that they expect rain between a tenth and half an inch at some point in the coming days.

At the same meeting, District Ranger with the South Fork Management Unit Chris Losi announced that parts of the Shasta Trinity National Forest will open this Saturday.

The areas that will be open for recreation include about one mile south of Indian Valley Rd. and all areas east of Highway 3 to Highway 36.

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The next in a series of storms is approaching northern California tonight, and we'll have more rainy weather in the valley overnight with mountain snow. Showers will still fall Wednesday, with many more rain chances ahead.
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