The Bear Fire, which was initially a spot fire from the North Complex Fire that grew into Butte County on Tuesday, has been renamed the North Complex West Zone and continues to wreak havoc on communities just east of Oroville. The fire has already killed three people (with 13 more missing) and destroyed at least 2,000 structures, with 22,356 more structures threatened as more than 1,600 firefighters continue to battle the blaze. The fire now sits at 247,358 acres, now in the top 10 of largest wildfires in California’s recorded history.
The North Complex Fire has been burning in the Plumas National Forest for weeks, but intense winds on Monday and Tuesday created a fast-moving spot fire that grew at an unprecedented rate, destroying the town of Berry Creek on its way to Lake Oroville. Now, the winds are pushing the fire to the south, with a handful of mountain communities at risk.
Firefighters spent Tuesday morning conducting life-saving operations to evacuate the communities of Berry Creek and Feather Falls, with more than 100 people saved from the dangerous fire, some emerging with burn injuries. Firefighters were able to hold the fire from entering the main areas of Oroville, which has a population around 15,000 residents.
Lack of visibility continues to be a problem for fire officials, with smoky conditions limiting the air operations in the region. The smoke from the fire has choked nearby communities, with Sacramento and the Bay Area seeing unprecedented smoky and orange skies.
Here is a list of evacuations as of Thursday morning:
- La Porte
- Little Grass Valley Reservoirs (including residents, campgrounds and recreational facilities off Little Grass Valley Road west of Quincy La Porte Road).
- Bucks Lake from Bucks Lake Road at the Plumas/Butte county line to Bucks Lake at Big Creek Road.
- You can use this map to show where active evacuation orders are for Butte County.
Yuba County (evacuees will not be able to travel north from Yuba County)
- Clipper Mills.
- Along the northern Yuba County border from Strawberry Valley to Forbestown and south to Rackerby and Brownsville-Challenge all the way over the upper portion of Bullards Bar Reservoir.
- Gridley Fairgrounds, located at 199 E. Hazel Street in Gridley.
- Dobbins Alcouffe Center, 9185 Marysville Road in Oregon House.
- Yuba Sutter Fairgrounds, 442 Franklin Ave., Yuba City.
Northern California’s Outdoor Digital Newsmagazine