Helena Fire: 17,542 acres burned, evacuation orders lifted for Junction City


HELENA, Calif. - The Helena Fire, in Trinity County, has burned 17,542 acres as of Monday evening. The Fork Fire, just north of Helena, has burned 3,479 acres. Total containment for both the Helena and Fork Fires is 47%.

The Trinity County Sheriff's Office and Office of Emergency Services along with the Unified Command of the Helena Fire have lifted evacuation orders for Junction City area for residents only.

On Thursday the evacuation orders were lifted for the south side of Highway 299 within the evacuated zone for residents only.

Residents are encouraged to be aware of the continued fire suppression operations in the area, and the dangers associated with increased traffic. All other evacuation orders remain in effect, including the Canyon Creek area. An evacuation center is located at the First Baptist Church in Weaverville. The shelter for farm animals is at the Trinity High School. Dogs and cats can be taken to the Trinity County Animal Shelter.

Highway 299 is closed from Helena Bridge to Sky Ranch Road. The Dutch Creek Road at Red Hill Road is closed due to safety concerns.

Highway 299 will be intermittently opened to through traffic every day at 5:30 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m., and 9:30 p.m. This schedule is anticipated for seven days a week until further notice. Following the 9:30 p.m. opening, the highway will be closed overnight.

72 homes and 61 outbuildings have been destroyed so far by the Helena Fire. Four homes and four outbuildings have been damaged. The Trinity County Sheriff's Office will provide property information to residents. The Sheriff's Office can be reached at 530-623-8103 and will post walk-in hours on their Facebook page here. The fire situation is dynamic and residents are urged to monitor fire information on the internet and on bulletin boards. Smoke columns and increased fire activity were observed on the Helena Fire Monday as a result of warmer temperatures and drier air. Due to its proximity to structures, primary suppression action will be directed to the Helena Fire, with the objective of keeping the fire above Powerhouse Road to the north and from spreading east into Weaverville by constructing and holding containment lines from Junction City northeast to Glennison Gap. Crews will continue to control and contain fire and residual hotspots around structures. Structure protection measures are in place in the upper Canyon Creek area. Crews continue to scout for and construct direct and indirect containment lines and construct direct handline from Glennison Gap north along Weaver Bally Ridge. Crews are also pursuing opportunities to directly attack the fire in the Connor Creek and Eagle Creek areas.

A fire information line has been created and residents can call 530-623-0039 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

The Helena Fire started on August 30 at 5:10 p.m. near the town of Helena, west of Weaverville, along Highway 299. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.