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Indian Valley Record
Greenville, California
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August 15, 2012     Indian Valley Record
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August 15, 2012
 

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Indian Valley Record Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012 5A CHIPS, rom page 1A was at its most explosive was reduced from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m., to about 1 6 p.m. The cost of fighting the fire -- which began July 29 -- grew to more than $14 mil- lion by Monday. Resources included 92 en- gines, 28 dozers, 30 water tenders and six helicopters. There were 14 crews and 1,040 personnel involved. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Local disaster declared At its meeting Tuesday, Aug. 7, the Plumas County Board of Supervisors unani- mously voted to declare a lo- cal disaster due to impacts of the Chips Fire. Unlike a federal or state disaster declaration, a local disaster doesn't make the county eligible for immedi- ate government money. "Local disaster declara. tion gives you the opportuni- ty to move (county) funds around if you need to pull resources from other areas," California Emergency Management Agency spokesperson Deborah Rus- sell said. "It also makes your situation more important when you go forward to the forest service to complain, or to ask for more information." Russell said the declara- tion could help small busi- nesses impacted by the fire get fast-tracked loans from the Small Business Adminis- tration. It could also make the county eligible for state matching grants to cover some :costs associated with the fire. Workers who lost jobs be- cause of the fire could be eli- gible for unemployment ben- efits. Although the state likely won't give the county mon- ey, it will provide assis- tance. "Anything we can do for you, we are going to try to do," Russell said. Power outages Pacific Gas and Electric Co. transmission lines were shut down Friday afternoon due to impacts from the smoke and heat. The power outage impact- ed customers across Plumas County. PG&E said transmission lines might need to be shut down again. Power outages may impact surrounding communities in the Lake A1- manor region. "PG&E has resources de- ployed in the area and is working closely with fire of- ficials," the company said in a written statement. "At this time, PG&E does not plan to de-energize power lines un- less PG&E and fire officials deem it necessary as a pub- lic safety and precautionary measure." PG&E has a mobile com- mand vehicle staged in Quincy. The company said it is assessing "at-risk" facili- ties and pre-treating poles for fire protection. The com- pany has been replacing poles that have burned. "We are proactively devel- oping contingency plans to supply backup power gener- ation to minimize the length of power outages," the com- pany said. A helicopter drops water on the Chips Fire last week. The fire grew to more than 36,000 acres Monday. Full containment is not expected until Aug. 31. Photo by Michael Gunter To report and get updates on power outages, call PG&E's 24-hour emergency and customer service line: (800) 743-5002. Command post moved The incident command post is now established on Highway 89 near the west shore of Lake Almanor to provide better support to firefighters working in the vicinity. It was relocated from East Quincy on Friday. Response time was four hours Supervisors question agency's speed Dan McDonald Staff Writer dmcdonald@plumasnews.com "We are committed to stopping this fire. Every day we plan to turn the corner on this." That was Plumas National Forest Deputy Supervisor Laurence Crabtree's mes- sage to the county's Board of Supervisors. Crabtree, along with For- est Supervisor Earl Ford and Public Affairs Officer Lee Anne Schramel Taylor, briefed the supervisors dur- ing the board's meeting Tuesd&y, Ag. 7. After Crabtree brought the supervisors up to date on the Chips Fire, some of the board members asked Crab- tree how long it took the For- est Service to respond to the fire after it was spotted about 2 a.m. July 29. "We are very interested to know what happened be- tween 1:45 a.m. and noon," board Chairman Robert Meacher said. In order to get specific times, Crabtree returned to his Quincy office and re- sponded to the supervisors via email. Supervisor Sherrie Thrall read Crabtree's email aloud during open session later that morning. Following is the text of Crabtree's email: "A Forest Service engine crew first reported this fire at about 2 am. The fire was esti- mated to be 10-25 acres. Three Type 1 crews were ordered immediately. At 3 am a heavy resource order was placed for: 8 Type I crews (hotshots), 3 air tankers, multiple heli- copters and a rappel crew. At 3:30 am the Incident Com- mander was on the fire and pegged the fire at 15 acres and burning actively. First crews arrived at 6 am on the fire. First retardant drops were made by 10 am. By I pm (fire was 25 acres) there were multiple air tankers, 2 Type 1 helicopters, 8 Type 1 crew$, and 7 engine crews fighting this fire. The fire was held at 25 acres for three shifts. The terrain and fuel loading in the vicinity of the fire has made this a very difficult fire to contain even with the best fire fighters and equipment available. We will continue to fight this fire aggressively but provide for firefighter safety." Briefing to supervisors During Crabtree's briefing to the supervisors, he em- phasized the challenges as- sociated with fighting an out-of-control wildfire in rugged terrain. "This is a tough, difficult, dangerous fire," Crabtree said. 'We have been ham- mering away on this fire with all the resources that we think we need for several days now. "And it is continuing to grow. And it's growing on several sides. But we are committed to stopping this fire. "Our theme is putting the right resources in the right place at the right time. We will use every resource that is available to us. "When you have a forest that is as dry as ours, and when you have spot fires a mile in advance of the front at times, there is just a limit to how much dozers and air tankers will do for you. "I was down on the high- way (the morning of July 29) when this fire started. It was 25 acres and we had three of the largest type of heli- copters we could get work- ing that fire. "We thought we were go- ing to catch it. We had fire- fighters on the hillside going what we call 'direct' ... build- ing a line right on the fire line. We went at that for three days. The fire kept growing. "We were hurting people every day. And we said we have got to bring in another team -- which we did. we brought in a Type 1 team -- the best fire team we can get. And they have a plan to con- tain this fire in about a 30,000-acre boundary. "We will cut it off smaller if we can. If we can't, we have contingency plans in place. "Every day we plan to turn the corner on this fire. The folks that I met with in the fire camp (Tuesday) morning ... they are plan- ning to turn the corner on this fire today. "And if we don't, we are going to put a plan together to turn the corner on this fire tomorrow. "The agency is committed to this." It's 3:00 am... I Richard IC Stockton, See why State Farm" insures CLU ChFC, Agent more drivers than GEICO and Insurance Lic. #0B68653 Progressive combined. Great Providing Insurance & Financial Services service, plus discounts of up 65 W. Main St., Quincy, CA 95971 to 40 percent.* (530) 283-0565 Fax (530) 283-5143 Like a good neighbor, www.richardstockton.us State Farm is there." CALL FOR QUOTE 24/7. WE LIVE WHERE YOU LIVE 00StateFarm TM ,Disc0unts yaw by states. State Farm Mutuai Automobiie Insurance C0mpany 1001174A State Fa indemnity Company, Bioomington, i1. and Advertising o.Lodging News Entertainment Real Estate Classifieds Sports Post and read comments on stories h