California Fire Map, Update as Blaze Threatens Cannabis Crops Worth Millions of Dollars

More than 18,200 firefighters are battling 26 wildfires across California, including the August Complex Fire—the largest fire in the state's history, which has burned over 863,000 acres, according to the latest report Thursday from the Incident Information System of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG).

The August Complex Fire is reported to be heading towards the Post Mountain and Trinity Pines areas, which is home to dozens of cannabis farms. The Los Angeles Times reported that owners have been refusing to evacuate the area and leave millions of dollars worth of marijuana behind.

"There [are] millions and millions of dollars of marijuana out there. Some of those plants are 16-feet tall and they are all in the budding stages of growth right now," noted Nate Trujillo, a narcotics deputy from the Trinity County Sheriff's Department.

Law enforcement officers were reported to have gone door to door in the past few days, warning locals to evacuate the area. "We couldn't force people to leave," Trujillo said. "It's mainly growers. And a lot of them, they don't want to leave because that is their livelihood."

There are as many as 40 legal cannabis farms in Trinity Pines alone and more than 10 times that number of illegal crops off dirt roads, according to people familiar with the area, the Los Angeles Times reported.

As many as 1,000 people are said to have remained in the Post Mountain and Trinity Pines areas, authorities and locals estimated Thursday.

A spokesperson for the federal incident command team managing the northern section of the fire, Mike McMillan, said: "We are going to knock door to door and tell them once again.

"However, if they choose to stay and if the fire situation becomes, as we say, very dynamic and very dangerous...we are not going to risk our lives.

"The thing that we need to make clear is we are not going to die to save people. That is not our job," he noted.

A Fire Weather Watch is in effect from Saturday through much of northern California, with gusty winds and low humidity bringing critical fire weather conditions.

This weather pattern will affect several parts of the region including, but not limited to, the East Bay Hills, North Bay, Sacramento Valley and Sierra Foothills areas. "A significant warming trend is expected to begin this weekend and into next week throughout the state, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) noted in its latest report Thursday.

🔥BLM Fire map for Sept. 24. This is a map of all active large fires within California and the BLM-managed acreage affected. For the latest fire info: https://t.co/p10omwOfww #FireYear2020 #CAWildfires #BePrepared pic.twitter.com/rjvG72iYk2

— Bureau of Land Management California (@BLMca) September 24, 2020

Here are the latest updates on some of the largest fires across the state.

August Complex Fire

  • Location: Mendocino, Humboldt, Del Norte, Trinity counties.
  • Acres: 863,080.
  • Containment: 38 percent.
  • Structures threatened: 8,913.

The West Zone of the August Complex Fire has reached 104,127 acres, with 45 percent contained and more than 2,000 firefighters combating the fire from the air and on the ground, according to the latest report Thursday from Cal Fire.

Fire behavior in the North Zone was projected to remain active, with winds elevating the potential for fire spread on the mid to upper slope areas. "New areas of fire growth will remain active overnight as fuels continue to consume. Torching is likely to continue into the overnight hours as fuels consume," according to NWCG's latest report Thursday.

The potential for "very active fire behavior" remains in the South Zone, while southwest winds were expected to clear some smoke in the lower elevations, the report noted.

Evacuation orders, warnings and road closures remain in effect across several parts of Mendocino, Trinity and Lake counties. See Cal Fire's full report for details.

Creek Fire

  • Location: Fresno and Madera counties.
  • Acres: 291,426.
  • Containment: 34 percent.
  • Structures threatened: 4,576.

The Creek Fire continued to actively burn Thursday. The North Zone of the fire saw "increased fire activity with the sun and low humidity preheating fuels earlier in the day that has been experienced making them receptive to ignition," according to Cal Fire's latest report Thursday.

Active fire behavior is expected in the Whisky Falls and Central Camp areas due to planned firing operations, while additional fire activity is expected in the Beasore Creek, Upper Chiquito, and Sadler Peak areas.

In the South Zone of the fire, active fire behavior is expected Friday south of Mount Tom "but progression will be slow as it reaches the higher elevation rock where fuels are scarce," Cal Fire noted. The fire will also move toward the Florence Lake and the Dinkey Lakes Wilderness areas.

"A dry weather pattern will move into the region on Saturday with hot weather arriving on Sunday leading to an increased spotting potential fueled by a lack of air and fuel moisture," the report added.

Evacuation orders and warnings have been lifted in multiple other parts of Fresno County. See Cal Fire's full report for details.

#CreekFire Map Updates 9/24/20 pic.twitter.com/QLFvJBIMK9

— CALFIRE/FresnoCoFire (@FresnoCoFire) September 24, 2020

Bobcat Fire

  • Location: Los Angeles County.
  • Acres: 113,986.
  • Containment: 50 percent.

The fire activity remained near Mount Waterman Ridge on Thursday, while firing operations continued at Mount Wilson, with crews monitoring and patrolling the area for hot spots.

The fire was reported to be "mainly smoldering and creeping within containment lines, should stay nearly within existing footprint. Couple exceptions, one in Branch X - DIV G where fire is backing, flanking and rolling out, with some uphill runs. The second is in Branch I, DIV A where uphill runs in the interior island, flare ups, and individual tree torching," the latest report by the NWCG confirmed.

"The main fire progression is in Branch X, heading northeast. Little growth expected, between 500-1000 acres to contingency line. Little movement in Branch III to the west, by Highway 2 and DP-86," the report added.

Evacuation orders and warnings remain in effect across multiple parts of Los Angeles County. See the full NWCG report for details.

Bobcat fire California September 2020
A firefighter keeps lookout from a ridge as smoke drifts during the Bobcat Fire in the Angeles National Forest on September 23 in California. The state's current largest fire in history, the August Complex Fire, was reported to be approaching cannabis farms in Post Mountain and Trinity Pines areas where the farm owners are refusing to evacuate. Mario Tama/Getty Images

SQF Complex Fire

  • Location: Tulare County.
  • Acres: 144,826.
  • Containment: 35 percent.

The SQF Complex Fire includes the Castle and Shotgun fires, both of which are burning in the Sequoia National Forest. The Castle Fire is also burning in the Inyo National Forest and the Golden Trout Wilderness Area.

The West and East zones of the Castle Fire remained active Thursday and the area was under heavy smoke for most of the day, with short range spotting and rollout on steep slopes leading to a slow eastward movement of the fire, according to the latest report Thursday by Cal Fire.

Active fire behavior is projected for both zones of the Castle Fire, while minimal fire growth is expected for the Shotgun Fire, the latest NWCG report confirmed.

Evacuation orders, warnings and road closures remain in effect in multiple parts of Tulare County. See Cal Fire's full report for details.

Dolan Fire

  • Location: Monterey County.
  • Acres: 128,417.
  • Containment: 46 percent.

Containment and acreage of the Dolan Fire remained unchanged Thursday from a day earlier, according to the latest report from the NWCG.

"With low relative humidity values and poor recoveries above the marine layer, fuels remain available for active burning day and night," the report said.

A heatwave is expected to impact the Dolan Fire area from Saturday, with a potential for the east side of the fire to see increased fire activity, the NWCG report noted.

Over the next 72 hours, "if the fire were to come out of the fire perimeter on the eastern flank, it will want to burn into the rugged Santa Lucia Creek drainage and move to the south with wind and terrain towards contingency lines.

"If it were to get established across the southern flank, it will be burning in and around remote, rugged terrain and in an incredibly thick fuel bed with minimal operational options," the report added.

#DolanFire update (English) and map for 9/24/2020

For a text version of the update please visit https://t.co/IqetLsq1vf

You can also listen to the daily update on SoundCloud: https://t.co/IqtPyV0tOg pic.twitter.com/tVSXidXBe6

— Los Padres NF (@LosPadresNF) September 24, 2020

North Complex Fire

  • Location: Butte, Plumas, Yuba counties
  • Acres: 304,492.
  • Containment: 78 percent.

The West Zone of the North Complex Fire has burned 84,583 acres, with 69 percent contained and 10,000 structures threatened, according to the latest report Thursday by Cal Fire.

In the South Zone of the fire, crews continued mop-up work on Thursday, guarding against any spot fires. "The fire remained in its current footprint throughout the rest of the zone," the report confirmed.

In the North Zone, firing operations resumed south of the Grizzly Forebay area, with crew patrolling containment lines and catching any hot spots.

Active fire behavior is expected in the North and South zones, with northeast winds as well as warmer and drier conditions expected to impact the fire area, according to the latest report from the NWCG.

https://t.co/DmTLngDhXO Portions of Evacuation Order reduced to Warning for Upper Yuba County La Porte Rd communities. Forbestown remains under Evacuation Order. #NorthComplexWestZone pic.twitter.com/EOciZRvwNd

— Yuba County Sheriff (@YubaSheriff) September 24, 2020

Other fires

  • Red Salmon Complex Fire: 108,165 acres, 27 percent contained.
  • Slater/Devil Fires in Siskiyou County: 152,232 acres; 25 percent contained.
  • El Dorado Fire in San Bernardino and Riverside counties: 22,601 acres; 74 percent contained.
  • Slink Fire in Mono County: 26,759 acres; 86 percent contained.

For the latest up-to-date information on these fires and others in the state, visit the Cal Fire website.