Helena fire grows to 11,000 acres, Highway 299 to open at specific times

TRINITY COUNTY – Wildfires are growing, and leaving a wake of destruction.

The Helena Fire in Trinity County has now reached 11,000 acres as of Tuesday, over 2,000 acres in growth since the day before.

It’s been taking down homes and structures – at least 72 homes have been destroyed so far, along with 61 other buildings.

One of those buildings, the Trinity Canyon Lodge, was a family owned motel and campground just next to the Shasta-Trinity National Forest but was destroyed by flames.

The Starr family who owned the lodge escaped the fire safely but “with only the clothes they were wearing.”

A gofundme page for the family has been set up for donations, here: https://www.gofundme.com/be-a-star-for-the-starrs

If you’re planning on traveling East, there are a few single-time openings on Highway 299 each day until further notice.

Those times are at 5:30AM 9AM, noon, 3PM, 5:30PM and 9:30PM, with full closures at night following the the last opening.

You should also note that there will be full closures of Highway 36 through Thursday from 8AM to noon and again between 1PM and 5PM – traffic will be allowed through between those times.

For regularly updated road conditions you can call 1-800-gas-road or check the Caltrans District 2 website at http://www.dot.ca.gov/d2/

Also, while the Klamath-Trinity Unified School District called school off Tuesday due to smoke, they’re inviting students back Wednesday for a minimal day.