Calfire helicopter leaving one vegetation fire near McKinleyville spots another in Arcata

NORTHERN HUMBOLDT – Local fire agencies had their hands full Thursday. Two vegetation fires ignited in Northern Humboldt.
The first started just after 1:00a.m. when the driver of a red Oldsmobile said she was having car trouble and pulled over on North Bank Road. Within a couple minutes, the driver saw smoke and then flames spreading in to the grass.
Emergency crews from Calfire, Arcata, Blue Lake and Humboldt Bay Fire responded.
A firefighting helicopter, known as helitack, drew water directly from the Mad River and dropped it from above while ground crews cut fire lines along the road and up the hillside.
California Highway Patrol shut down the road for about two hours. The fire was contained to less than an acre and no injuries were reported.
And as the helicopter left that incident the crew spotted smoke in the Arcata Community Forest.
A redwood stump caught fire behind Humboldt State so the helitack crew was dropped off to hike in while Arcata Fire engines responded.
Calfire crews cut lines around the area while Arcata firefighters used foam to extinguish the deep-seated fire.
It took more than three hours to extinguish the fire which was contained to a quarter acre.
When the response was complete, the helicopter landed on HSU’s softball field to retrieve their crew members.
The cause is believed to be a transient camp fire but will be investigated.