Property owners attempt return to parts of August Complex, Officials ask for patience


RUTH LAKE, Calif. (KIEM)-Many residents and property owners were forced to evacuate when East winds pushed fire west towards Ruth Lake – which prompted that area to evacuate – now, residents are left with not knowing the status of their property.

Amber Bowlds is an EMT for Southern Trinity Volunteer Ambulance and is working within the August Complex Fire.

“We’ve watched a lot of our community members lose, you know, a lot of things, and some people just not making the best choices, I guess I would say,” she said.

Amber Bowlds says, she can empathize with those worried about their homes – however, fire crews and first responders have a job to do.

“Ourselves, we’ve had to evacuate, the same area right here, twice already,” said Bowlds.

“None of us can stress enough about, when we’re told to evacuate, you need to evacuate.”

Paramedic Ernie Walker is no stranger to wildfire – from Colorado – he travels the country to help where needed – and knows the dangers.

“Even if you get the fire out, there is still a lot of danger,” he said.  “There’s hazardous materials from this- things that have burned, power lines that may have fallen, trees that will fall days later,” he said.  

The evacuation warning, elevated to an evacuation order Sunday on the west side of Ruth Lake – some are attempting to return.

“My family lives out here and they’re just worried about their property,” said Makawla Babcock. “Just like everybody else.”

On State Route 36 in front of the Dinsmore Plant, the California Highway Patrol are turning people away, including residents who were upset but according to officials, it’s for the safety of both the crew and the public.

“There was still many residents in the area, which kind of hindered fire operations of where people needed to go,” said Bowlds.  

Which made it dangerous for firefighters – Bowlds asks residents from the area to be patient and wait, until the orders are lifted.

“Please, wait until you’re cleared to come see your property. I know everyone wants to know, I understand,” she said. “There’s a lot of hot spots still, trees are falling all the time, on their own, it’s not safe.”

Evacuation information for Humboldt and Trinity counties is available from the Red Cross at 530-276-8034.

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