Road to Ruth Lake now open, Property owners not charged for boats left on lake

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RUTH LAKE, Calif. (KIEM)-After weeks of mandatory evacuations in the Ruth Lake area, property owners and residents will finally get a look at what they left behind, if it’s still there.

District Manager Caitlin Canale works with Ruth Lake Community Services District.

“Due to everybody being displaced we are kind of having to close our season early,” she said.  

However, according to Canale – patio boats, along with other belongings, were left behind by property owners – through no fault of their own.

“So we’re definitely not charging people for the time that they weren’t able to pick up their boats at the end of September,” she said.

Cal Fire says, the August Complex Fire is the largest wildfire in California’s history.  

After a long wait, and fire now close to full containment, the West Zone is accessible to the public.

“Now is the time be able to start going to get their boats, and they can safely go there, however, they still have to use caution,” she said.   

Division Chief of Training & Operations Rus Brown with the Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department had property in the affected areas.

“I’m about 12 miles past Ruth Lake and I did lose everything in the initial rush and push of that fire,” he said.  

Ruth Lake may be in Trinity County, however, Brown says, about 80% of those who travel to Ruth Lake and own property there – are from Humboldt.

“There’s a lot of people that lost their house that’s been there for four generations,” he said.

With roads now back open property owners and residents of Ruth Lake will get a first look at the aftermath.

“I guarantee you the community of Ruth looks different today than it has ever looked previously because of all the structures that were lost,” he said.   

Despite it all both Canale and Brown say, the community will ban together – which has been apparent since the fire began.

“It’s just been really difficult for, everybody,” said Canale.

“The Ruth area is a great community of people that will have each other’s backs, people will rebuild, we’ll be back, it will be Ruth Lake again,” he said.  

Canale says, due to a lack of phone service in the area of Ruth Lake – those who have items to retrieve can call the district office at (707) 574-6332.

She advises anyone with damaged property to be patient and wait until an official has done a walk-through, touching it before an official assessment of damages may disqualify you from emergency aid.