August Complex Fire 96% contained, focus now on suppression repair

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HUMBOLDT COUNTY, Calif. (KIEM) — The August Complex Fire has burned more than 1,032,000 acres and is now 96% contained. The focus has now shifted to suppression repair.

Fire crews are trying to minimize the impact firefighting resources have had on waterways, threatened or endangered species, and also soil quality. Over the last few days, work has continued in the Kettenpom area, and also between Zenia and Ruth Lake.

“We’re having them start to work in this area just right along the fire’s edge and also along the road. We’re working them in an area of high dozer lines with quite a bit of need for soil stabilization,” according to operations section chief Chance Traub.

Firefighters haven’t had any issues with smoke or re-burns in the Ruth Lake area like those seen about a week ago. For the next week or so, crews are working to build trenches in that area ahead of the wetter weather.

“In case, and when the rains do come this Fall, no soil is lost or at a minimum,” Traub says.

The main focus is trying to give the landscape a fighting chance to withstand the effects of winter rains and spring snow runoff and return sensitive areas to as natural a condition as possible. Crews are also working to clear roadways in the fire area.

“Falling hazard trees to make those roads safe and drivable once the winds and rain do come in. To make sure they’re safe for everyone, both the firefighters and when they open that area for the general public,” according to Traub.

The fires within the complex started back on August 16th and 17th and were caused by lightening.