Helena Fire

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Helena Fire
2017 09 06-
Helena Fire on September 6, 2017
LocationHelena, California, United States
Westerville, California, United States
Trinity Alps Wilderness, California, United States
Coordinates40°46′44″N 123°06′07″W / 40.779°N 123.102°W / 40.779; -123.102Coordinates: 40°46′44″N 123°06′07″W / 40.779°N 123.102°W / 40.779; -123.102
Date(s)August 30, 2017 (2017-08-30) – November 15, 2017 (2017-11-15)
Burned area21,846 acres (88 km2)
CauseTree falling on power line
Helena Fire is located in Northern California
Helena Fire
Location of fire in California.

The Helena Fire was a wildfire that burned in Trinity Alps Wilderness and west of the town of Weaverville, Trinity County, California in the United States. The fire had burned 21,846 acres (88 km2), and destroyed 72 homes. The fire merged with the nearby Fork Fire (3,484 acres (14 km2)). The Helena Fire was fully extinguished on November 15, after reaching 21,846 acres (88 km2).[1] The cause of the fire was a tree falling into a power line[3]. The fire threatened the communities of Weaverville and Junction City and impacting recreational activities in the area.

The fire[edit]

The Helena Fire was first reported on August 30, 2017, at 5:20 pm near the town of Helena, California, along California State Route 299. The cause of the fire was a tree falling into a power line [3]. It was fueled by brush, timber and hardwood litter, with excessive heat helping to strengthen the fire.[1]

On September 3, the fire was reported to be growing to the northeast and southwest, threatening infrastructure in Junction City, California. Crews constructed firelines from Junction City to Glennison Gap. The fire had expanded to Brock Gulch and along Brock Road. It had also expanded into the Trinity Alps Wilderness.[1]

As of the morning of September 4, the fire was burning along California State Route 299 and on both sides of the Trinity River. The fire had destroyed 72 homes and 61 outbuildings. The Helena Fire had burned 8,940 acres (36 km2) and was at 14% containment.[1] That day, a spot fire broke out east of Weaver Bally Lookout.[4] Trinity Alps Unified School District, Douglas City Elementary School District, and Klamath Trinity Joint Unified School District canceled school on September 5 due to unhealthy air conditions with schools resuming on September 11.[1][5]

The fire expanded to 11,013 acres (45 km2) by the morning of September 5, remaining at 14% containment. Heavy smoke has been identified as creating a challenge at determining the perimeter of the fire, which is currently burning near Junction City and Weaverville. The Helena Fire moved into the Miller Creek drainage on southern, southwest flank of the Trinity River. Containment lines from the 2008 Iron and Eagle Fires were being used to control the fire.[2]

On November 15, it was reported that the Helena Fire had been fully extinguished.[1]

Evacuations and closures[edit]

Portions of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest are closed, including to hunters. Specifically those areas directly impacted by the fires.[6]

Bureau of Land Management's Junction City Campground, Bagdad River Access on Highway 299, Pigeon Campground, and the Grapevine Swimming Hole remain closed.[6]


The smoke from the Helena Fire settled over Sacramento, California, creating unhealthy breathing conditions.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Helena Fire". Helena Fire. United States Forest Service. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Helena/Fork Morning Update 9/5/17". InciWeb. U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  3. ^ a b "BLM reveals cause of Helena Fire in Trinity County". redding.com. Record Searchlight. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
  4. ^ Kemp, Kym. "Helena Tops 11,000 Acres as It Rolls Toward the Fork Fire". Redheaded Blackbelt. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  5. ^ Kemp, Kym. "Schools Closed Due to Smoke or Wildfires". Redheaded Blackbelt. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Helena and Fork Fire Morning Update for September 11, 2017". InciWeb. Shasta-Trinity National Forest, U.S. Forest Service. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  7. ^ Sabalow, Ryan; Miller, Jim. "Fires, smoke ravage Golden State from L.A. to Oregon border". sacbee. Retrieved 5 September 2017.