Fire crew battling Six Rivers Lightning Complex lose 2 vehicles, hike out | Fire Watch |

2022-09-24 04:58:27 By : Mr. Alan Guo

The Shingle Springs band of Miwok Indians' Red Hawk crew lost two of their engines and had to hike out as they were battling the Six Rivers Lightning Complex.

HUMBOLDT COUNTY, Calif. - The Six Rivers Lightning Complex has exploded in size in the past 24 hours. It's now burned nearly 9,000 acres and there is still no containment. 

More than 500 firefighters are working the blaze that has prompted evacuations in Humboldt and Trinity counties.

The complex was sparked by lightning on Friday.

Some people staying in the evacuation shelters from the Six Rivers Lightning Complex aren't your typical shelter guests.

"We always say anyone is welcome at our shelter. We didn't expect it to be firefighters that night, but it was," said Steve Walsh, communication director for the American Red Cross.

A bit of a role reversal for the Shingle Springs band of Miwok Indians Red Hawk crew who were seen sleeping off a rough day on the fire lines at an American Red Cross shelter.

"Firefighters usually call the American Red Cross to help the citizens they serve, we don't usually get to take advantage of the red cross sheltering firefighters," said Chief Dave Whitt with Shingle Springs band of Miwok Indians' Red Hawk fire department. 

The team of 19 had brought in two vehicles to help position themselves around the fires  burning in Humboldt and Trinity counties when the flames took an unexpected run.

"The fire went from the ground fire that it was, to ladders, to torch, to crown, in less than 30 seconds," Whitt said.

The flames destroyed both vehicles and all the equipment inside but that's not all.

"They lost of their personal gear also tents, sleeping bags, extra clothing, wallets some places, keys to their cars when they come back," Whitt said.

With only the clothes on their backs they trekked through the forest in need of rest when Red Cross volunteers got word, they offered them a safe space to regroup for the night. 

"We offered them a safe place to sleep and snacks and meals and whatever they needed," Walsh said.

While a bus later took the crew back to El Dorado County to replace and restock their equipment,  their chief says they're ready to get back out on the front lines.

"We are in the middle of fire season after all and we have a lot more work to do,” Whitt said. 

There are eight active lightning fires in the area near the Trinity and Humboldt county line.

The largest fire is the Campbell Fire near Salyer.

The fire threatens communities along the Trinity River, primary areas of focus are protecting communities along the Highway 299, including Waterman Ridge, Friday Ridge Road and Ammon Ridge.

Evacuations continue around Willow Creek, Friday Ridge, Salyer and Trinity Village.

An evacuation center is open at Trinity Valley Elementary School in Willow Creek.

The large animal shelter is at Hoopa Rodeo Grounds.

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