COLUSA COUNTY (CBS13) – A wildfire had spread to 3,200 acres in a remote area of Colusa County on Wednesday, one day after it started.
The 16 Complex fire is actually two fires burning on both sides of Highway 16, south of Highway 20, in the Rumsey Canyon area. It’s in rugged terrain and no structures are threatened, according to Cal Fire. It was still only 10 percent contained Wednesday afternoon.
It started shortly before 4 p.m. Tuesday. There are more than 600 personnel fighting the fire.
Flames have destroyed the beautiful rolling landscape of Rumsey Canyon. The view of Highway 16 is now blanketed and blackened by a fire with fury.
“It’s spread over a large area of difficult terrain,” said Cal Fire’s Mike Giannini. “We’ve got hand crews, we’ve got helicopters.”
The challenge is how to fight flames in steep canyons.
“It is very difficult. It’s all pure physical labor. To be flown in is necessary,” Sacramento City Fire Capt. Jim Edmiston said.
Helicopters take hand crews into the fire. They are flown in into areas so unsafe and unstable that a few have already suffered minor injuries.
The larger of the two fires is moving northeast away from the highway where it started.
An Indian reservation called Cortina Rancheria several miles away has been advised of possible evacuations. For now no homes are threatened, but the expected gusty winds and dry lightning could create an even larger beast…
“There is certainly potential to spread and weather will play a factor in that,” he said.
A red flag warning in effect through Thursday morning means despite all this destruction, firefighters are still considering this fire behavior the calm before the storm.