NEAR SAWYERS BAR, Calif. — The July Complex is now nearly 30,000 acres, and it continues to threaten homes, cabins, and even whole communities in Northern California.
There are currently several mandatory evacuations notices for the communities of Sawyers Bar, Eddy Gulch, Little North Fork, Idlewild, Mule Bridge, Robinson Flat and Whites Gulch areas.
In the mandatory evacuation zone near Sawyer’s Bar, fire officials have set up sprinkler systems, as fire moves closer to structures and structure protection is the top priority. When mandatory evacuation orders are put in place in Siskiyou County, residents are informed by the sheriff’s department and expected to leave immediately, but that’s not always the case.
Liz Robinson lives in Sawyers Bar, home to less than 200 people, but instead of packing up for the evacuation, she decided to take matters into her own hands.
“I have a pump down in the river, and I have fire hoses coming up from the pump…two individual sprinklers, and there’s probably 6 sprinklers out there and just protecting my home,” said Robinson.
While firefighters are sympathetic, they also say it makes their job much harder.
“I understand where they’re coming from,” said Kaleena Lynde, the July Complex Public Information Officer. “This is their town, they know the area very well, the love their homes they love their life here… our number one priority is protecting life. Because they’re here, that’s more lives we have to think about protecting outside of our own firefighters.”
In this case, the nearby Scott Valley Family Resource Center is ready to help out any evacuees.
“We’re open for people who need to come in and breathe fresh air, and it’s air conditioned so it’s cool. We can supply food, meals for them. We also help them find housing if they need it, temporary housing,” said Marilyn Seward at the Resource Center.
But Robinson is still willing to take her chances.
“We’ll see what happens,” said Robinson. “Fire doesn’t run downhill, it runs uphill, and fortunately we are on the downhill side and there’s a lot of rock between us and the fire.”
Fire Officials will continue to monitor structures in this area as this fire continues to grow.