Timeline of the Carr Fire

Park Ranger car with with fire smoke in the background

NPS Photo

July 23, 2018 – The Carr Fire ignited near the Carr Powerhouse Road along Highway 299 in Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. The National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and Cal Fire resources responded immediately. NPS law enforcement rangers evacuated the visiting public from Oak Bottom and residents of NPS housing, as well as assisted with evacuations of the town of French Gulch. One NPS housing unit was destroyed during initial attack.

July 24, 2018 – There was moderate spread, but the fire initially remained within containment lines. Crews worked diligently constructing dozer line and utilizing air resources to prevent the fire’s continued spread. However, at approximately 7:00 pm, the fire jumped a seven blade-wide dozer line constructed north of Whiskeytown near Merry Mountain. Overnight, the fire spread into Grizzly Gulch and Whiskey Creek. Significant fire growth occurred over the next twenty-four hours.

July 25, 2018 – The Carr Fire exhibited moderate fire behavior during the day. Crews executed structure protection on the NPS dispatch center and Oak Bottom area. At approximately 8:00 pm, the Carr Fire displayed extreme fire behavior resulting in a rapid expansion of the fire perimeter. A fire whirl was seen in Whiskey Creek at approximately 10:00 pm. At 10:30 pm, the entirety of Whiskeytown NRA was closed. There was a rapid and immediate evacuation of Whiskeytown and the adjoining town of Shasta.

July 26, 2018 – Active fire behavior continued producing two fire whirls with one fire whirl jumping the Sacramento River and entering the city limits of Redding. The fire demonstrated extreme fire behavior on the nights of July 25 and July 26. Numerous private inholdings and NPS structures were destroyed or damaged within the park. Hundreds of structures were destroyed outside of the park.

July 27, 2018 – Multiple spot fires from the previous day’s rapid and extreme fire growth became well established on the south side of Whiskeytown Lake. Throughout the day these spot fires became increasingly active, including significant high intensity fires that spread across Clear Creek toward the Tower House Historic District. Within the historic district, several 160-year-old fruit trees planted by Levi Tower burned. Additionally, all of the wooden components of the El Dorado Mine were destroyed. However, the Camden House, barn, and tenant house were effectively saved by aggressive firefighter protection actions.

July 28, 2018 – During the evening of July 27 through July 28, the fire continued to spread throughout most of the southern portion of the park. During this period several NPS housing units were destroyed. In addition, the fire rapidly spread below Whiskeytown Dam towards the Whiskeytown Environmental School (WES), the park's highly popular youth camp. Little to no significant fire damage occurred to the water facility, but at WES, ten camper cabins were lost along with a small maintenance facility.

July 29-August 3, 2018 – The fire largely exhibited fairly measured growth with a mosaic of fire intensities and severities progressing into the middle to the southwest corner of the unit. Based on information from park fire staff, a large portion of the fire growth and effects in this area were retarded and limited by recent NPS prescribed fire treatments.

August 19, 2018 – The Carr Fire is 83% contained and fire operations within Whiskeytown National Recreation Area have shifted to recovery operations. Crews and staff begin working to assess and repair damage in order to resume normal operations and reopen access to areas as soon as safely possible.

August 30, 2018 – Burning outside the park ends as the Carr Fire is 100% contained. Park staff continue operations to remove hazards and make repairs to make areas safe enough for the public to visit. The park headquarters, visitor center, and several through-roads are re-opened. The majority of the park remains closed, however.

Last updated: March 26, 2020

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Whiskeytown, CA 96095


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