Paradise Fire

The Paradise Fire, the one over the hill from where I lived in the summer of 2008 even received a special write-up in the report:

The Paradise Fire

“...a success story of local government supporting state and federal firefighting efforts.”

Siege Summary Part ii: June 20–30

Humboldt and Del Norte Counties aren’t known for wildfires. The cool moist climate with summer coastal fog allows for little of the fire activity characterizing summer in other parts of the state. Wildfire is mostly limited to the fall, when fuel moisture is lowest after the long, dry summer. This year the late winter and spring months were dry. The dry lightning storm on the night of June 20, 2008 ignited scores of fires across hundreds of square miles of remote and rugged terrain.

Most of the fires were extinguished within the first two days, but five persisted as significant threats: the High, Larabee, Redcrest, Lone Pine, and Paradise. The most perilous of those was the Paradise incident, named for its location on Paradise ridge in the King’s range. It threatened the coastal community of Shelter Cove.

First on the scene was the Briceland Volunteer Fire Department. As other fires drained fire suppression resources, the Paradise incident was in the capable hands of the volunteers well beyond its initial attack phase. Diana Totten of Beginnings Volunteer Fire Department remained the Paradise incident Commander for many days after ignition. Chief Totten had a good plan, and with her department’s knowledge of the area and outstanding dedication, they moderated the spread of the fire. As other fires in the region were quelled and more resources become available Office of Emergency Services engine companies, conservation camp crews and air resources were redeployed to Shelter Cove. The Paradise incident was contained at 1,000 acres. The community of Shelter Cove was left unharmed. It was a success story of local government supporting the state and national firefighting efforts.

In all, it was an effort above and beyond the call of duty. Many unsung heroes emerged from the 2008 June Fire Siege after a highly unusual early summer storm.