John Ross Ferrara / Sunday, Sept. 3 @ 2:24 p.m. / Traffic
UPDATE: Highway 299 Opens After All, But Only for a Short Time
UPDATE, 3:35 p.m.:
Department of Transportation press release:
REDDING – Caltrans District 2, in coordination with the Shasta-Trinity Forest Service, Cal Fire, California Highway Patrol, Trinity County Sheriff’s Office, and Trinity County Department of Transportation anticipate two highway openings today, September 3, 2017 on State Route 299W in the area of the Helena Fire. These openings are anticipated for 5 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. only. Eastbound and westbound traffic IN LINE at these times will be allowed through the area under traffic control, depending on fire activity and operations.
These openings are for THROUGH TRAFFIC ONLY. All areas under evacuation orders remain closed. Following the 9:30 p.m.anticipated opening, the highway will be closed overnight. Officials will further assess the area on Monday, September 4, 2017, at or around 9 a.m.
PLEASE NOTE: The highway is subject to closure AT ANY TIME due to fire conditions. Travelers are urged to drive slowly and carefully through the area. Visibility may be decreased due to smoke and fire crews and equipment will be present in the area.
Motorists are strongly advised to continue using alternative routes. State Route 36 is open with no traffic control until Tuesday September 5, when regular construction road closures will resume between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. and again between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
State Route 299W has been closed between Junction City and Big Flat since the Helena Fire began on the evening on August 30. The fire is currently at 7,440 acres, with 6% containment, per the fire briefing this morning.
Agencies will continue to monitor the situation, and provide updates when they are available.
Any hopes of the 299 reopening today have been dashed.
Caltrans District 2 reports that the road is still closed today. However, Caltrans and fire officials are still considering opening up the highway to intermittent travel at some point in the near future.
The Helena Fire completely shut down the roadway last week after the wildfire spread quickly through Trinity County, eclipsing both sides of the highway.
The U.S. Forest Service reported this morning that the fire has shrunk to 6,800 acres in size, and is 6 percent contained.
Caltrans anticipates it will give another update on the closure at 7 p.m.