Category: Local

On The Shelf [7/15]

By Paul Guffin

David Laurence Wilson, left, enjoying his recent hiking trip at Yosemite.

Local Editor

People hereabouts may or may not know that we have a book editor in our midst: David Laurence Wilson. David now divides his time between the family home here in Downieville, the new family home in Portland, Oregon, and
various and sundry literary gatherings. Recently he dropped by the Downieville Library and shared about what he has been doing recently. His most recent effort is the seventh volume in the “Detective Pulps” series published by Ramble House, with stories by the author, Day Keene. Cullen Gallagher’s website, “Pulp Serenade” (www.pulp-serenade. com) had this review of the work:

“I’m ecstatic over the seventh and most recent volume in Ramble House’s series of Day Keene’s short stories
is The Kid I Killed Last Night and Other Stories: Day Keene in the Detective Pulps, Vol. #7 (2021). Expertly
compiled, edited, and introduced by David Laurence Wilson, this collection is one of the most interesting and
illuminating volumes released yet. Devoted to Keene’s earliest stories published under his real name Gunard Hjertstedt and later tales published under pen names (John Corbett and Donald King), The Kid I Killed Last Night sheds light on the more obscure areas of Keene’s pulp career. Fans of the author will delight in being able to access such rarities, and newcomers will hopefully appreciate the author’s wit and crackerjack plots. Early or late, real name or pen name, Keene was a master of the short story, and Ramble House and David Laurence Wilson deserve applause (and lots of orders) for keeping the author’s legacy alive.”

David also edited the fourth volume in the series in 2013, as well as Rapture Alley by Harry Whittington (under the
pen name “Whit Harrison), The Taste of Our Desire by Curt Colman, and Strictly for the Boys, also by Harry Whittington (among several other editorships). About editing Strictly for the Boys, Cullen Gallagher said:

“Editor and scholar David Laurence Wilson deserves special commendation for his tireless efforts to restore
Whittington’s reputation (and, in the case of Winter Girl, to restore the text itself). Wilson and Stark House publisher Greg Shepard give their books scholarly attention on par with the Library of America. Meticulously researched and lovingly edited, Stark House presents these forgotten paperback novels not as pulp curios, but as real literature, and set the bar high for other reprint series.”

The Downieville Library, unfortunately, does not have
any of David’s edited books on its shelves.

What’s New on the Shelf

We do, however, have some new-to-the-library books that
have come into the library in the past week:

101 Dalmatians, by Disney (easy reader)
The Emperor’s Children, by Claire Messud
The Phoenix and the Carpet, by E. Nesbit (juvenile)
Sing Down the Moon, by Scott O’Dell (juvenile)(1971
Newberry Honor book)
Monkeys, Go Home, by G.K. Wilkinson
The American Agent, by Jacqueline Winspear
The Consequences of Fear, by Jacqueline Winspear
Pickles Must Bounce and Other Wacky Laws (juvenile)
America’s Seashore Wonderlands, by National Geographic
Blue Horizons: Paradise Isles of the Pacific, by National
Geographic Society

A Very Berry Jam for Cran, 7/24

A Very Berry Jam For Cran, Saturday, 7/24/21 from 1 to 10 pm at Dunstone Memorial Hall in Oroville Ca. The Golden Quest Band will debut with Dave Herbert, Scott Guberman, Jeff Prescott, Burt Lewis, Cheryl Rucker and Shirley Starks. Also performing are Maggie Forti and Jeff Hobbs and Cosmic Strings. Advanced tickets can be purchased at, don’t wait because with this line up and the beautiful setting tickets may be scarce. $75. general admission includes BBQ to be served in during the hour long dinner break at 4:20. A VIP ticket can be purchased for $250 each or two for $420. This VIP package includes VIP Pass for parking and entrance to the Argonaunt Parlor for a catered dinner with the band and the Cranfill family. This is a benefit for Berry Creek and all who lost their homes and have survived a winter and to Michael (Cranberry) Cranfill whose dream this is. He survived the Bear Fire but his house didn’t and he passed the end of February. For info please go to

Encouraging Signs in Devastating Sugar Fire, California’s Largest of 2021 to Date

By Stephen Kulieke

After a week that saw the surging Sugar Fire emerge as the largest of California’s 2021 still-early wildfire
season, crews are making progress on the Plumas County conflagration with containment increasing from
46% on July 13 to 71 % on July 14.

“The weather outlook is favorable with a trend toward cooling and possibly higher humidity,” said Mike
Ferris, public information officer with the California Interagency Incident Management Team Number 4. “A break in the weather would really give us a chance to get final containment lines on the fire and get it secured.” He said that lines were in place from “Maddalena to Scott Road all the way around almost to Doyle.”

Ferris spoke to The Mountain Messenger on Wednesday by phone from an evacuation center in Lassen County. The town of Doyle in the county was hit particularly hard by the fire this past weekend when flames jumped Highway 395, destroying a number of homes there.

Thus far, officials have not released figures on the number of homes and other structures destroyed by the Sugar Fire. Ferris said the Sheriff Departments of Plumas and Lassen Counties are putting together damage assessment teams and will work in coordination with the California Office of Emergency Services to survey and report on property damage from the fire in their respective counties.

The U.S. Forest Service has yet to assess damage to its facilities at Frenchman Lake. “We still have a fire to fight. Public and firefighter safety remains our biggest priority,” Ferris said. He noted that most of the direct attacks
on the fire are being done at night when conditions are more favorable.

Igniting on July 2, the Sugar Fire, part of the Beckwourth Complex Fire, has scorched 94,764 acres or nearly 150
square miles as of July 14. The most recent update from the Plumas National Forest USFS on Wednesday
reported a total of 2,512 personnel fighting the fire—working on 56 day and night crews and operating 194
engines, 17 helicopters, 48 bulldozers, 58 water tenders, and 2 masticators.

Evacuation warnings continue to be in effect for communities around the fire’s enormous footprint. A mandatory evacuation is in place for Dixie Valley to the northwest, due to rugged terrain and the threat of flareup. And mandatory evacuation orders are in effect for Frenchman Lake, Doyle Grade, and Sugarloaf Road.

There also is a Plumas National Forest closure order in effect surrounding the fire’s perimeter, which includes
several roads. Highway 395 is now open.

The Sugar Fire exploded in size last Friday when “heat, low humidity, and wind all lined up” to produce
a “dramatic, severe, and erratic” event, said Ferris. Friday saw particularly frightening conditions
when the intensity of flames formed a towering pyrocumulonimbus “fire cloud” that created its own
weather. The National Weather Service in Reno on Friday afternoon reported lightning strikes from the
cloud “along the east side of the Beckwourth Complex.”

The daily morning updates from Plumas National Forest officials underscore how rapidly the fire grew after

Thursday, July 8: 11,799 acres, 20% containment

Friday, July 9: 23,855 acres, 11% containment

Saturday, July 10: 54,421 acres, 8% containment

Sunday, July 11: 83,256 acres, 8% containment

The news is good for the other fire being administered by Beckwourth Complex officials. As of July 14, the Dotta Fire footprint remains constant at 594 acres with containment at 99%.

Beckwourth Complex Fire video updates are provided twice daily in the morning and evening at the Plumas National Forest Facebook page:

At the July 13 evening video briefing, Beckwourth Complex Fire Operations Section Chief Jake Cagle emphasized that “your fire crews are out there working hard for you. I know there are a lot of rumors out there that we’re just managing it and letting the fire burn. That is not the case. We want to put this fire out and go home.” Officials also held their fourth virtual community meeting streaming at the Facebook page on the evening of July 14.

NOTE: As The Mountain
Messenger went to press
representatives of the
19-agency Beckwourth
Complex Fire team speaking
at last evening’s virtual
community meeting reported
that Wednesday afternoon,
July 14, saw increased fire
activity with 50 mph wind
gusts creating fire whirls
and grounding firefighting