CAL FIRE reports injured firefighter has returned home from burn center at UC Davis and is "in good spirits."
As of Monday morning, July 9, CAL FIRE was reporting the Klamathon Fire at 35,250 acres with 30 percent containment, 810 structures threatened, 81 structures destroyed, and 12 structures damaged.
CAL FIRE said during a community update meeting Sunday at the fairgrounds in Yreka that 1,511 citizens had been affected by the incident and 2,716 personnel were assigned to the fire that started in the Hornbrook area Thursday afternoon.
Siskiyou Unit Fire Chief Phil Anzo said during Sunday’s update that the CAL FIRE firefighter who suffered severe burns to his face has been released to return home from the burn center at University of California Davis. His family has asked for no media inquiries at this time, but, Anzo reported, the firefighter is “in good spirits” and thanked everyone – from the medical team at the burn center to members of the public – for their help and support.
Control objectives outlined by CAL FIRE Sunday evening were hung next to a map of the incident. The objectives established that fire crews’ goals are to keep the fire east of Empire Creek, west of Ager Road in the south and west of the Iron Gate reservoir on the north end, and north of Paradise Craggy Outlook.
There are currently 2,716 personnel assigned to the Klamathon Fire. On Sunday, firefighters working on the west side of the fire established good line up to Hilt, a CAL FIRE representative noted. He did concede, “We’re not out of the woods yet; we’re still trying to improve the lines.”
On the north side of the fire, fire crews established four miles of line over into the Scotch Creek drainage, CAL FIRE detailed. “Good success” was also reported around Iron Gate Estates. One spot fire started in the Klamath River Country Estates, but was contained to a 10’ by 10’ area.
Incident meteorologist Rich Thompson said that Sunday was “relatively quiet weather-wise,” with less smoke and more visibility. He said Monday will bring a weak system with increasing winds, starting with gusty south winds in the morning and shifting to north winds in the afternoon. Those winds will be stronger than those over the last several days, he added, but should die down by Tuesday.
Thompson reported a small chance of isolated thunderstorms in or around the fire area on Friday and Saturday; that chance is only around 10 percent, however. Temperatures will be increasing after Tuesday, bringing drier conditions.
Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey noted that law enforcement officers helped citizens with escort operations on Sunday, including ventures into the affected zone to retrieve needed medications and a beloved cat. Lopey commended fire personnel at state, local and federal levels for all their hard work.
Richard Harris, operations manager for Pacific Power, reported that utility workers are close to returning power to the Bailey Hill portion of Hornbrook. There will be a sustained power outage from Iron Gate dam to the Camp Creek area though, as it is not yet safe to send personnel into that area.
When asked by a citizen who had been evacuated from the KRCE area what needed to happen to trigger repopulation, a CAL FIRE representative responded that repopulation would occur “when we feel the interior of the fire has been secured.” That situation is being reevaluated every six hours, he said.
Additional evacuation orders were given on Sunday to the area east of Interstate 5, covering Bureau of Land Management lands and private properties west of the Jackson-Klamath County line, north of the California-Oregon border, and south of a line that extends from the intersection of I-5 and the Mount Ashland Ski Road due east to the Jackson-Klamath County line.
A “be set” evacuation notice was put in place for the area east of I-5, covering BLM lands and private properties west of the Jackson-Klamath County line, north of the line that extends from the intersection of I-5 and the Mount Ashland Ski Road due east to the Jackson-Klamath County line, north to Highway 66.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. The location of the next community update meeting will be announced on Monday.