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Updated with video: One person killed in Slater Fire

Staff reports
Siskiyou Daily News

Update 9:15 p.m.

One person died in the Slater Fire near Happy Camp, the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office announced Wednesday evening. The person's name is being withheld pending further investigation.

Update 6 p.m.

This video shows some of the devastation left in the wake of the Slater Fire in Happy Camp.

Update 8 p.m.

One person has been killed as a result of the Slater Fire, the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office confirmed Wednesday night.

The person was found dead in the burn area in Happy Camp.

Authorities are investigating and have not identified the person.

Update 3 p.m.

The Slater Fire is moving in a northwesterly direction into Oregon, and high winds, high temperatures and dry vegetation have hampered firefighters' efforts to extinguish the blaze.

High winds and smoke have prevented use of air attack planes, the KNF said.

Incident Management Team 10 is expected to arrive today and they'll be taking over the Slater Fire's management as of 6 a.m. on Sept. 10.

While the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office estimated the size of the Slater Fire to be 40,000 acres, the Klamath National Forest said it has grown to 30,000 acres as of 3 p.m. on Wednesday.

Bigfoot stands sentry in Happy Camp as smoke from the Slater Fire billows in the background. Siskiyou Daily News columnist Judy Bushy snapped this photo as she was evacuated on Sept. 8, 2020.

The fire started during the night of Sept. 7, the KNF reported, near Slater Butte Fire Lookout. KNF confirmed that estimated 150 homes were lost in the Happy Camp area.

Currently Highway 96 is closed from Fort Goff on the northeast side of Happy Camp and to Clear Creek on the southwest side, KNF said. Grayback Road is closed from Happy Camp northwest to Oregon. The community of Gasquet has also been ordered to evacuate.

Current evacuation orders are posted on Siskiyou County Sheriff Department Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SiskiyouCountySheriff/.

For Del Norte County evacuation information see https://www.facebook.com/DelNorteOfficeOfEmergencyServices.

Additional information on the Slater Fire is available on the Inciweb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7173/ and on Klamath National Forest Facebook https://www.facebook.com/KlamathNF/ and Klamath National Forest Twitter at https://twitter.com/Klamath_NF.

The NEW fire Information phone number is (530) 324-2528.

Update 1:34 p.m.

Siskiyou County Sheriff's officers sent out a CodeRed Alerts with an evacuation warning in place for all of Seiad north of the Klamath River and east to the O'neil Creek Campground. 

Update 11:30 a.m.

The Slater Fire is now estimated to be 40,000 acres, according to the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office. Approximately 150 homes have been damaged or destroyed and another 400 homes are threatened.

Fire is spreading in all directions and there is no containment at this time, the SCSO reported.

Residents the Happy Camp area are urged to evacuate immediately.

Mandatory evacuation orders are in place from Savage Rapids to Clear Creek along Highway 96. This is in place for both sides of Highway 96 and all roads in the area.

"We understand many people want specific information as to the status of their homes," the SCSO said in a post on its Facebook page. "Resources are still actively focused on evacuations, security, and planning for the future, but we hope to begin damaged assessments as soon as it is safe."

Update 9:40 a.m.

The Slater Fire is 0% contained and has grown to 25,000 acres in timber, according to CAL FIRE's California Statewide Fire Summary.

Highway 199 is closed from Gasquet to Rough and Ready, west of Cave Junction, Ore. A mandatory evacuation has been ordered for the Gasquet area of Del Norte County.

Original story

Spurred by windy conditions and high temperatures that are expected to continue today, the Slater Fire exploded from 150 acres when it started south of the Slater Butte Fire Lookout near Happy Camp Tuesday morning, to 22,000 acres as of 4 p.m. that evening.

The community of Happy Camp, with a population of about 1,200, remains under an evacuation order as of Wednesday morning.

The newest evacuation order, posted by the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office at about 7:15 a.m. on Wednesday, is for residents from Happy Camp to Clear Creek.

ArcGIS Web Application

The cause of the fire has not been released. The Slater Fire is burning in the Klamath National Forest.

Two shelters have been set up, according to the Siskiyo County Sheriff's office:

• Seiad Fire Department, 44601 Highway 96 in Seiad Valley

• Karuk Tribal Wellness Center at 1403 Kahtishraam in Yreka will serve as an overnight shelter.

The fire information line is (530) 356-9434.

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