Lava Fire, Tennant Fire latest updates: Evacuations ordered for Bray to Antelope Sink

Skye Kinkade Matt Brannon
Mount Shasta Herald
Smoke can be seen approaching the Spring Hill area of Mount Shasta on Wednesday afternoon at about 1:45 p.m.

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Fire crews in Siskiyou County continued working to contain two large wildfires on Wednesday. 

The Lava Fire, which started Thursday due to lightning, is 17,591 acres and 19% contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. It's burning about three miles northeast of Weed, according to forest officials. 

The Tennant Fire, which started Monday about near Highway 97 and Tennant Road, is 8,159 acres and 6% contained. It's burning about nine miles south of MacDoel, according to forest officials. 

7:30 p.m.: New Tennant Fire evacuations ordered

A new evacuation order was issued for the Tennant Fire, according to the Siskiyou County Office of Emergency Services. The order is for people in the area of Bray to the Antelope Sink, including Round Valley. 

Containment of the Tennant Fire increased to 6%, according to an 8 p.m. update from Cal Fire. It had been at 5% earlier on Wednesday. 

5 p.m.: Forest officials share evacuation map

Forest officials shared a link to an online map of areas under evacuation orders and warnings Wednesday afternoon. The interactive map is managed by the Siskiyou County Office of Emergency Services at arcg.is/1CrfH40

Forest officials said the cause of the Tennant Fire remains under investigation. 

1 p.m.: Lava Fire at 17,591 acres

The Lava Fire burning in the Weed and Mt. Shasta area has grown to 17,591 acres as of this morning, and it's now encroaching to the southwest side of the mountain, with flames visible from Mount Shasta High School.

The fire is 19% contained, and grew overnight on the southeastern edge driven by winds from the north, according a Wednesday morning report on Inciweb. More than 900 personnel are fighting the fire.

At 8 a.m., the Forest Service announced that all visitors on the southwest side of Mt. Shasta, including Bunny Flat, Sand Flat, Red Fir Flat and McBride Springs Campground, must evacuate. Everitt Memorial Highway was closed at McBride Springs.

"With wind conditions remaining the same, the southeastern portion of the fire is a slow backing fire," the Shasta Trinity Forest Service announced Wednesday afternoon. "The fire is burning against the wind which gives fire crews and aircraft an advantage."

On Tuesday, crews made progress building containment lines on the north and west sides of the fire, according to California Incident Management Team 14, which is managing the fire in unified command with Cal Fire. These lines should reduce the threat to Lake Shastina, Mt. Shasta Vista and Big Springs, which are currently under an evacuation order.

Low afternoon humidity is expected to continue, and south winds are expected again through mid-morning with a switch to northwest winds late afternoon Wednesday. Temperatures are forecasted to be slightly cooler.

Wednesday priorities include scouting for containment opportunities and taking direct suppression actions on the southern edge of the fire, according to Inciweb.

An estimated 8,000 people remain evacuated from their homes in the following areas:

  • All homes north side of Hoy Road
  • North along Highway 97 to County Road A-12
  • Carrick Addition
  • Communities of Lake Shastina and Juniper Valley off Big Springs Road from Highway 97 to McDonald Lane
  • Big Springs Road on both east and west sides
  • Mount Shasta Vista Subdivision
  • County Road A-12 north and south
  • Harry Cash Road
  • Four Corners to Hart Road
People parked their cars in the Grocery Outlet parking lot in South Weed Tuesday evening to watch smoke billow from the Lava Fire burning near Weed.

The American Red Cross has set up a shelter at Jackson Street Elementary School in Yreka, at 405 Jackson Street. Volunteers are on hand to provide evacuees with food, water and a safe place to sleep. These services are free.

The Lava Fire was one of four fires sparked by lightning on Thursday. It continues to grow, driven by hot temperatures, low humidity and wind.

Highway 97 is closed from Dorris to Weed. Interstate 5 remains open.

Skye Kinkade is the editor of the Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers and the Siskiyou Daily News. She is a fourth generation, lifelong Siskiyou County resident.