Happy Camp Complex Forest Fire Update

Fire Retardant Drop

Fire retardant drop in the Happy Camp Complex fires. Photo by Ken Black of the Deadwood Strike

August 24, 2006, 11:00 am

From the Northern California Joint Incident Information Center

Current Situation: A weak low pressure trough over northern California will move east today and high pressure will build in behind it. Low humidity with gusty winds is expected. The air mass in northern California remains stable and dry with temperatures in the upper 80s and mid 90s.

Visitors need to be aware that there are numerous road, trail and area closures in place. Before heading out, please contact the local Forest Service Unit or log onto Inciweb.Org for additional information about fire-related restrictions and closures.

Air quality monitoring stations are in place. For additional information, please visit the following website: http://gacc.nifc.gov/oncc/predictive/weather/airquality.html.

No active Fire Weather Watches or Warnings are in effect today in Northern California.

The Joint Incident Information Center will no longer be staffed. However, the daily summary will continue to be updated and e-mailed to the current mailing list. Please visit Inciweb.Org for information related to all incidents and to obtain local contact information.

Northern California Region Active Totals

  • Major Incidents / Complexes: 4
  • Acres Burned: 54,448
  • Cost of active fires: $49,763,305
  • Personnel Committed: 1,328
  • Firefighter Injuries: 22
  • Fatalities (Aerial Firefighting Personnel): 2

Resources Committed

  • Engines: 16
  • Firefighting Crews: 29
  • Dozers: 3
  • Helicopters: 17
  • Overhead Personnel: 532

Between July 23rd and August 24th a total of 8 large fire incidents have occurred in the Northern California Region. Those large fires have burned more than 74,122 acres costing over $72,738,673 in suppression efforts.

INCIDENT SUMMARIES

Orleans Complex: Six Rivers National Forest; 15,710 acres; 70% Contained; Estimated Containment Date: 9/30/06; Total Personnel: 366; Cost to Date: $15M; Type 2 Incident Management Team (Sinclear) is assigned. Limited interior burning continues, primarily in the upper portions of Pearch Creek drainage. Firefighters continue to hold containment line on Highway 96 and Salmon River Road. Cultural resources remain threatened. A public meeting will be held tonight at 7p.m. at the Karuk Community Center in Orleans to introduce the incoming Incident Management Team. For more information on this fire, please visit http://inciweb.org/incident/370.

Bar Complex: Shasta-Trinity National Forest; 20,289 acres; 46% contained; Estimated Containment Date: 9/15/06; Total Personnel: 523; Cost to Date: $15M; A Type 1 Incident Management Team (Dietrich) is assigned. Fire continues to move easterly toward Limestone Ridge and south from Pony Butte/Salmon Mountain Ridge. Residence and historic mining sites continue to be threatened. Heavy smoke remains over the communities in and around Weaverville and as far away east as Redding. For more information, please visit http://inciweb.org/incident/357/

Uncles Complex: Klamath National Forest; 14,631 acres; 35% contained; Estimated Containment Date: 10/3/06; Total Personnel: 106; Cost to Date: $9M; A Fire Use Management Team (Hahnenberg) has been assigned and will continue to manage the incident under suppression strategy while planning long term fire assessment. Fire fighters are working diligently ahead of the fires to protect historic and recreational structures. For more information on this fire, please visit http://inciweb.org/incident/348/ .

Happy Camp Complex: Klamath National Forest; 3,818 acres; 85% contained; Estimated Containment Date: 9/1/06; Total Personnel: 333; Cost to Date: $9M; A Type 2 Incident Management Team (Garwood) is assigned. No increased fire activity. This will be the last incident summary for Happy Camp Complex unless there is substantial change. For more information on this fire, please visit http://inciweb.org/incident/361/.

Additional Northern California Fire Information can be found at the following weblinks:
California Fire Information
California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection

Another Arson in Happy Camp?

Fire on Indian Creek Road
This fire started on Indian Creek Road,
about 1/4 mile north of last year’s “Larry’s Fire”
Photo by RK McCall

by Linda Martin

What appears to be another human-caused fire broke out about a mile north of Larry’s Market on Indian Creek Road, and will continue to burn throughout the night.

Local firefighters, USFS, and CDF crews already weary from a day’s work at the Stanza Fire scene were called to extinguish the flames that quickly climbed the hill east of the road and spread into the hills north of Happy Camp at about 5 pm this afternoon.

A few nearby homes were evacuated, however residents are being allowed back in and no other evacuations are expected at this point. The fire is mostly contained; a fire line has been established with a few spot fires being carefully attended to.

Helicopters doused the area with water from the creek, and fire retardant was spread by air-tankers as law enforcement worked to open Indian Creek Road just before sunset.

The Stanza Fire – 100% Contained

Thanks to the combined efforts of various agencies and the work of over 1000 firefighters, our Stanza Fire is now at 100% containment.

Ronald Raley, Incident Commander of the Interagency Incident Management Team 5, and Alan Vandiver, our new District Ranger, wrote the following letter to the community:

On behalf of the incident personnel assigned to the “Stanza” fire and California Interagency Incident Management Team 5, we want to thank you for your patience and support of the firefighting efforts.

Our primary objectives are to provide for firefighter and public safety, and to manage the assigned resources in the most effective and cost efficient manner. We realize our presence here has created impacts on your community, however as our incident personnel return to their home units or new assignments, we hope you’ll remember the good things – The fire is contained and the community is safe.

Thanks again for your support!

/s Ronald Raley
/s Alan Vandiver

Too Close for Comfort! (fire)

Fire at Town Trail summit.
Fire threatened to consume the hill
just south of the Klamath River in Happy Camp.

by Linda Martin

A fire hovered on the hill overlooking Happy Camp late today and fire-fighting efforts started at about 5 pm. The town’s people took to the streets to keep an eye on this threatening sight.

By sunset firefighters had the blaze contained and at 11 pm about fifty people were still on the scene expecting to be there all night. A few hot spots still burned within the fire line.

Earlier in the evening, two helicopters poured a steady rain of Klamath River water on the blaze and a plane dumped fire retardant chemicals several times, cutting down the fire before it had a chance to consume the treetops.

The fire appeared at the terminus of the Town Trail. Possible causes are an abandoned cigarette, campfire out of control, or arson, although there is no official determination on this yet.

The Town Trail, a popular hike up steep terrain, ends with a view overlooking all of Happy Camp. By evening firefighters could be seen descending the steep hillside in a line, apparently holding onto a rope, and the sound of chainsaws filled the valley.

Frontier Lodge, and the fire
The Frontier Lodge with the fire in the background.

Fire on Town Trail
The fire was just about out by sunset and local
fire crews were on the scene but several small
areas continued to burn as late as 11 pm.

2001 Fire Season Totals for the Klamath National Forest

The Bridge at Clear Creek
The Bridge at Clear Creek

After an abnormally dry summer, rainstorms have begun to refresh the forest around us. Most of California has reached low fire danger status, but the Forest Service lists the Klamath National Forest as still having a moderate danger of fire as of November 1, 2001.

There have been a total of 227 fires so far this year in our forest. They burned 10,122 acres. Most of the fires, 200 of them, were started by lightning strikes. The remaining 27 fires were started by human error.

The Swillup and Crawford Fires

Map showing fire locations
Fires started by lightning on Sept. 15, 2001

The Swillup Fire\
The Swillup Fire, near Cottage Grove

Forest fires about 12 miles downriver from Happy Camp are only 20% contained. The fires are three of over sixty fires started in the Klamath National Forest by dry lightning strikes in the early morning hours of Saturday, September 15. There was only .27 of an inch of rain with this lightning storm.

The Swillup Fire is burning in the area of Cottage Grove and at this time has covered about 900 acres. The Crawford Fire is upriver closer to Independence Bridge and encompasses about 70 acres. The Red Hill Fire, deep in the Siskiyou Wilderness area, covers about 30 acres.

Smoke blankets Happy Camp today due to weather conditions keeping this layer of air close to the ground. The fires do not threaten Happy Camp at this time and there are no plans to evacuate residences in this area. No structures have been affected by these fires.

Over 900 firefighters are on the job, with 7 air tankers, 7 water tenders, 9 helicopters, 7 bulldozers, 16 engines and 32 hand crews. Burning is currently erratic with winds of up to 12 MPH blowing southwest, and away from Happy Camp. The Swillup Fire has been especially challenging due to rugged, steep terrain, inaccessibility, and heavy fuels, according to Forest Service reports.

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