Some Closures Lifted on Klamath River Access

The Klamath National Forest Announces the Reopening of Three Existing Klamath River Closures and Continuing One Closure

Yreka, CA–Klamath River access has been reopened for the following areas; Indian Creek Access, Curly Jack Day Use Access, and Chamber’s Flat River Access. This is a result of increased containment of the Elk Complex wildfire and reduced conflict with helicopter operations. However, boaters need to avoid landing on the fire side of the Klamath River (east or south side depending on the orientation of the river segment). Hazards still exist in the fire area including loose rocks and debris, as well as a high number of rattlesnakes.

Based on concern for the safety of the public and firefighters, the Wingate Bar River Access area, located in the W ¼ of Section 5, T.15 N., R.7 E., HM, continues to be closed to launching of boats.

Elk Complex Fire Update

Forest Service Update

Total Complex Acreage: 16,449 acres
Incident Resources: 805 personnel
Total Complex Containment: 80%
Cost to Date: $17,400,000
Injuries to Date (minor): 15
Fatalities to Date: 1
Expected Full Containment: 8/05/2007

Siskiyou County Public Health Officer, Stephan Perlman, M.D., again wants to advise residents throughout Siskiyou County to be aware that air quality may be extremely poor in some areas due to severe smoke today. Residents in areas with poor air quality are advised to remain indoors and refrain from physical exertion. In areas with visibility less than 2 miles, drivers are cautioned to drive carefully and to turn their headlights on as they drive through the area. Firefighters plan to continue to use aerial ignition to burn portions of the interior of the fire on the King Creek 2/Wingate/Titus Fires. This involves releasing ping pong ball size incendiaries (PSD’s) as the helicopter flies over the area to be burned. As the fire slowly backs down towards the Klamath River the percentage of containment will rise. Crews are continuing to secure established firelines. Patrol and mop up continue on the Little Grider Fire.

Of the thirty identified fires in the Elk Complex, 25 are 100% contained. The contained fires will continue to be monitored, patrolled and staffed as necessary. The remaining five fires are as follows:

* Wingate/Titus/King Creek 2 acres is 13,381 acres (increase in acreage due to limited burning of interior) and 76% contained. Firelines have been constructed and limited burning of interior areas will continue. A closure for campers and miners, from Five Mile Bridge to Norcross Campground on Elk Creek Road remains in place.

* Elk Fire (1,144 acres) 96% contained and remains in aerial patrol.

* Hummingbird Fire (80 acres) 0% contained. The fire remains in aerial patrol.

The Forest Service, in cooperation with the Siskiyou County Air Pollution Control District, has installed an air quality monitoring station in Happy Camp. Real-time data may be viewed online at SatGuard.

Klamath National Forest Announces Emergency Closure of Several River Access Sites

Yreka, CA- Based on concern for the safety of the public and firefighters, the Klamath National Forest has closed seven river access sites. The closures are associated with the Elk Complex, and begin in Happy Camp and continue for several miles downstream. The closures are in place because helicopters, with their buckets suspended below them, are accessing the river for water. The closures will be lifted as soon as it is safe to do so.

Currently prohibited are:

a. Launching a watercraft from Indian Creek and Curly Jack Day Use river access sites.

b. Launching or removing a watercraft from: Chamber’s Flat, Wingate Bar, Ferry Point, Independence and Coon Creek river access sites.

For more information about fire-related closures on the Klamath National Forest visit our website at http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/klamath/conditions or call 530.841.4451.

For more information about the fires, visit http://www.inciweb.org/ or call 530.841.4451. Maps, and copies of the closure orders, are available at Klamath National Forest offices.

Monday Evening’s Meeting Emphasized That Fire Danger Still Exists

By Linda Martin

The danger to residents of the Live Oak Drive/Buckhorn Road neighborhood may have been thwarted thanks to intense control efforts on the part of fire fighters during the past few days. At a community meeting on Monday evening, Incident Commander Kent Swartzlander displayed maps on which he’d drawn fire lines for the Little Grider Fire. He explained that at this time fire fighters are tending flames burning through Perkins Gulch toward Buckhorn Road. They were expected to be completely controlled and extinguished by the time the fire line arrives at the edge of town.

Swartzlander said that though lines formerly considered trigger points have been crossed, and evacuations haven’t been called for, the reason why is that the fire is burning at a very low intensity at this point. It is more of a controlled burn and he no longer expects anyone in the area of Buckhorn Road to be evacuated.

Letters of appreciation were read and handed out. Dwayne Armbruster got one as representative of the Fire Safe Council’s fuels removal crew. Other letters went to John Evans for the assistance of the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department, to Ray Koons for doing a telephone tree to inform people about meetings, and to Harold Tripp and the Karuk Tribe for help they’ve given to the fire fighting effort.

Meanwhile the Wingate Fire spread east toward Happy Camp on the south side of the river on Sunday night due to 30mph winds. Most of the smoke in Happy Camp is due to this fire, about four miles downriver. Residents on Curly Jack Road have been contacted as fire crews located all dwellings. Fire fighters said there would be more traffic on Curly Jack Road as they try to stop the fire at Titus Ridge.

Other speakers at this meeting were Kirk Eadie, local assistant fire chief, and Alan Vandiver, Happy Camp District Ranger.

Sergeant John Evans of the Sheriff’s Department updated us on evacuations. He said that if evacuations take place, people without places to go to will now be asked to stay at the Seiad Elementary School rather than the Marble Mountain Ranch. The reason for the change is that now Highway 96 to Yreka is reopened, and the Office of Public Health decided this would be the best location.

Seiad Valley is only eighteen miles from Happy Camp. Evacuees with medical needs can be taken from there to Yreka. There are kennels in Seiad Valley for dogs and cats, but not larger animals. The Karuk Tribe has offered room at its ranch on China Grade Road for horses and other large animals that need to be moved. Space there is limited to 40 head of livestock.

As of Tuesday there’s a new Incident Commander for the Elk Complex Fires, which include the Little Grider Fire. Mike Dietrich, Fire Chief for San Bernadino National Forest, is leading Incident Management Team 5, and will supervise the Elk Complex Fires for the next few days. He congratulated Kent Swartzlander and fire fighters on his team for the “Herculean effort they put into this”. He warned, however, that the rains would not stop the fires and that they will be very difficult to put out because of the terrain here in the Klamath River Valley. He said “this is still a very serious situation” and that once the rain passes, it is expected to heat up again. He emphasized that his number one priority is fire fighter and public safety.

An audience member asked about the six injuries mentioned on the inciweb.com website. Valery Lambeth said these injuries are all minor. They include heat stress, a sprained ankle and a knee injury.

Before leaving the meeting, Kirk Eadie suggested the next meeting date be set. It was agreed that we will meet again on Friday July 20 at 7pm at the Happy Camp Grange Hall. Everyone is invited to attend for another fire update.

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