Happy Camp District Ranger Tom Mutz at Meeting to Discuss Goff Fire
by Judy Bushy, Editor.
by Judy Gushy
Before Christmas there was a meeting to discuss the Goff Fire Healthy Forest Restoration Act Project. The Project deals with the area of last year’s Goff Fire near Seiad Valley.
The next meeting is Thursday at 6:00 pm at the Seiad Valley Fire Department located at 44601 Highway 96, Seiad Valley, CA. This is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to make recommendations and share relevant information with our.
Forest Service workers who must plan and develop the purpose and propose actions for the project. The collaboration process is intended to be a problem-solving process in which a diverse group of interested parties work together early and throughout the planning process to develop widely supported solutions to questions of concern. Do some research on the Website under the Goff HFRA project where Public comments are available for viewing.For more information about this project and the collaboration meetings call Lisa Bousfield, (530) 493-1766, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another coming event is the Valentine’s Community Market on February 14th. Last year Kathy Harvey had flowers and plants as well as her beautiful photography and special Valentine treats for the Community Market by the Chamber office. Maria Straus had delicious cheesecakes also, yum! See the Chamber Office weekday afternoons if you have gift ideas for sweethearts on this special day that you’d like to put up a table for the Valentine’s Community Market.
Ruth Bain said that the Grange is also planning a dinner for that special day. So be sure and ask your Sweetheart out to dinner to celebrate Valentine’s day. It will be here before you know it!
See also news of Rockin’ the Klamath on Art & Entertainment page (contents on left)
Sorry that the Calendar hasn’t been working but it will be updated by Groundhog Day!
It was a pleasure to run into Ken Harris at
the Pizza House today!! We have enjoyed Alan Vandiver as our
District Ranger, and Don Hall as acting Deputy District Ranger. Don
Hall has planned to retire the end of the year and we will really
miss him a great deal. Alan has moved to the coast.
Now Ken Harris will take the helm as the new District Ranger on the
Happy Camp and Oak Knoll Ranger District. Ken was just on the
Salmon/Scott River Ranger District.
Ken’s a long-time resident of Siskiyou County, Etna precisely. His
career began as a firefighter on the Angeles National Forest and he
spent a year in Alaska before coming to the Klamath for the first
time in 1978. After earning a degree in Forest Management from
Humboldt State University in 1980, he worked on the Scott River,
Ukonom, Salmon River , and Oak Knoll Ranger Districts. Harris also
served on the Lassen National Forest before coming back to the
Klamath to work on the Goosenest Ranger District in 2006. That is
where our son Stephen has been working summers and met Ken Harris.
Ken even took a break in his Forest Service career, as my husband
Dan did, and also taught school during that time. Harris was a
consultant for private landowners as well as teaching. Theresa
teaches school at Scott River Junior High School in Fort Jones .
Together they have three children: Kari, a college student in San
Diego ; Staci, who lives and works in Etna; and Ashley, a college
student in Kansas.
As a District Ranger, Harris looks forward to working with all
interested publics and people who have different viewpoints. He
said, “The Happy Camp/Oak Knoll District has phenomenal resources.
It’s possible, and desirable, to bring differing interests together
to work toward solutions so we can manage these resources wisely.”
Harris has been a member of the Etna Lions Club, coached sports
teams, and officiated at high school and youth football in Siskiyou
Personnel are changing all over the Klamath Forest . Patty Grantham,
Deputy Forest Supervisor since February 2007 and acting Forest
Supervisor for the past five months, has been named as the new
Forest Supervisor for the Klamath National Forest .
NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING — POST FIRE TIMBER SALVAGE
Location: Happy Camp Grange Hall
Date/Time: October 2, 2007 at 6:30 PM.
By Alan Vandiver, District Ranger
The recent fires in the Happy Camp Ranger District were generally of moderate and low intensity. In most areas, overstory mortality was scattered or confined to small groups of trees. However, on about 15% of the burn area, fire was intense enough to kill larger groups of mature trees.
Just after September 1st, I began to gather preliminary data on these areas. This initial effort will be complete by the end of the month. On October second, my staff and I would like to present this information to you and hear your thoughts on how this timber should be used. We are particularly interested in your thoughts on harvest, retention for ecosystem function and burned area harvest effects such as yarding systems, soil and watershed effects.
I would also like to use this notice to provide a brief update about ongoing rehabilitation and repair efforts associated with the fire.
Roads: Where draws were intensely burned above roads, there is a higher risk that debris will wash down hill to plug culverts. This would, in turn, wash out roads and deliver sediment into streams. We have mapped these high risk areas and are developing a plan to patrol/clean these culverts during the upcoming rainy season. It looks like funding will be available to do this.
Although I closed roads for safety reasons during the fires, I began opening roads as safety concerns diminished. All roads that were open prior to the fires have been reopened.
Fireline: I was, and continue to be, very concerned about repair of the dozer line built during the fires. All indirect dozer line has now been water barred and covered with slash to reduce watershed, soils, fisheries and wildlife impacts. Crews and equipment continue working on perimeter and interior dozer lines.
Silviculture: As smoke cleared and dust settled, District personnel began to evaluate mortality in harvested stands. This effort began with a helicopter flight on August 28. District personnel mapped concentrations of mortality in large trees and in plantations. Unfortunately, more than 1000 acres will need to be replanted. Plantations at the heads of draws which aligned with the wind during the fire suffered complete mortality in many cases. Since the first part of September, we have been building on this initial aerial mapping to plan reforestation efforts for next year.
I look forward to visiting with you on October 2nd and to hearing your thoughts and concerns regarding post fire management.
The above photos of Happy Camp during the ’87 fires are by Jim Waddell and Kerry Waddell respectively. Thank you for sharing the photos with Happy Camp News readers!
Just two days before Labor Day, 1987, after a summer of rainless heat had baked the woods to kindling, over 11,000 lightning strikes hit and the western states began to burn. During the following 8 weeks the worst fires in nearly 100 years devastated 9 states, including 1,300 square miles in California and Oregon. The wildfire devastation included 406 square miles of the Klamath National Forest and became known as “Fire Siege ’87″.
During the first week of the fires 1,274 people were involved with fighting 20,675 acres of wildfires on the Klamath National Forest. By the eighth week 75 wildfires had burned a total of 258,764 acres, or 15%, of the 1.7 million land base of the Klamath National Forest.
The lives of three firefighters were claimed by “Fire Siege ’87″ on the Klamath National Forest. Heavy smoke trapped by temperature inversions plagued firefighters and rural residents for weeks on end. Firefighters from across the country, including U.S. military, federal, state and county agencies, as well local residents joined forces to combat the fires. At the peak some 8,003 people battled the wildfires.
The parallels between “Fire Siege ’87″ and the recent China-Back and Elk Complexes are impressive, stated Forest Supervisor Peg Boland. “It takes all of us working together to manage a major fire suppression incident. The help we recently experienced is an excellent example of working together to successfully achieve a common goal that benefited the communities as well as National Forest natural resources.”
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.
Crowds at the Town Meetings have noticeably thinned. There was no one from the Sheriff’s Department advising us on evacuation plans. There was no one from the National Type 1 Team under Mike Dietrich because the teams changed on Monday. Kent Swartzlander, Incident Commander a couple of weeks ago, and his team are back to work on the fire for the next couple of weeks.
All the news was good news. While there were questions, more than one citizen in the meeting made a point to say “thank you” to the firefighters for their work and professionalism and for keeping us informed.
They are still watching, patrolling and mopping up. Elk Creek Road is still closed at Five-mile Bridge.
Phyllis Swanson, who wore a National Park Service patch on her shoulder, was the Public Information Officer who began the meeting. Don Hall, Deputy District Ranger was back from a few days off, which we were glad to hear. Fatigue management is important in keeping our firefighters and all of the planning and support personnel safe. Being overly fatigued from too many 14 to 16 hour days is a good way to have casualties.
Harold Tripp of Karuk Department of Natural Resources says that he was very pleased with both teams that have been here working these fires. He said it used to be that he didn’t like some of the back burns, but when done carefully, keeping low intensity and slowly creeping down hill, he has seen how very effective it can be.
Present manpower is about 900 firefighters and in the next four or five days it will be reduced to half that. At the same time, they will continue to monitor and patrol, and there will be restoration and repair projects going on.
The nice thing about these public Town Meetings is the opportunity to meet new residents to Happy Camp. It was an added joy and good occasion when we face possible disaster together. The main theme of tonight’s meeting was that we are very grateful for the work, skill, and abilities of the firefighting teams who save our town and community!
ONE LAST THING, this story could have had a much more disastrous ending if it had not been for our Fire Safe Council. They have worked for the last few years to put a ring of protection around our community so that a wildfire coming our way could be more easily controlled. If you appreciate their work, please tell them so. Better yet, volunteer to help them as they are very busy people who put in a great many hours to help the community in this way. Duane Armbruster, 493-2740, also put up the sign, by the car wash. George Harper, Carol Sharpe, and George Bernhard are crucial personnel on this volunteer organization that helps keep us safe from fire.
Total Complex Acreage: 9,085 acresÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Incident Resources:1,145 personnelTotal Complex Containment: 22%Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Expected Full Containment:7/29/2007Cost to Date:$8,201,274Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Injuries to Date (minor): 8Structures Threatened: 550Â The top priority is the protection of the Happy Camp, Hamburg, and Elk Creek communities. Yesterday, crews made great progress constructing fireline (see list below).Â The burnout on the Little Grider Fire began yesterday and initial results were positive. An increase in smoke is expected in the Happy Camp area. Additional fire activity was observed as a result of a warming trend.Â Â
Complex Fire Details
Of the thirty identified fires in the Elk Complex, 24 fires are 100% contained. The fires will continue to be monitored, patrolled and staffed as resources allow. The remaining six fires are as follows:
Little Grider Fire (1,952 acres) 50% contained.Â The first stage of the Perkins Gulch burnout was conducted and yielded beneficial results.
King Creek II Fire (2895 acres) 25 % contained.Â Firefighters made significant progress on the fireâ€™s southern and western perimeters.
Wingate (916 acres) 5% contained.Â Crews established a line from Titus Ridge west to the Klamath River.
Elk Fire (1144 acres) 40% contained.Â Crews are camped near the fire and continue containment efforts.
Titus Fire (2026 acres)5% contained. Â A recommended evacuation for homeowners, and closure for campers and miners, from Five Mile Bridge to Norcross Campground on Elk Creek Road remains in place.Â Firelines have been constructed around structures.
Hummingbird Fire (80 acres) 0% contained.
Â Evacuation Planning:
The Siskiyou County Sheriffâ€™s Office has taken steps to locate an evacuation center at Seiad Elementary School in the event evacuation becomes necessary.Â Individuals with special needs, such as those requiring mobility assistance, need to notify the Sheriffâ€™s Office ahead of time.
In the event of an evacuation, small animals will be accepted at Seiad Elementary and large animals may be taken to the Karuk Ranch at China Grade Road at the two-mile marker.Â All animal owners are asked to be responsible for the feeding and care of their pets at both locations.
Fridayâ€™s Town Hall meeting at the Happy Camp Grange was smaller than previous meetings. While it is encouraging that the residents of Happy Camp feel safer, communication is a vital part of being in the midst of a wildfire crisis. The threat is abated with the rain and cooler temperatures, but with another two months of fire season to go, and several active fires in the vicinity, the crisis isnâ€™t over yet.
Don Hall, Deputy District Ranger, spoke to the questions about what â€œyou guysâ€ are doing. He drove down Curly Jack showing the Klamath National Forest Supervisor what was happening and there were hotshot crews next door to his own home. Teams were going door to door on Curly Jack Road, Division L for evacuation purposes, and informing residents of precautions and preparations. At his home, in the early morning hours, smoke was wafting up from the Wingate, also. So it isnâ€™t â€œthose guysâ€ – it is our neighbors involved. Those from far away usually live in a place where they also experience this same crisis. So the people making the decisions about this fire are not only considering public safety from a professional level but also feel it very personally.
Just a few days ago the wind was 20 to 30 mph, the temperatures were going over 100, we had raging crown fires and lots of smoke. They were planning to build a protected box like area around the town.
Then the rain slowed things down. The crews didnâ€™t sit back and relax. They have put in 30 miles of bulldozer line and 34 miles of hand lines and brush clearing. Thatâ€™s a lot of hard work but the forest dries out fast at 100-degree heat. On Wednesday afternoon the Wingate fire had showed what it could do when it traveled 2 Â½ miles in four hours! We are grateful for only one additional injury and that it was minor.
They are ready to go on more direct attack where possible. In some areas that are â€œsteeper than a cowâ€™s faceâ€ Dietrich said that they are too steep and too isolated and couldnâ€™t get a dozer in unless they park it in the river, â€œwhich is not cool.â€ Firefighters are too dear to risk to rock climbing challenges. As Incident commander, Mike Dietrich also mentioned that everyone in the country is working with fires in Idaho, Utah and Nevada as well as elsewhere.
Sheriffâ€™s Dept, Sgt John Evans said Seiad School remains the emergency evacuation site and signs have been posted. Be prepared, and once you do clear evacuation areas, keep the roads clear and donâ€™t block the firefighters work.
Kirk Eadie, Assistant Chief of the Happy Camp Volunteers, also said we need to keep “heads up”. Keep informed. Be ready and be prepared. We appreciate Mike Dietrich and his team keeping us informed so we donâ€™t fall to senseless rumors but can know the truth.
Harold Tripp, with the Karuk Tribe, said it is great working on this team with Don and Alan, Happy Camp District Ranger. His job is to inform firefighting teams about protecting any cultural sensitive areas and he was glad that the fire has not destroyed any sites. The dozer lines are following previous lines as much as possible.
Questions from the gathered Happy Camp citizens involved bringing their horses home, how long the river would be closed to rafting, and how the fire will affect the river view. Many questions have to wait to see what happens in the next four or five days but the team is doing all it can to limit the intensity and severity of damage to as much land as possible and ensure public safety and protect lives of both community and firefighters. Thankfully injuries have been minor considering the harsh terrain where the fires are located. Next meeting is scheduled at the Grange on Tuesday, July 24th at 7 oâ€™clock.
It is surprising how many people you’ll meet on Happy Camp’s Town Trail. When we hike the trail, we nearly always run into someone. It may be Forest Service employees getting into shape for backwoods exertion, teachers, friends, or teenagers. The funniest was when two horses came up the trail complete with riders. Our dog had never seen a horse before and was so frightened he hid behind us.
It takes me almost an hour to get to the end of the trail – all uphill. When I arrive, there’s a picnic table to sit at and the beautiful view of Happy Camp to look at. It is well-worth the climb.
To get to the Town Trail, cross the Elk Creek Bridge to the south side of the Klamath River in Happy Camp. It is about a mile to the Town Trail sign on Elk Creek Road where you can park and start hiking. Hiking is a great way to lose weight and stay in shape. Take lots of water, especially on hot summer days.