Forest Fires Near Happy Camp May Force Evacuations Sunday and Monday

By Linda Martin

A new forest fire burning in the hills north and east of the Happy Camp airport may force evacuations of homes around the airport and in Indian Meadows by midday Sunday or Monday morning. More information will be posted as it becomes available if possible. My home is one of those that may have to be evacuated unless the fire is brought under control.

According to a local deputy, bulldozers may be used to widen a forest road behind the airport in an attempt to stop the fire from proceeding into Happy Camp through the area around the airport.

Another fire is burning in the hills south of Elk Creek on the south side of the Klamath River. This fire can be clearly seen from Highway 96, and may threaten homes along Curly Jack Road.

Update, 9:04am – The fire is heading toward Happy Camp. Fire fighters are mapping out home locations in order to provide protection should the fire get close to them. A town meeting will be held at 11am at the Happy Camp Grange Hall to discuss evacuations.

John Evans
Happy Camp deputy John Evans announced evacuation plans at a meeting on Sunday. You can click on this picture for a full size photograph on which the fire maps can be clearly seen.

Update, 11:51am -  I attended the meeting at the Grange. This was one of the best attended community meetings, ever. The place was packed. Valery Lambeth, Plans Section Chief, was MC. The fire above the airport is being called the Little Grider Fire. Rob Rowley, a corporal from the Sheriff’s Department in Yreka is here to help with evacuations. He will work with the Office of Emergency Services after the fire to help with any needed reimbursements.

Marcia Armstrong, our County Supervisor, attended and spoke to us of her support for this town in this time of crisis. Next up was Alan Vandiver, Happy Camp District Ranger. He told us he has over thirty years working with forest fires and gave us confidence that there’s a competent and effective fire fighting team working on controlling this fire.

Kent Swartzlander is the Incident Commander. He provided an overview of the fires currently burning around Happy Camp, including the Little Grider Fire, which is threatening our community.

Local Sheriff’s Dept. Sergeant, John Evans, was next to speak. He told us that evacuations, if needed, will take place from Doolittle Bridge on Indian Creek, all the way south through town to Chambers Flat on Highway 96. He said that if you leave your home you should put a note on the door telling where you’ve gone. That way deputies won’t waste time looking for people who are not on the premises.

Evacuees are requested to drive west from town as there are other fires near Highway 96, east of here. Sheltering for evacuated Happy Campers will take place at Marble Mountain Ranch near Somes Bar. There is limited room for livestock in that location, but it would be preferable for pet and livestock owners to find other accommodations for their animals if at all possible. It is not mandatory for evacuees to go to Marble Mountain Ranch – it is intended as shelter for people with no place else to go.

The area beyond Five Mile Bridge on Elk Creek Road is being evacuated at this time, however this is a conservative distance from fire danger, chosen because there’s a gate that’s easily closed. The residents between Five Mile Bridge and the Klamath River, including Curly Jack Road residents, are not considered at risk at this time though there are quite a few fires burning on that side of the river.

If you have any special needs, you are requested to write them out. A form we received at the meeting asks for your name, information about your special need, your address, your phone number, and your transportation requirements. This information must be taken to the Sheriff’s office in Happy Camp as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the last minute to ask for help.

John Evans stated that they are requesting that people be ready to evacuate within ten minutes, even if woken up at 3 in the morning by a uniformed deputy knocking on your door. The time to pack and get essentials together is now.

Valery Lambeth, Plans Section Chief, MC’d the meeting.rob-rowley.jpg
Rob Rowley of the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department is here to help coordinate evacuation efforts, if needed.

Kent Swartzlander is Incident Commander for the Little Grider Fire.

Alan Vandiver, Happy Camp District Ranger, promised to answer every question before leaving the meeting. Here he is talking to Chris Sorenson, chairman of the Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce.


  • Rick Morrow

    Thank you very much for your information, we are currently out of the area, and it is a vital link. Please keep up the good work.


  • michelle

    The fire updates are great! To all the fire crews keep up the good work, the work you do is amazing!

  • Carol Caie

    I am Rick Morrow’s sister. I live in MI. When he called and told me about the fires and how close they are to Happy Camp, I called my prayer partner and we prayed for all of you. Just wanted you to know that. I will continue to pray.
    Carol Caie

  • roxanne Nielsen and Jack Gilbert

    This is helping all of us who have homes or property in the area to stay updated. We’re all anxious, and your continued updates are most welcome! Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you in Happy Camp.

  • kristal black

    i just want to thank the fire crew for all there hardwork and long hours.i have family there and i been worried about them,love you sam & josh ferguson hope your safe.

  • DJ

    We recently spent a month in Happy Camp, and just wanted to let everyone know that our thoughts and prayers are with you all. It is heartbreaking to consider the ramifications, and we pray for the skills and safety of the firefighters.

  • Wendy R.

    I just heard about the fires and you all will be in my prayers. I grew up in the area and worked at the HC FS for 8 years but now live in TX.

  • Kathie Gustafson

    This is a nice site. My friend is out there from MN on fire assignment and it’s nice to be able to read what is happening near Happy Camp.

  • GP

    Thanks for the hard work. As you can see, we all appreciate it. Another site you can track progress on the fires is InciWeb at

    Hope this helps. Hang in there…

  • Cami Giacomelli-DeClusin

    My son was over there Saturday delivering tires for Dunsmuir Tire Service, and we would like you all to know that our thoughts and prayers have been, & will continue to be with you all!!

  • Rebecca Bentley

    Hang in there guys. Our thoughts are with you from Williams, Oregon. Here is a collection of tips on animal evacuations that was put together after the Biscuit fire; you are welcome to print and distribute if you wish:

  • Deb Heatherstone

    Thanks for this site and info – – my son and daughter in law are there and I am here in Ashland without much news. Our thoughts and prayers are w/ all of you in this time of crisis.

    Bravo to the fire fighters!

  • sharon chambers

    Thanks for the info. My cousin lives there. We live in the bay area and there has been no coverage of the fire here.

  • Bruce and Sandy Waldie

    We visitied Happy Camp for the first time in May on a 49er venture. We fell in love with the area and the people. We are planning on coming back sometime in August. Please know we send our prayers and love to all in Happy Camp.

  • Phyllis Solomon

    My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Please be safe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.