Natchez Fire; Sign up for Code Red and Be Prepared!

by Judy Bushy, printed in SDN Klamath Views July 24, 2018

Code Red symbol for the Siskiyou County Emergency Services Notification


It was great to see Patti Grantham, forest Supervisor Friday. Of course, from 8 AM the previous Sunday morning we’d heard the thunder roll. When you hear the thunder, lightning isn’t far off. When there’s lightning, it’s likely to cause the fires, no matter how much we wish it wouldn’t. There were probably 28 lightning strikes or could have been fifty, but a dry forest means a lightning strike is likely to spark a wildfire!

After days of smoke in the air, we met at the Grange. There were a lot of people at the Grange for that meeting and in an official capacity from Klamath National Forest as well as the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest since the biggest share of the local fires is over the hill in the Oregon sector. That is the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in Region 6, whereas we are in Region 5.

Siskiyou County Sheriff Office was represented by Deputy Tygart and I believe Deputy Garrison popped in part of the time. Our local Volunteer Fire Departments, Eric Haskell for Happy Camp and Tom Mopas for Seiad Valley Fire Fighters were there. Eric was handing out masks to wear when the air is smoky. Josh Veal came as Public Affairs officer with Patricia , Klamath Forest Supervisor. Our own District Ranger Jeff Marszal has moved on to Gasquet and our new District Ranger arrives in September.

Fire Fighters Spike Camp is up at the Page Mountain Snow Park, so that’s a busy place right now. Traffic can go over the hill to Oregon from Happy Camp, but check because Fire Situation is apt to change “with the wind” and public safety concerns. The Pacific Trail is closed, so if you wanted to hike that way, you’ll have to wait until it is deemed safe by the Rangers to open it up to hikers again.

When and if the Sheriff’s department calls the Red Alert List, it is imperative that if it’s a warning, you prepare to leave. If it is evacuation, leave right away. There were a number of questions as to when warnings versus evacuation would be announced, but the answer in most cases is “it all depends.” So many factors may be involved in the desire to keep people safe. In the meantime, keep your property clear of brush in an approved perimeter. That’s always important and we appreciate the work of the Fire Safe Council who helps in that regard.

Think ahead about what you will take, how you will move livestock and pets, and where you will go in case of evacuation. It is always wise to have a plan in place that all the family understands and can put into practice if needed.

Siskiyou County has a Red Code Emergency System. According to Siskiyou County, “This service can be used in case of fires, chemical spills, evacuations, lock downs, downed power lines, lost individuals, natural disasters, abductions, water system problems, bomb threats, or other emergencies. Calls can be geographically targeted for localized messaging. If widespread, the entire community could be called within 20 to 30 minutes. The system also reports who did not get a call so that they may be contacted by other means.

“Siskiyou County residents are welcome and encouraged to enter their contact information for home, business, and mobile phones so they may be contacted by the system in the event of an emergency. It is important for residents and businesses customers to register, especially if they use unlisted numbers, cell phones, or VOIP. Those who do not register their address and phone number may not be notified with CodeRED in the case of an emergency. Registration is confidential, free, and easy at www.co.siskiyou.ca.us/content/codered-emergency-alert-system.

In the meantime stay cool and take precautions about this smoky air. Drink plenty of liquids to keep hydrated and if you are a praying person, include the fire fighters in your intercession. Remember the Karuk Clinic and Senior Nutrition has hours for elders who need it to escape the heat and smoke.

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