Smoke Continues to Drift Into Happy Camp
October 4, 2001 – The Swillup Fire, the largest, most persistent and last active fire of the 47 fires of the Happy Camp Complex is finally close to 100% containment. After a full week of aggressive, but unsuccessful direct attack, firefighters backed off to existing fire lines and roads along a system of ridges surrounding the fire and began backfiring. The backfiring was completed successfully, and all lines are holding. The backfire continues to move slowly down the slopes towards the main fire in the northeast portion of the Swillup Creek watershed. While most of the 1,200 firefighters have returned to their homes, a force of over 200 remain to complete work on the fire.
Fire crews continue to snuff out burning fuels around the 21-mile perimeter of the Swillup Fire, while the remaining fuels in the middle of the 8,300-acre fire area continue to actively burn. Over the course of the last few days, westerly winds have been moving smoke into portions of the Klamath, Scott, and Salmon River Valleys. According to Happy Camp District Ranger Michael Condon, â€œThe smoky conditions are likely to persist for several days. Afternoon winds will increase fire activity over the next few days, as the fire continues to burn on the east side of Swillup Creek. Even though most of the firefighters have returned home, we have more than enough firefighters still assigned to the fire to keep the fire contained while mop-up continues.â€
Condon would also like to remind the public the road closures established within the vicinity of the Swillup Fire on September 19 remain in effect. Those roads are being used as fire lines in some places. Road closures continue to be necessary in order to ensure public and firefighter safety for as long as suppression and rehabilitation work continues in the fire area.
— U.S. Forest Service Press Release
I am amazed by the ability of nature to heal itself. After all the smoke and fire that happened a decade ago, the area is on its way back to a recovery.