The Bridge at Clear Creek
After an abnormally dry summer, rainstorms have begun to refresh the forest around us. Most of California has reached low fire danger status, but the Forest Service lists the Klamath National Forest as still having a moderate danger of fire as of November 1, 2001.
There have been a total of 227 fires so far this year in our forest. They burned 10,122 acres. Most of the fires, 200 of them, were started by lightning strikes. The remaining 27 fires were started by human error.
Fires started by lightning on Sept. 15, 2001
The Swillup Fire, near Cottage Grove
Forest fires about 12 miles downriver from Happy Camp are only 20% contained. The fires are three of over sixty fires started in the Klamath National Forest by dry lightning strikes in the early morning hours of Saturday, September 15. There was only .27 of an inch of rain with this lightning storm.
The Swillup Fire is burning in the area of Cottage Grove and at this time has covered about 900 acres. The Crawford Fire is upriver closer to Independence Bridge and encompasses about 70 acres. The Red Hill Fire, deep in the Siskiyou Wilderness area, covers about 30 acres.
Smoke blankets Happy Camp today due to weather conditions keeping this layer of air close to the ground. The fires do not threaten Happy Camp at this time and there are no plans to evacuate residences in this area. No structures have been affected by these fires.
Over 900 firefighters are on the job, with 7 air tankers, 7 water tenders, 9 helicopters, 7 bulldozers, 16 engines and 32 hand crews. Burning is currently erratic with winds of up to 12 MPH blowing southwest, and away from Happy Camp. The Swillup Fire has been especially challenging due to rugged, steep terrain, inaccessibility, and heavy fuels, according to Forest Service reports.