Update on the Happy Camp Complex Fires

Press release from the U.S. Forest Service:

Current Information

QUICK FACTS

Start date: Aug. 11

Size: 62,626 acres

Containment: 15 percent

Estimated Containment Date: Sept. 8

Cost: $31.9 Million

Total personnel: 2,116

Committed resources: 52 crews; 19 helicopters; 137 engines; 18 dozers; 26 water tenders

Traffic Control

Highway 96 remains open. However, traffic control began this weekend. The area involved is from the intersection of Highway 96 and Scott River Road to Walker Creek Bridge. Expect some delays as pilot cars will assist with safe movement in and around firefighters and equipment. These measures will be in place for the next several days or as long as fire and smoke conditions dictate.

All Evacuation orders remain in effect for the below areas. People in areas under mandatory evacuation should be aware they may not be able to reenter the evacuation area until fire danger has passed. The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Department will be patrolling 24 hours in the evacuated areas.

Due to increased fire activity of the Happy Camp Complex, the following evacuation orders are currently in effect:

Mandatory Evacuations

Scott River Road from Bridge Flat to the intersection of Hwy. 96

All areas south of Hwy. 96 from Scott River Road down river to Cade Summit

Advisory Evacuation

All areas north of Hwy. 96 between Scott River Road and Grider Creek

An evacuation center is located at Winema Hall at the Siskiyou County Fairgrounds, 1712 Fairlane Road, Yreka. Both large and small animals will be accommodated at the Fairgrounds. Large animal transport can be arranged through the Sheriff's Posse. Contact Jodi Aceves, (530) 340-2422 to arrange transport. For more information contact the Siskiyou County Sheriff Department at (530) 841-2900

Fire Information

The Happy Camp Complex is now 62,626 acres with 15-percent containment. The Frying Pan and Faulkstein fires have merged into one; acres reported are for the entire Happy Camp Complex. Personnel have increased almost 10 percent and there are now 137 engines and 19 helicopters assigned to this incident. No structures have been lost or damaged. Command of the complex will transition to California Team 3. Structure defense preparations and planning continue today. Resources are in place to engage as needed on Hwy 96 and Scott River Road. Approximately 695 homes are being threatened, and there are currently mandatory evacuations and advisories affecting approximately 250 homes. Additional evacuations may be necessary as the fire progresses.

People should exercise care when driving in smoky, low-visibility conditions.

Last night's public meetings in Seiad and Happy Camp were both well attended.

Zone 2 (east side of fire): Firefighters continue to make progress creating containment lines around the fire. There should be cooler temperatures and light winds out of the northwest today. Smoke is predicted to remain over the fire and surrounding areas, which will impact firefighter's efforts including the ability to use aircraft on the fire. The fire is expected to continue to spread north towards Hwy 96 and east toward Scott River Road and Middle Creek Meadows. Limited fire spread is predicted towards Packer Valley. Communities along Scott River Road and Hwy 96 continue to be threatened, including Seiad, Hamburg, Kelsey and Scott Bar areas.

Wildfire smoke on roads or in aviation corridors can place the public and firefighters at risk. Reduced visibility from smoke is especially a concern in the southeast where "whiteout" conditions are more likely when low wind speeds and high humidity are present.

Zone 1 (west side of fire): Yesterday, the fire was active on south and west facing slopes, but much less active on north and east facing terrain. Engines and crews are being deployed in a manner that makes them available for initial attack if the need arises. Crews continue mopping up to reduce the chance of the fire spreading further. They are also continuing to provide structure defense for properties at risk. Equipment has been prepositioned for immediate use should the need arise. The Zone 1 incident command post is located in Happy Camp.

Forest Closures and Restrictions

Roads, trails and lands within and adjacent to the Happy Camp and July complexes, as well as the Beaver Fire, are closed to protect public and firefighter safety. This includes those sections of the Pacific Crest Trail within closure areas. Maps and descriptions of closed areas are available at Klamath National Forest offices in Yreka, Fort Jones, Happy Camp and Macdoel. For details on this closure and other fire area closures, please see http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/klamath/alerts-notices. Approximately 75 percent of the 1.7 million acre Klamath National Forest remains open to forest adventures.

Weather and Fire Behavior

Today should be the beginning of another warming and drying trend as high pressure begins to develop over the region. Temperature could trend as much as 5-10 degrees warmer today. Light northerly winds are expected over the fire today. With more stable air the potential for large fire growth will be diminished. Poor visibility will limit air operations.

Safety

If heavy smoke is present, those who are more vulnerable should take precautions and avoid prolonged or heavy outside activity. Your own body and its response is the best indicator of the impact of smoke. People should keep in mind smoke impacts can change quickly. Sensitive or at-risk individuals may consider leaving the area when a long-durations smoky wildfire is forecasted. Individuals at risk should consult their healthcare provider for evaluation of their best course of action and protective measures. A Clean Air Respite Center is located at the Karuk Tribe Senior Nutrition Center in Happy Camp (64101 Second Avenue). The center is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily and will remain open longer if needed due to smoky conditions.

Air quality

Conditions will be similar to yesterday, however expect more smoke in communities west of the fires. Smoke should be pushed to the south in the morning hours and to the southeast by mid-afternoon. Today is forecasted to be warmer and drier which may increase fire activity and result in greater smoke production. For air-quality details, visit http://californiasmokeinfo.blogspot.com/

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