Wildfires – California and Oregon
Two wildfires sparked by lightning nearly three weeks ago were still growing on Saturday while threatening as many as 250 homes in far Northern California.
Low humidity and warm weather helped the fires burning in the Klamath National Forest one mile east of the gold mining and logging town of Happy Camp continue its sweep through steep terrain packed with trees desiccated by the state’s extreme drought, Forest Service spokesman Marc Peebles said.
The two fires are the largest among about 20 that broke out in the forest when a thunderstorm moved through the area on Aug. 11. Originally located a few miles apart, they had merged by Saturday morning and together charred more than 90 square miles, about 21 square miles more than a day earlier.
Nearly 2,000 firefighters and 11 helicopters are assigned to the Happy Camp Complex blazes. As of Saturday, they remained just 15 percent contained.
Wildfires are still lighting up parts of Oregon.
The evacuation level has been lowered for areas affected by the Deception Creek Fire, the Willamette National Forest Service announced on Saturday afternoon.
The Deception Creek Mobile Home Park, Middle Fork Ranger Station and homes along La Duke Road are now under evacuation level 1. Area residents are advised to prepare for a potential evacuation but that there’s no immediate threat.
The fire is the largest in the Deception Complex — at 1,916 acres, it makes up the majority of the 2,196–acre affected area. The Oakridge airport is closed to civilian air traffic. It’s currently being used as a helicopter base for fire-fighting crews.
The fire is currently 55 percent contained. It was sparked by lightning in the area in mid-July.
Other fires throughout the state:
The 790 Fire northeast of Medford has charred 2,260 acres. The perimeter is 5 percent contained and the Pacific Crest Trail is still closed from its southern boundary at Crater Lake National Park down to Highway 140. The Forest Service estimates that it was started at approximately 2 p.m. on July 31. The
A fire sparked on Aug. 29 has nearly reached 3,000 acres in size just south of Monument. There’s no cause yet announced for the Lost Hubcap Fire, which burned between 1,200 and 1,500 acres soon after it was reported.
The South Fork Complex Fire is still approximately 96 percent contained. The expected containment date for the 66,179-acre fire is Sept. 1. The Murderer’s and Deer creek recreational facilities are closed as of 4:19 p.m. on Saturday.
The Bald Sisters Fire is also still burning east of Prairie City, which sits west of Baker City. the 1,238-acre blaze has the Beulah Unit bowhunting territory closed for the time being. The fire was sparked by lightning on Aug. 2