August 5th Update: Wildfires Rage On, Evacuations Still in Effect

Aug 5, 2014

UPDATED | Tuesday 1:00 pm 

Wildfires are still burning throughout Northern California as firefighters continue to prepare for another round of thunderstorms on Tuesday. Towns along the California/Oregon border and Northern California are still at risk, and numerous homes and buildings have already been destroyed. California Governor Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency late Saturday due to the fast-moving lightning-caused fires, which triggered evacuation orders throughout the area. Here is an update of the major fires threatening the listening area, county by county: 

Shasta County

Several wildfires are burning in the eastern part of Shasta County. The Eiler Fire is burning just 5 miles southeast of Burney near Old Station, and the Bald Fire is just 8 miles southeast of the town of Fall River Mills. 

The Eiler Fire has grown to a total of over 31,000 acres as of Wednesday morning. Officials report 35% containment. The Eiler Fire is close to a number of communities and has burned at least 8 homes and 20 additional structures near the Honn Campground. A number of structures in Hat Creek have burned, including the town's only restaurant. 

Evacuations have been lifted for the area. 

Further east on the Shasta-Lassen county line, the Bald Fire has grown to nearly 40,000 acres and is 30% contained. The fire has also crossed into Lassen National Park. Evacuations remain in effect for residents of Little Valley in Lassen County, though officials are hoping to have those evacuations lifted by late Tuesday. Residents may use the evacuation centers at Fall River High School, Black Butte High School, or Foothill High School. 

Trinity County

The Coffee Fire is burning in the Trinity Alps Wilderness of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest near the small community of Coffee Creek. On Tuesday morning, fire officials reported the fire at about 4,500 acres. Crews have managed to establish an anchor point with this fire, and have reached 10% containment. Due to the difficult terrain in the region, mule teams are being utilized to transport equipment for firefighters (see photo in slide show above). Fire officials predict the fire will continue to spread north and west. No evacuation orders have been issued for the area at this time. 

After thunderstorms in the area Monday night, firefighters are on the lookout for new fires caused by wind and lightning. More thunderstorms are in the forecast for Tuesday.

Siskiyou County

There are currently several fires in Siskiyou County, including the July Complex, a group of three fires (the Log Fire, Whites Fire, and Leef Fire) burning a total of over 6,800 acres southwest of Yreka. The Log Fire is burning just a few miles west of Greenview, California near Fort Jones. Firefighters are constructing a fireline in the Mill Creek drainage to keep the fire from spreading. Four miles east of Sawyer's Bar, fire crews are looking for a place to construct a fireline that will protect the area’s historic mining district, which is being threatened by the Whites Fire. As of Tuesday morning, the Leef Fire, seven miles southwest of Callahan, has reached full containment and is in the mop-up stage. The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office has issued an evacuation advisory to residents of Quartz Valley and Mugginsville. According to the Sheriff, an evacuation center has been established at Scott Valley Junior High in Fort Jones.

Officials say thunderstorms in the area Monday night didn't worsen conditions--in fact, the humidity may have helped firefighting efforts. However, more thunderstorms are possible for Tuesday, and the National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning from 1 p.m. until 11 p.m. 

Meanwhile, command of the large Oregon Gulch Fire and the much smaller Salt Creek Fire in Oregon is now jointly managed as the Beaver Complex.  The fires began in Jackson County last Wednesday. The Salt Creek fire has been contained to about 150 acres 20 miles northwest of Medford and crews are now conducting mop-up operations.  The Oregon Gulch fire moved into Klamath County, and then rapidly spread southeast into California's Siskiyou County and is now endangering the city of Yreka's water supply. Fire officials say the fire continues to spread east, and more evacuations may occur. 

In Jackson County, there is a level 2 evacuation from the 6,000 block of Copco Road to the South Oregon border. Level 2 evacuation means there is a high level of danger and residents must be ready to evacuate on a moment's notice. A level 2 evacuation is also in effect in Klamath River Canyon from John C. Boyle Dam to the California border. Nearly 9,500 acres have burned in Siskiyou County, while more than 27,000 acres have burned in Oregon. Officials report 30% containment. 

The Little Deer Fire, burning north of Grass Lake ten miles from Tennant has grown to 5,279 acres as of Tuesday morning, and is 60% contained. Fire officials say no structures are threatened at this time, but the fire is burning close to Highway 97, private timberlands and the Union Pacific railroad. Highway 97 may be subject to closure and/or California Highway Patrol escorted traffic for the next 2-3 days, although Union Pacific Railroad service has been re-established. 

A Red Flag Warning is in effect for thunderstorm activity in the area on Tuesday from 1 p.m. until 11 p.m.

There are more than twenty additional fires burning in Siskiyou County. The Beaver Fire, burning north of Highway 96 in the Happy Camp/Oak Knoll Ranger District of the Klamath National Forest, continues to grow. The fire has burned about 11,500 acres, and is only 2% contained. No structures have been destroyed, although the fire is growing closer to residences along Highway 96. The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office has issued an evacuation advisory for residents of the Beaver Creek area from Fisher’s RV Park to the Forest Service Oak Knoll Work Center. 

An evacuation center has been established at the Jackson Street Elementary School in Yreka, which can also handle animals and small livestock. 

Highway 96 is open to local traffic only. The highway is closed from the town of Klamath River to 12 miles West of the junction of Highway 263 according to Caltrans

There will be a meeting Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Klamath River Community Center. 

Modoc County

The Day Fire is burning two miles north of the community of Day in Modoc County, threatening 150 structures, but fire crews are reporting progress. According to Cal Fire, the fire has burned over 13,000 acres as of Tuesday morning, and firefighters were able to increase containment to 65%. According to Cal Fire, evacuations for Lookout Ranchettes have been lifted. Five residences and one outbuilding have been destroyed, and there have been four associated injuries. 

Mendocino County

The Lodge Lightning Complex Fire is burning in the remote Elkhorn Ridge Wilderness near Laytonville, and doubled in size during the day Saturday. Cal Fire officials report that the fire continues to grow due to dry conditions and the area’s steep and rugged terrain, which limits accessibility. The fire has burned over 3,500 acres and remains at 15% containment as of Tuesday morning. Seventeen structures are threatened, but no evacuations have been ordered.