Orleans Complex Update - August 2
Incident: Orleans Complex Wildfire
EUREKA, California, August 2, 2017 - The Orleans Complex of eight fires in the Six Rivers National Forest slowly continues to increase in size . As of Wednesday morning, the total acreage estimate for the Complex was 1,565 acres, an increase of about 200 acres since Tuesday.
The Ukonom Fire comprises the bulk of that acreage at approximately 1,300 acres, an increase of about 100 acres from Tuesday. It continues to be the top priority for the 778 firefighter personnel working on the fire, which is being managed by NorCal Incident Management Team 1. Most of the fire activity on the Ukonom Fire is on the northern perimeter and the increase in size has been perpetuated by burning material rolling down steep slopes and causing short uphill runs into heavier fuels.
Crews are continuing to build, improve and strengthen indirect containment lines around the fire, as the terrain is too steep for any direct suppression tactics, Helicopter water drops are being used to keep the fire south of Ukonom Creek and to prevent it from spreading into the adjacent Klamath National Forest.
Crews conducted a defensive firing operation on Tuesday night on the south end of the fire south of Thomas Creek to tie it in with an indirect dozer line to protect structures along Carter Creek. Weather permitting, firing operations could continue to strengthen that containment line on the southern end of the fire where most values at risk are located
The other seven fires in the Complex are burning in remote wilderness areas and are being monitored. Those fires are exhibiting minimal fire behavior, with the Burney Fire in the Marble Mountain Wilderness east of the Ukonom Fire being the most active. The Burney Fire is estimated approximately 100 acres.The five fires west of the Klamath River - Chimney, Dillon, Elk, Forks and Little - have been docile the past few days with minimal smoke.
Extremely hot temperatures in the triple digits continue to pose a challenge for firefighters working to contain the Ukonom Fire, though a modest cooling trend is expected to move into the area on Thursday with a slight chance of thunderstorms on Friday and into the weekend. The hot weather is causing an inversion that concentrates smoke in the valley bottoms inthe morning and evenings.
A public meeting was held on Tuesday night in Orleans to provide information to local residents concerning the fire. Fire managers explained the combination of suppression and confinement tactics they are using on the Complex and provided information about smoke and air quality. The information was well received and those in attendance were supportive of the tactics being used.