Orleans Complex Update - August 5
Incident: Orleans Complex Wildfire
EUREKA, California, August 5, 2017 – Firefighters continue to make good progress on the Orleans Complex, in spite of extremely hot temperatures. The total acreage burned on the entire complex to date is approximately 3,160 acres. The Ukonom Fire has burned about 2,400 acres. The fire continues to back down to Ukonom Creek and the Klamath River on the west, north and east. Containment on the complex is currently only at 5 percent due to the extremely steep terrain, numerous snags, which poses a high risk to firefighters, and the heavy fuels the fire is consuming. After being out of commission the last few days, infrared aircraft was able to fly again Thursday night to provide updated acreage of the fire’s perimeter.
Crews are using existing roads, ridges and strategic firing to establish control lines on the southern perimeter of the fire. The Burney Fire has been burning more actively recently and is approximately 513 acres. The Frank Fire is 13 acres. The Ukonom, Burney and Frank fires make up the East Zone of the complex, which is being managed by NorCal Team 1 under Incident Commander Curtis Coots.
The West Zone of the complex consists of the Dillon and Elk Fires which both are 0.1 acres with 100% containment. The Chimney Fire is 0.5 acres, and the Little Fire is 3 acres. The Forks Fire, which burned more actively yesterday is approximately 230 acres. These fires are 0% contained. Incident Commander Duane Franklin is managing these fires under a Type 3 organization.
There are a total of 755 personnel assigned to the incident, including 17 crews, 19 engines, 10 helicopters, 16 bulldozers and 10 water tenders. Cooperators on the incident include the Karuk and Yurok Tribes, Klamath NF and Bureau of Indian Affairs.
Several Forest Service roads located in the vicinity of the fire are closed to protect people from the risks associated with an active wildfire, including Forest Road No. 15N17Y (Independence Creek Road), from its intersection south with Forest Road No. 15N10 (Titus Ridge Road). The closure also includes Ukonom Creek.
When wildfires occur, air resource advisors assist fire managers by providing timely smoke impact and forecast information based on best-available science. The Forest Service coordinates with multiple agencies to address public health risks related to smoke exposure, risks to transportation safety, and smoke exposure to personnel in fire camps. The team is coordinating with the California Air Resource Board and Siskiyou County Air Pollution Control District to place smoke monitors in areas most likely to be impacted by the Orleans Complex. Currently there are monitors in Orleans, Weitchpec, Hoopa, Sawyers Bar and Willow Creek.
The measurements these smoke monitors gather are the foundation for informing the public and predicting impacts to firefighter and public health. This data is used to analyze and communicate smoke impacts to give people the information they need to minimize their exposure to smoke. An air resource advisor is assigned to the complex to assist with monitoring, modeling and reporting smoke conditions. Smoke monitors provide continuous data that can be used to prepare a daily smoke forecast outlook for surrounding communities. Smoke from other large fires in Northern California and Southern Oregon is also affecting air quality in Siskiyou and Humboldt Counties.
Drivers are asked to use caution and slow down when travelling between Somes Bar and Happy Camp on Highway 96 due to heavy fire traffic. There are one way traffic controls in place between Persidio Bar and Dillon Creek.
The Six Rivers National Forest remains under fire restrictions. Details about these restrictions can be found on the Forest Service Website at www.fs.usda.gov/smf.