Orleans Complex Fire Update, August 27, 2017
Incident: Orleans Complex Wildfire
The Orleans Complex is comprised of nineteen total fires. As of August 27, 2016, thirteen of these have been contained. Six remain active: Ukonom (4,120 acres, 52 percent contained); Haypress (4,555 acres, 0 percent contained); Burney (1,342 acres, 0 percent contained); Forks (243 acres, 0 percent contained); Frank (27 acres, 0 percent contained); and Hooligan (0.1 acres, 0 percent contained). They are being managed using a combination of containment and confinement strategies.
Current Fire Situation: The fires were relatively inactive yesterday as a heavy smoke inversion stayed over the area until late afternoon. On the Haypress Fire, crews began preparing for and initiating tactical firing operations late yesterday afternoon, hoping to take advantage of favorable nighttime conditions to carefully bring fire along Forest Road 15N17. However, humidity rose quickly, and firefighters were only able to make limited progress. Fire along Forest Road 12N08 continued to back slowly toward the road overnight. The cabins on the southeastern side of the Haypress Fire (along Wooley Creek) have had low-intensity fire around them and are faring well. Crews are remaining in place at the cabins to provide structure protection as needed. Some minimal growth on the north end was observed overnight as well. Crews will work today to look at opportunities for containment in the drainage north of, and along, Forest Road 12N02, as well as on the north end of the fire.
The Ukonom Fire also showed minimal growth yesterday, with the most activity observed again on the southeast corner where it bumps against Lick Creek. Containment objectives for the Ukonom Fire include keeping it east of Ukonom and Lick Creeks, and within current containment lines on the north and west sides. Firefighters will continue to mop up and patrol those areas today. They will also begin suppression repair, which can include covering lines opened during fire suppression, creating waterbars, and removing berms to prevent future erosion.
Throughout the fire area, crews are coordinating with local advisors to ensure that all operations are conducted in the best interest of the area’s cultural and natural resources, while providing for firefighter safety.
Weather: Hotter, drier temperatures are expected to persist today as a mid-level ridge strengthens today. The ridge is predicted to weaken early this week, causing slightly cooler temperatures, higher humidity, and scattered afternoon clouds.
Air Quality: Areas in the vicinity of the fires were impacted heavily by smoke yesterday, and can expect similar conditions today. Areas closest to and adjacent from the fires will continue to see the worst air quality. Smoke will settle in valleys but is expected to begin mixing out in the afternoon into the evening. Happy Camp, Seiad Valley, the Scott Valley, Yreka, Sawyers Bar, Orleans, Hoopa Valley, and Weitchpec can expect from Unhealthy to Sensitive Groups to Hazardous Conditions. Air quality in Weed, Callahan, and Willow Creek will likely have Good to Unhealthy to Sensitive Groups levels. Drivers should be aware of limited visibility and changes in traffic flow.
Information on the health effects of smoke and what you can do to reduce your smoke exposure can be found at [https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/wildfires/smoke.html].
Safety: Bow hunting season is open. Firefighters may be conducting suppression activities in hunting areas. Contact your local ranger station for current closure information. Motorists traveling on State Highway 96 are reminded that there will be numerous firefighting vehicles on the roadway. Please drive with caution, and be aware that smoke may cause limited visibility.
Closures: The Klamath National Forest has issued Closure Order No. 17-05-801 to close trails, roads, and lands on the Ukonom Ranger District as a result of Orleans Complex fires:
Closure Order No. 17-05-797 closes a portion of the Ukonom and Happy Camp Ranger Districts northeast of the Ukonom Fire
Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR): A TFR is in effect over the fire area to provide a safe environment for firefighting aviation operations (http://bit.ly/2ws6uQq).Burning Restrictions: The Six Rivers National Forest remains under fire restrictions to provide for public and resource safety. Details about these restrictions can be found on the forest website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd550653.pdf.