Orleans Complex Fire Update, August 31, 2017
Incident: Orleans Complex Wildfire
The Orleans Complex is comprised of nineteen fires, three of which remain active. The Ukonom Fire is 4,195 acres and is 52 percent contained. The Haypress Fire is 8,520 acres and 0 percent contained. The Burney Fire is 1,395 acres and 0 percent contained. The Complex is being managed using a combination of containment and confinement strategies.
Current Fire Situation: A heavy smoke inversion moved into the fire area late in the morning and limited visibility throughout the fire area through the day yesterday.
The Haypress Fire continued to move slowly north and northeast through the Marble Mountain Wilderness. Infrared mapping overnight shows fire growing northeast of Haypress Meadow and over Sandy Ridge. Low-intensity fire has moved through the cabins along Wooley Creek, and crews successfully fired around them. They will remain in place today to monitor any continuing fire activity. The most growth overnight was observed around Merrill Mountain, as winds from the northeast pushed the fire toward Forest Road (FR) 15N17. Night shift crews initiated containment work directly on the fire’s edge, but active fire behavior made it too dangerous, and they moved back to FR 15N17, where they continued to clear and prepare the road for firing, should it become necessary today. Yesterday, crews cleared and put in water systems around structures on the south and west sides of the fire in advance of today’s predicted high winds and hot, dry conditions. They will continue improving protection today, and will be prepared should the fire make a push in that direction.
The Ukonom Fire was again relatively inactive, and has held well for multiple days along the Klamath River and west of Ukonom and Lick Creeks. The Burney Fire showed minimal growth as well.
Weather: A Red Flag Warning is in effect for the fire area from 5pm today through 9am on Friday as high pressure will begin to strengthen over the area through the operational period, bringing a noticeable warming and drying trend. Northeast winds gusts on ridgetops could impact the fire this afternoon. Hot, dry conditions are expected to persist through the holiday weekend.
Air quality: Yesterday saw more clearing than previous days. East/Northeast winds are expected today which could bring smoke from other local fires, including those in Oregon, into the area. Air quality is worst during peaks in the morning into the afternoon and in the evening for all areas. During the day, Happy Camp and Seiad Valley will see the worst air quality and may be Hazardous overall. Yreka, the Scott Valley, Callahan, Sawyers Bar, Orleans, and Weitchpec will mainly see Unhealthy and Very Unhealthy conditions. Weed, Hoopa, Willow Creek, and Weaverville can expect air quality ranging from Moderate to Unhealthy. 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. Portions of the Six Rivers and Klamath National Forests are closed. 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.
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 Area (TFR): A TFR is in effect over the fire area to provide a safe environment for firefighting aviation operations (http://bit.ly/2ws6uQq).
Fire Restrictions: The Six Rivers National Forest remains under fire restrictions to provide for public and resource safety (http://bit.ly/2wfQ7Ed).