Orleans Complex Fire Update, September 1, 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: While the smoke inversion stayed heavy around Orleans yesterday, northeast winds on the fire area caused considerable increase in fire activity late yesterday afternoon through the night.
The wind caused spotting on the northwest edge of the Haypress Fire over Forest Road (FR) 15N17 near Irving Mountain at about 8pm last night. The steep terrain and active fire behavior prevented night shift crews from continuing suppression directly on the fires edge. They backed off and began to look for opportunities for containment farther west. On the southwestern edge, the fire was relatively quiet until about 2am, when it began to spread actively. Several fingers of fire moving through stands of heavy timber, including south of Rogers Creek and around Merrill Mountain. Due to hazardous conditions, firefighters were unable to stay actively engaged directly on the fireline there as well. They worked on continuing improvements on FR 12N02 and looked for other opportunities for containment. Fire reached the cabins near Wooley Creek several days ago, and crews in the area were able to successfully burn out around them. They have mopped up and assured containment, and are scheduled to hike out today. The area will continue to be monitored for changes in fire activity.
Activity on the Ukonom Fire also picked up overnight, with a small finger moving southwest toward Ukonom Mountain. It has not crossed any control lines. Crews will continue to monitor its activity. They are prepared to conduct burning operations along FR 13N08 to keep up with fire spread.
The Burney Fire continues to be relatively inactive; with only minimal growth showing on the northwestern edge.
Weather: A Red Flag Warning remains in effect today for hot, dry temperatures and strong ridgetop winds. Gusty northeast winds are expected to continue into this afternoon, then switch to the more typical northerly winds.
Air quality: As high pressure continues to build over the region, smoke from increasing and ongoing fire activity remains stagnant. Poor air quality is expected to impact communities for the next several days. Peaks in the morning into the afternoon and in the evening will be the most severe 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 USG to Very 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).