Orleans Complex Fire Update, September 2, 2017
Incident: Orleans Complex Wildfire
The Orleans Complex is comprised of nineteen fires, three of which remain active. The Ukonom Fire is 4,227 acres and is 52 percent contained. The Haypress Fire is 11,318 acres and 0 percent contained. The Burney Fire is 1,451 acres and 0 percent contained. The complex is being managed using a combination of containment and confinement strategies.
Current Fire Situation: A public meeting will be held at the Karuk DNR at 3pm today. If possible, the meeting will be livestreamed on the Six Rivers National Forest’s facebook page. Failing that, the operational update will be recorded and shared on facebook after the meeting.
On the Haypress Fire, crews worked overnight to hold fire on Forest Road (FR) 13N11 in the area of Irving Mountain. Their initial line, the Camp Three Road (FR 14N17), was compromised due to northeast winds several nights ago. Fire activity along the new line has been fairly minimal for the last several shifts as the fire slowly backs towards the road. Crews will continue today to work on improving the road to attempt to hold the fire on FR 13N11. However, they are concerned about their ability to hold the line due to burning material, which can roll off the slope and ignite the unburned area. Another northeast wind event is predicted to begin as early as Sunday night. Because of these factors, and the limited number of fire crews available nationwide, crews will begin assessing needs for point protection along Highway 96 from Burns Creek to Somes Bar today. Residents should expect to see firefighters along the road and in and around residences today. No evacuations orders, precautionary or otherwise, are in effect at this time, but residents should stay alert for conditions to change. Questions can be directed to the Orleans Complex Fire Information line at (619) 359-3415. The fire also burned steadily around Merrill Mountain overnight, but made no major runs.
The Ukonom Fire and Burney Fires have remained relatively quiet for the last few shifts. The fire has moved west upslope from Lick Creek through timber stands, but has reached FR 13N02 in one place.
Weather: Weather today is expected to be relatively quiet, with continued warm, dry temperatures and light winds. Valley winds are predicted to be normal up-slope, up-canyon in the afternoon, shifting to down-slope, down-canyon at night, while ridgetop winds northeast 3-6mph becoming northwest 4-8mph with gusts to 12mph in the afternoon. Gusty northeast winds are possible Sunday night and Monday morning. A chance of thunderstsorms remains in the forecast for Monday through Wednesday.
Air quality: As high pressure lingers over the region, smoke from increasing and ongoing fire activity remains stagnant. Although poor air quality is expected through the weekend, communities to the SW of the fires may see some lifting later in the day. Happy Camp and Seiad Valley will continue to see the worst air quality. Yreka, the Scott Valley, Callahan, Sawyers Bar, will mainly see Unhealthy conditions. Weaverville can expect Unhealthy and potentially Very Unhealthy conditions as a result of the Helena Fire to the West. 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).