Orleans Complex Fire Update, September 3, 2017
Incident: Orleans Complex Wildfire
ORLEANS, California, September 3, 2017 – In late July, a series of thunderstorms passed through northern California igniting the19 fires, three of which remain active. The Ukonom Fire is 4,227 acres; Haypress Fire is 11,318 acres; Burney Fire is 1,451 acres. The complex is being managed using a combination of containment and confinement strategies.
Current Fire Situation: Fire behavior has been moderated by a heavy smoke inversion that persisted yesterday and through the night.
An advisory evacuation warning will be issued today for residents east of Highway 96 from Burns Creek south to Somes Bar, and along the Salmon River Road from Somes Bar to Wooley Creek. Today, residents can expect to see local law enforcement and fire staff at their properties. At this time, the fire is not spreading quickly. This is an advisory evacuation warning. The evacuation warning was triggered by burning material rolling from the uphill side of Forest Road (FR) 3N11 and igniting unburned vegetation below. A northeast wind event is predicted for today, which could cause the fire to spread towards Highway 96. Please contact the Fire Information Line at 619-359-3415 or 530-572-1129 (new today) with questions or concerns.
Overnight, the smoke lifted periodically for firefighters to observe the fire moving west and south around Merrill Mountain. Crews worked to contain spot fires west of Irving Mountain. Road access to those spot fires is compromised by numerous snags. Crews will assess and remove snags today to keep the roads passable. More spot fires are likely in the area. Today, firefighters will work on preparing for structural protection in the evacuation warning area. This includes clearing brush, opening and improving previously built firelines, setting up sprinklers and hoselays, and installing temporary water tanks. Residents are encouraged to take any action that they can to improve their properties, as firefighting resources are extremely limited due to the large number of emergency incidents across the country. Fire Information Officers are available to answer any questions.
The Ukonom Fire continued minimal burning in timber stands north and east of Lick and Ukonom Creeks, but no significant growth was observed. The Burney Fire is in the wilderness with minimal activity.
Weather: Smokey, dry conditions are expected to persist through the day, with temperatures moderated if the smoke inversion stays in place. Typical weak northeast winds in the morning will shift to northwest in the afternoon. Tonight, into Monday morning, critical fire weather conditions are possible as gusty northeast to east winds develop and low relative humidity continues.
Air quality: No smoke report will be issued today due to a change in staffing. Daily reports will resume tomorrow.
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. Should the fire reach the road, drivers can expect periods of limited visibility and possible traffic controls, including controlled traffic and potential intermittent hard closures.
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).