Orleans Complex Fire Update 9/8/17
Incident: Orleans Complex Wildfire
ORLEANS, California, September 8, 2017 – There will be a public meeting in Orleans on Saturday, September 9 at 3:00pm at the Karuk DNR Building. The purpose of the meeting is to provide an update about the status of the fires in the Orleans Complex and to answer questions.
Evacuations: At noon today, the mandatory evacuation order will be lifted, except for residents in the Patterson Road area. An advisory evacuation warning remains in effect for residents east of Highway 96 from Burns Creek south to Ti Creek, from Rogers Creek Road south to Somes Bar, and along the Salmon River Road to Wooley Creek. Residents can stay informed of changing conditions by calling the fire information number (530-572-1129) or by watching for updates at http://www.facebook.com/SixRiversNF or https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5430/
Background: In late July and early August, a series of thunderstorms passed through northern California igniting many fires, including twenty that are being managed as the Orleans Complex. Three of these fires remain active: the Burney Fire at 1,631 acres, the Ukonom Fire at 4,234 acres, and the Haypress Fire at 20,356 acres. Incident objectives are focused on providing for firefighter and public safety, protecting private property and cultural resources, and minimizing impacts to aquatic species, spotted owl habitat and bald eagle habitat. The complex is being managed using a combination of full suppression, containment and confinement strategies; this work is estimated to be about 53% complete. A wildfire is contained when a control line has been completed around the fire, which can reasonably be expected to stop the fire's spread. Confinement means that a wildfire has been restricted to a defined area, primarily using natural barriers that are expected to halt the spread of the fire under the prevailing and forecasted weather conditions. Some suppression actions may be required to augment or connect natural barriers, including line construction, strategic firing, and/or bucket drops.
Current Fire Situation: The Orleans Complex received about 1/3 inch of rain on Thursday. This precipitation slowed fire behavior significantly, which gave firefighters an opportunity to scout for opportunities to construct more direct fire lines. They are identifying locations where they can connect existing fire lines, old roads, and ridgelines to create firebreaks along the western edge of the Haypress Fire. Work continues around structures along Highway 96 from Somes Bar north to Burns Creek. No significant activity was reported on the Ukonom or Burney Fires.
Weather: A moist and unstable air mass will continue to bring the threat of scattered showers and thunderstorms to the area today. Any thunderstorms that develop may produce brief heavy rain, small hail, abundant lightning and gusty and erratic outflow winds. From Saturday through Monday, a gradual warming and drying trend is expected.
Air quality: Wetting thunderstorms yesterday washed out smoke in the Upper and Lower Klamath River drainages and the Salmon River Drainage. Fire activity in the area was substantially reduced. The improved air quality will continue for the area today. The worst air quality is forecast to be in the “Unhealthy for Sensitve Groups" category for the Upper Klamath, Salmon River and Scott Valley.
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
Fire Restrictions: The Six Rivers National Forest remains under fire restrictions to provide for public and resource safety (http://bit.ly/2wfQ7Ed).
For more information about the Six Rivers National Forest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/srnf, like us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SixRiversNF, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SixRiversNF.
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