Six Rivers National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
118 Fortuna Blvd. Fortuna California 95540
Eureka, CA 95501
ORLEANS, California, September 9, 2017 – There will be a 3:00pm public meeting in Orleans today 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 yesterday the mandatory evacuation order was lifted for zones 3 through 4, with an exception for the residents in the Patterson Road area. An advisory evacuation warning remains in effect for residents east of Highway 96 from Burns Creek 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 nineteen that are being managed as the Orleans Complex. The three largest are: the Haypress Fire at 20,356 acres, the Ukonom Fire at 4,234 acres, and the Burney Fire at 1,631 acres. 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. 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.
Air quality: There are numerous fires burning in northern California and southwestern Oregon impacting a total of approximately 430,000 acres. These fires are producing large amounts of smoke which has affected air quality in the region this summer. Yesterday was the first day since mid-August that none of the monitoring stations in the area reached “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” or above. Due to minimal fire growth and decent smoke dispersion, expect generally “moderate” air quality in the area except for areas closest to the fires for today. Tomorrow a northeast wind is expected. This may bring some smoke to the Lower Klamath area between Orleans and Willow Creek.
Current Fire Situation: There has been minimal fire behavior as clear skies and increased winds blew the thunderstorm threat out yesterday. Work continues around structures along Highway 96 from Somes Bar north to Burns Creek. The precipitation from Thursdays showers slowed fire behavior significantly, which has given firefighters an opportunity to begin constructing 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. A firebreak is a natural or constructed barrier used to stop or check fires, or to provide a control line from which to work. No significant activity was reported on the Ukonom or Burney Fires.
Weather: Beginning today through Monday, a gradual warming and drying trend is forecasted, with an extended period of northeast to east winds that is expected to effect the area. The strongest winds are expected to occur Sunday night and Monday morning across the ridgetops and upper slopes.
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: http://bit.ly/2xDQhof
Map: http://bit.ly/2wfNCBD Closure Order No. 17-05-797 closes a portion of the Ukonom and Happy Camp Ranger Districts northeast of the Ukonom Fire Closure: http://bit.ly/2wAbXVt
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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