Weather: A cold front will decrease temperatures slightly today. It will be partly cloudy with increasing winds and decreasing smoke. Morning winds will be from the S-SW, but shift to W-SW in the early afternoon at 15 to 25 mph in the saddles, gusting to 30 mph on the ridgetops. Humidity will drop as the trough begins pushing dry air downwards. Gusty winds are expected through Saturday. Sunday through Tuesday will bring another warming, drying pattern.
Max temps: Lower 90s in the valleys to lower 80s on the ridges
Yesterday’s Activities: Sixteen Australian firefighters have arrived at Happy Camp to provide support as crew bosses, task force leaders, division supervisors and helicopter crew members. Firefighters continued to secure the north half of the fire, focusing on mop up and patrol. Crews also strengthened firelines on the south and east sides of the fire. Crews worked along South Fork Indian Creek mopping up and using low intensity hand ignition to secure the fireline as fire backed downhill toward hose lays and pumps placed along the creek. Aircraft completed water drops to hold and secure the southwest side of the fire. Direct line and hose lay was completed immediately north of Mud Lake and direct line construction began east of Mud Lake. Reconnaissance continued for additional direct line opportunities on the southwest side of the fire.
Today’s Activities: The objective continues to be protecting structures, communities and other high values to the east and south of the Natchez Fire. Because of predicted increased winds, additional engines and crews have arrived and staffing will be increased on the east. A contingency line is prepped and ready in case there are spot fires south of the South Fork Indian Creek. Mop up and patrol will continue on the north half of the fire and on the east side south of Kelly Lake. Aircraft will be used, if smoke and weather conditions permit, to hold and secure the southwest side of the fire. Firefighters will work to secure the direct line constructed east of Mud Lake. Opportunities to construct additional direct line will be pursued. Firefighters will continue to secure the fire edge on the southeast portion of the fire. Clearing and brush chipping will continue along Grayback Road.
Evacuations: The community of Sunstar has been placed in a Level 1 evacuation “Ready” status. Del Norte County, CA, including the community of Sunstar, has adopted the Oregon three level evacuation process. Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office has issued an evacuation order for two residences near the terminus of South Fork Road (Rd 17N32) and an evacuation warning for all residences accessed by the South Fork Road (Rd 17N32); all residences accessed by the Grayback Road north of the junction of South Fork Road (Rd 17N32) and Grayback Road which may result in temporary delays.
Closures: Closure Orders are in effect on Klamath National Forest and Rogue River – Siskiyou National Forest within the vicinity of the Natchez Fire. Going into or being upon National Forest System lands within the Natchez Fire Closure Area is prohibited. Information about closures and maps of closure areas specific to the Natchez Fire on both the Klamath and Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forests can be found at: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/closures/5948/.
Grayback Road (Forest Highway 48) remains open to public travel. Short-term delays may occur.
A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place over the fire area for non-firefighting aircraft, including drones.
Be sure to check National Forest websites for information about current conditions: www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/klamath/alerts-noticeswww.fs.usda.gov/alerts/rogue-siskiyou/alerts-notices