More Lightning Predicted as Orleans Complex Grows

Smoke from a spot fire crossing Hwy 96.

Smoke produced by a spot fire from the Ukonom Fire that jumped the Klamath River and State Hwy 96 slows traffic on the highway Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017. [Photo from InciWeb]

Press release from the Six Rivers National Forest:

A Red Flag Warning remains in effect this afternoon for the fire area and most of northern California for abundant lightning, scattered thunderstorms, and gusty winds. Yesterday a thunderstorm developed over the fire area, producing some lightning and rainfall. At least two new fires have been reported in the Orleans ranger district and they will be added to the Orleans Complex Fire managers are gathering information and prioritizing initial attack on the new starts. Chances of thunderstorms will diminish as we move through the week with today being the highest likelihood of any thunderstorm development.

Firefighters made good progress containing the previously reported spot fire across State Highway 96 near Dillon Creek Campground. The spot fire remains at 15 acres and crews continue to finish mop up. State Highway 96 is now open. The public is reminded to remain vigilant for fire equipment and firefighters on the road.

The Orleans Complex is now estimated at 4527 acres with total containment at 9%. The East Zone of the complex includes the Ukonom Fire at 3300 acres (29% contained), the Burney Fire at 970 acres (0% contained), and the Frank Fire at 13 acres (0% contained).

The five fires in the West Zone of the complex have burned a total of about 243 acres, with the largest, the Forks at 240 acres (0% contained). While the fires continued to grow, a strong inversion hampered fire movement yesterday. Crews are using a confinement strategy focused on existing roads and fire lines to reduce the hazards to firefighters and avoid culturally sensitive areas.

Total Personnel
Crews
Engines
Dozers
Water Tenders
Helicopters
719
16
19
14
13
9

Cooperators on the incident include representatives from the Karuk, Yurok and Hoopa Tribes, California Conservation Corps, and Cal Trans.

It takes many personnel to support a firefighting force as large as the one managing the Orleans Complex. An example of a support crew is the California Conservation Corps (CCCs) who provide assistance at fire camps throughout the state. Crew #3, which is a camp crew from Fortuna, California, includes 12 young adults and a crew supervisor. They are working at the Orleans Complex Incident Command Post. This is the first fire assignment for the crew, and they work long days beginning with a briefing at 4:45 am. Their daily duties include emptying trashcans, restocking ice chests with water and ice, clearing roadside brush, filling potholes, handing out bag lunches to firefighters, and keeping count of every meal eaten. They assist in many other ways around the camp and are always willing to acquire new skills. Crew #3 has learned how to use a variety of hand tools on this assignment, along with having the opportunity to interact on a professional level with 700 firefighters. This program is building leadership skills while helping fire camps run more smoothly. There is also a firefighting CCC crew out of Fortuna that was assigned to the Orleans Complex.

A portion of the Happy Camp Ranger District in the vicinity of the Ukonom Fire is closed to public entry for the duration of the fire due to the risks associated with an active wildfire. The closure stretches from the east bank of the Klamath River east to the Independence Creek Road and includes Ukonom Creek. Please review Klamath National Forest, Emergency Closure order number 17-05-797 for complete details at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/article/5433/37176/.

The Six Rivers National Forest remains under fire restrictions. Details about these restrictions can be found on the forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/srnf. For more information, smoke forecasts, maps and photographs visit the Orleans Complex Inciweb site at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5430/.

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