Still 0% Containment on the Orleans Complex
In spite of extremely hot temperatures, firefighters continue to make good progress on the Orleans Complex. The total acreage burned on the entire complex to date is about 1627 acres. The Ukonom Fire has burned about 1300 acres, and it continues to back down to Ukonom Creek and the Klamath River on the west, north and east. Containment on the complex remains at 0 percent due to the steep terrain and the risk it poses to firefighters, as well as the heavy fuels the fire is burning in.
Crews are using existing roads, ridges and strategic firing to establish control lines on the southern perimeter of the fire. The Burney Fire has been burning more actively recently, and is about 110 acres. The Franks Fire is about 13 acres. These three fires make up the east zone of the complex, which is being managed by NorCal Team 1 under Incident Commander Curtis Coots.
The west zone of the complex consists of the Dillon and Elk Fires which are each about 0.1 acres and 100% contained; the Chimney, which is about 0.5 acres; the Little which is about 3 acres; and the Forks, which burned more actively yesterday and is about 200 acres in size. These fires are 0% contained. Duane Franklin is managing these fires under a Type 3 organization.
The Orleans Complex had the honor of hosting Christophe Frerson, who works for the Civil Security, Interministry Headquarters South, in Marseille, South France. Christophe, who is not only a Fire Fighter Commander (which is similar to a Regional Assistant Fire Director here), also works in law enforcement, anti-terrorism and air traffic control. He was here to observe the differences and similarities between the two countries in the world of fire. He said there were more similarities then differences. For instance, our Hotshot crews (Type 1 hand crew) are called Fire Intervention Sections in France, which are like military forces. He stated the mapping system and the organization in general, is very similar, but have different names. They do not have the Incident Command System (ICS), which is used on any significant incident in the U.S., but he will take information about ICS back to his country and try to implement a similar organization. Most fires in South France last only 12 hours because they go “full strike force”, as he described it, with everything they have to suppress wildfires quickly. Ninety percent of fires are human caused, with 45% of those being arson, 30% undetermined and 3% are caused by children. He told us he gathered a lot of new helpful information that he will take back with him and he really enjoyed his visit, sleeping in his tent, eating fire camp food, and especially meeting all the firefighters.
An air resource advisor is assigned to the complex to assist with monitoring, modeling and reporting smoke conditions. Monitors have been placed in strategic locations to provide continuous data that can be used to prepare a daily smoke forecast outlook for surrounding communities. Smoke from other large fires in northern California and southern Oregon is also affecting air quality in Siskiyou and Humboldt Counties.
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Drivers are asked to use caution and slow down when travelling between Somes Bar and Happy Camp on Highway 96 due to heavy fire traffic. There may be traffic controls at times.
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/smf. For more information, air quality and smoke forecasts, maps and photographs, visit the Orleans Complex InciWeb site at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5430/.