[UPDATE 5:10 p.m.] New Evacuation Warnings]The Klamathon Fire: ‘Expect Extreme Fire Behavior’ Today

After helping push back the County Fire by Lake Berryessa, the Klamath Hotshots are headed home today for some much needed rest. Probably, after the mandatory two days off, they will be reassigned to the Klamathon.

They’re coming home…After helping push back the County Fire by Lake Berryessa, the Klamath Hotshots are headed home today for some much-needed rest, says Zacharie Fansler, fourth from the left in the photo of saw teams 1,2, and 3. He believes that after a mandatory two days off, they will be reassigned to the Klamathon. [Photo provided by Zacharie Fansler]

The Klamathon Fire roared northeast and over the Oregon border yesterday and last night. Flames rushed over 21,000 acres since it began two days ago and still it is only 5% contained. Over 1000 personnel are in the area to help combat the Klamathon which has already left one civilian dead, a Cal Fire engine burned over, and one firefighter injured.

According to Cal Fire, expect extreme fire behavior today with the fire moving in multiple directions. They warn,

Approximately 350 homes are immediately threatened in the communities of Hornbrook, Hilt, Colestin and Irongate Reservoir, and approximately 750 people have been evacuated.
Natural and cultural resources are threatened on the Klamath National Forest and the Rouge River-Siskiyou National Forest. Threatened and endangered species habitat are threatened on the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and Soda Mountain Wilderness. CAL FIRE Black Mountain Repeater and Verizon cellular towers on Horn Peak are currently threatened. Interstate 5 was reopened on 7/6/18 but remains threatened. Private timber land on the west side of the incident is currently threatened. The Yreka Western Railroad is currently threatened.

Firefighters are getting a shaky grip on the southeast section of the blaze. But the northeast section running into Oregon could grow quickly with help from predicted winds.

Because rainfall was only 50% of normal in the area this last year, vegetation, the fuel for the fire, is drier than would be normal also meaning it catches fire easier. The day length is about 15 hours at this time of year which means that the temperature stays high longer and humidity is low for longer.

With weather forecast to be warm and dry, firefighters will face a struggle to get hold of this beast.

The Klamathon Fire is also now setting fire to the plans of hikers. The famous Pacific Crest Trail has closed the “from the I-5 crossing (~mile 1719) in Southern Oregon, north to Soda Mountain Road (mile 1731.4),” according to a tweet by the Pacific Crest Trail Association.

The Klamath Hotshots, whose motto is “Work Hard, Have Fun…A season of sacrifice for a lifetime of tradition” will be headed home today. These skilled handcrews have been cutting lines on the huge County Fire near Lake Berryessa. The superintendent, both captains, and one senior firefighter all live in the Hornbrook area and were fighting one fire while their homes were near the front lines of another. They are now scheduled for two days of mandatory rest, but are expected to be joining the fight against the growing #KlamathonFire soon.

See a map of the fire below. For more information on evacuations, shelters, and road closures, click here.


Klamathon FIre Map

Klamathon Fire Map– click to open a detailed pdf version or zoom in.  [Cal Fire Map]

UPDATE 1:24 p.m.: BLM lands southeast of Ashland are now closed due to the Klamathon Fire.

UPDATE 5:10 p.m.: Cal Fire is announcing new evacuations:

Earlier Chapters:



  • Thank you for going. But most importantly, thank you for coming home safe.

  • Following the Twitter thread of the Klamathon, it appears as if the residents of Hornbrook who stayed behind have had their water cut off.

    I hope there is an extremely good reason, and hopefully that changes quickly.

    • They likely need it to help fight the fire if it’s true!!! The bad part of this is Summer is just getting started we have a few more months of even HOTTER weather to come yet!!! Not a good thing judging by all the wildfires already this year!!!! :-C

    • clearlake fool

      its one of the areas i was looking at to move to . 99 % are on well water which require electric pumps . electricity shut of for safety means no water except whats in holding tanks .

    • “How is someone managing a well FOR Hornbrook not going to tell RESIDENTS of Hornbrook what’s going on & REFUSE HELP from residents of Hornbrook. In an EMERGENCY, there’s no time for bureaucracy. Now is when gov personnel & citizens need to work together”

      This is one of the tweets from a woman who’s brother stayed behind @ hornbrook. She relayed a long message from him earlier regarding who makes the water decision for Hornbrook and other details.

    • Water tanks melted and plastic pipes also. Pump houses burned. It’s not turned off on purpose. They don’t have a big city water system there..

  • CLAUDIA Johnson

    The fires are every were So many people fighting them I hope they are looking ahead We will need more firefighters They need to be planning know from other states Keep are firefighters safe

    • They have crews from all over the US assigned to these fires. If they get worse like last year the mutual aid agreement with Australia and New Zealand gets activated and we get more firefighters from there. Mainly overhead. ( supervisors).

  • Thanks to the firefighters. But a tip. I think beards would be 1. itchy 2. hot and 3. a fire hazard. Otherwise, looking good! Probably not a lot of time to shave out on the job though.

    • Beards help insulate facial skin from radiant heat, allowing guys (apologies to the ladies, it’s just not fair) to work more comfortably, closer to the flames.
      On my first day of my first year on a hotshot crew (1982; this one from Sawtooth Nat’l Forest in southern Idaho) the superintendent tried to force me to shave my beard because he wanted a more clean cut crew image. That set up an interesting dynamic for the next couple of months. Somehow we managed to end the season as friends, despite my rebellion to his policy.
      Back then there was no such thing as mandatory days off. It was not uncommon to work 40+ days straight, and 30+ hour shifts. Glad there’s been a bit of evolution on that front.
      Go Zak! You’re making me nostalgic. You’ve busted your butt for this opportunity and it seems you’re making the most of it.

    • A beard is great in summer time. It’s cooler than being clean shaved. Keeps the sun off, especially your lips. Works with sweat or water as an evaporative cooler. Protects from poison oak & mosquitoes.

    • A tip from a non fire fighter, brilliant. These people bust ass in dangerous situations and you comment on grooming. Please shut up. Good work men, thank you. Oh yeah, my wife wants a calender with more photos of manly men.

  • That’s a bad ass picture.

  • Thanks to all fire fighters, sorry to the ones whose homes are in the way. Doesn’t sound like they will have much time off. I’ll do my bit, I am brushed and mowed, I’ll get my pumps tuned up and hard lines flushed when I am finished with this round of weeds in the garden.

  • CAL FIRE has confirmed that a firefighter received “significant” injuries from burns sustained on the first day of the Klamathon Fire. That firefighter was transported to a burn center, but no additional details are available at this time.


  • Kudos to our heroes!!!

  • Was that Zachary dude on a local fire dept at one point? Maybe piercy or something?

  • I was just flying back to the states in an airplane and saw smoke from a fire near berryessa I think. I realized, they need planes dropping water not thousands of people on the ground. Either let them burn or actually get control.

    • You realize that planes just slow down the flames until ground crews go in and cut fireline? You have it backwards…

  • Kym can you run an article on the Wildland Firefighter Foundation that provides financial and emotional support for injured fire fighters and for the survivors of fire fighters who have been killed on the job. From what I recall Cal Fire offers help for their employees but there is an exemption for crews from I believe CDF, USFS and private crews where they do not get workers compensation. That may have changed in the last few years, so I don’t have up to date information on the disparity. I rember during the bad fires on the Klamath a fire fight was killed and folks were fundraising for his family. If anyone knows what the refs are please up date us here. We may be spread apart geographically on the north coast but we are all connected as a community.

    • USFS firefighters are fully covered by federal OWCP. ( workers comp). Private contractors on fires provide their own insurance. But the Wildland Firefighter Foundation is a great organization and deserves all our support and donations..

  • Hot Shot crews are bad ass and true heroes … that pic of the local Hot Shot crew is great!! Keep it up guys!! We appreciate you!!

  • Hats off to all all the firefighters who come and help us put out these fires.
    I’m for no firework sales during the summer. Look what happened last summer in northern OR. Some stupid youngster setting off fireworks and destroyed so much.
    It always seems it’s human started and why can’t we be smarter during wildfire season. Again, thanx firefighters and all those who come out and help. Where do I send a donation?

  • https://wffoundation.org

    Here’s the link to the WFF site. Please donate if you can..

  • Thanks kym. I thought he looked familiar the hairdo and beard threw me off. Good to see local people rising to the challenge and putting themselves in harm’s way for the rest of us. I agree, they’re all badasses and we should be so fortunate to have folks like these around! P.S. I think it would be weird to see clean shaved men doing that job. That’s what we pay Cal-Fire for…..

  • A GoFundMe has been set up for one of the firefighters who was badly injured.
    but donations are closed as of now and they are expressing a desire for people to donate to the Firefighters Burn Institute. https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/firefightersburninstitute
    I left the GoFundMe link up so we can keep track of updates.

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