Faulkstein, Frying Pan fires grew over 2,000 acres each yesterday

Press release from the U.S. Forest Service:

The Faulkstein Fire grew 2,765 acres yesterday and is now 5,225 acres and zero percent contained. The fire made a significant run yesterday. As the inversion over the fire weakened, heat rising from the fire broke through the inversion. This change, along with westerly winds, pushed the fire to the northeast. A large plume developed, carrying embers up to a mile and a half ahead of the main fire. There is a six-to-eight acre spot fire two miles west of Scott River Road near Middle Creek Meadows. Weather conditions are predicted to be similar today, bringing the same type of fire behavior. Crews will move back into the area, assess the extent of yesterday's fire spread, and locate points to re-engage. Firefighter presence on Scott River Road will increase. Residents in the area who have not yet evacuated are encouraged to do so now as fire traffic will be heavy on the road as the day's activities progress.

The Frying Pan Fire grew 2,071 acres yesterday and is now 26,679 acres and ten percent contained. Most of the growth was from two areas of the fire. Unburned pockets of fuel around Doolittle Creek on the south side of the fire burned actively yesterday. The line created by the tactical ignition operations on the southern perimeter is holding. Crews completed tactical ignition operations on the northeast side yesterday south of Wolf Creek and started mopping up. Unburned fuel within that perimeter was the second active area of the fire. The fire on the east side of Grider Ridge—east of the south fork of Wolf Creek on the north end of Limestone Bluffs—was active throughout the night. That part of the fire burned down to Grider Creek but remains west of the creek. Four hotshot crews will continue constructing indirect fireline from Grider Ridge downslope to Grider Creek about a mile and a half north of the fire, east of Wolf Creek.

The Frying Pan and Faulkstein Fires are expected to merge in the next twelve to twenty-four hours. Crews continued mopping up the numerous small, contained fires in the Complex along fire perimeters.

Weather and Fire Behavior: West winds are expected to grow stronger this afternoon, with possible gusts up to 22 mph. The humidity will remain very low and the temperatures unseasonably high. When the inversion breaks, and if the winds strengthen and atmospheric conditions become more unstable as predicted, fire behavior would likely intensify and conditions would support rapid fire growth.

Safety: Firefighter and public safety is always the first priority for management teams. Some snags are standing but unstable due to roots that have been burned out by the fire. They are unstable and susceptible to falling at any time, even without strong winds. Two vehicles have been significantly damaged on thisincident from falling snags. No firefighters were injured. The real hazard that snags represent directly affects firefighting strategy and tactics.

A Clean Air Respite Center is available at the Karuk Tribe Senior Nutrition Center in Happy Camp (64101 Second Avenue). The center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and will remain open longer if needed due to smoky conditions.

Air quality: High pressure remains in place over the area today. Light winds this morning will become westerly by midday. Smoke that is impacting the communities east of the fires should lessen for a few hours early in the day but is likely to return as fire activity increases this afternoon and evening. Impacts are likely to be highest in Happy Camp, Seiad Valley, Sawyers Bar, Yreka, and Scott Valley again today.

For more information about air quality in the area, visit http://californiasmokeinfo.blogspot.com/

Evacuations issued August 27, 2014: Due to increased fire activity with long-range spotting of the Faulkstein Fire to the northeast, Incident Commanders have advised the Siskiyou County Sheriff and Siskiyou Office of Emergency Services of the need to initiate evacuations. Effective immediately, the following areas will be under evacuation orders:

Mandatory Evacuation

Scott River Road from Bridge Flat to the intersection of Hwy 96

All areas south of Hwy 96 between Scott River Road and Grider Creek

Advisory Evacuation

All areas north of Hwy 96 between Scott River Road and Grider Creek

An evacuation center has been established at Winema Hall at the Siskiyou County Fairgrounds, 1712 Fairlane Road, Yreka. Both large and small animals will be accommodated at the Fairgrounds. Large animal transport can be arranged through the Sheriff's Posse. Contact Jodi Aceves, (530) 340-2422 to arrange transport.

An Evacuation Advisory issued August 13, 2014, continues for residents of Happy Camp along China Grade Road from Elk Creek Bridge to Frying Pan Creek. China Grade Road is open to residents only.