Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Humidity Helping Calm Slater Fire

Posted By on Wed, Sep 16, 2020 at 11:53 AM

click to enlarge slater_fire.jpg
Higher humidity is expected to keep the Slater Fire, which spans from the Oregon border down to Happy Camp, calm today, with moisture levels increasing through the day and rain possible Thursday or Friday, according to today’s update.

Highway 199 remains closed from O’Brien south almost to Gasquet. Highway 96 is now open to one-way controlled traffic, but the update cautions that travelers should expect delays and that smoke is causing poor visibility.

The Slater Fire and the Devil Fire to its east are at a combined 148,344 acres with 10 percent containment.

“Most of the recent fire growth has occurred on the Devil Fire, north into Butte Fork drainage,” the update states. “The Slater Fire also spread towards the Devil Fire yesterday, where conditions are still somewhat drier than down canyon. No structures were lost overnight on the Slater Fire.”

More information can be found at:  https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/article/7173/56096/.

Read the full update below:


HAPPY CAMP, CALIFORNIA — Fire behavior on the Slater Fire is anticipated to remain calm today, due to continued high relative humidity. Humidity levels overnight stayed relatively high, even on ridgetops, and forecasts say moisture will increase throughout the day today with a chance of rain over the fire area tomorrow or Friday.

Most of the recent fire growth has occurred on the Devil Fire, north into Butte Fork drainage. The Slater Fire also spread towards the Devil Fire yesterday, where conditions are still somewhat drier than down canyon. No structures were lost overnight on the Slater Fire.

Today, crews will continue to build direct fireline along the east side of the Pacific Crest Trail and prep along that trail to the south to protect the town of Seiad from the Devil Fire. Assigned resources there are planning to spike out for several days to complete this task. Meanwhile, indirect fireline construction immediately around Seiad continues to be improved.

Other priorities for firefighters in the south zone of the Slater Fire today include containing the fire on the north side of the road and protecting residences in Thompson Creek and Fort Goff areas. Today the aim is to complete indirect line to prevent the fire from spreading south of Highway 96 between Seiad and Happy Camp where it is burning along a bench above the road.

Firefighters will also use strategic firing as needed on the east slope of the Thompson Creek drainage to protect private properties. Near Gasquet, firelines are holding along Knopki Road, despite limited available resources there. Firefighters are working to scout control lines along Monkey Ridge and Oregon Mountain Road to prevent the fire’s spread into communities southwest of the fire.

In Oregon, Slater Fire growth was also minimal, with backing and flanking fire behavior. Fire resources on the ground there sought opportunities to directly contain the fire in its current footprint and establish contingency lines. Additional resources are arriving to the north zone of the Slater Fire today.

The Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office has mobilized 10 task forces of structure fire engines, six from Oregon, three from Utah, and one from Washington State.

Today crews will be holding the fire along the road system on the west side of the fire near the state line. In the Takilma area, dozers will continue to put in line and work direct on the north side of the fire. Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 2 assumed command of the northern zone of the Slater Fire (including areas around Gasquet in California) at 6 a.m. today.

The southern area of the Slater Fire and the Devil Fire will remain under command of California IIMT 10 for now. Information will still be disseminated via one Facebook page to avoid confusion.

A new fire start — the Fox Fire — discovered by aircraft on the Klamath National Forest two days ago is burning southwest of Callahan, and is now estimated at roughly 761 acres. EVACUATION ADVISORIES and ORDERS are in effect for Callahan area due to this fire – see the Siskiyou County Sheriffs Facebook page for updated details.

The fire is active on its north edge, where reports from the field say groups of trees are torching. This fire has also moved westward past Blue Jay Ridge towards Joe Keen meadows. The south zone Slater Fire is supporting suppression efforts on the Fox Fire until additional resources arrive.

Due to extreme fire danger, all National Forests in California closed September 9, and remain closed. More details on these closure orders, along with fire restrictions orders, can be found on National Forest websites and on InciWeb.

As a result of extreme fire danger, the Bureau of Land Management Medford District has temporarily closed all Bureau of Land Management-administered public lands south of Grants Pass, Interstate 5, and U.S. Route 199 to the border of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. Maps of the closure areas are available on the Bureau of Land Management’s website: https://www.blm.gov/programs/public-safety-and-fire/fire-and-aviation/regional-info/oregon-washington/fire-restrictions.

Highway 199 remains closed from O’Brien south almost to Gasquet. Highway 96 is now open to one-way controlled traffic. Drivers traveling this section of highway should expect delays and use caution due to poor visibility. Other highways in Oregon are also being impacted by the smoke.

EVACUATION INFORMATION: Current evacuation orders are posted on Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SiskiyouCountySheriff/.

For Del Norte County evacuation information, see www.facebook.com/DelNorteOfficeOfEmergencyServices www.preparedelnorte.com/

Evacuation order/warning info and other resources for Josephine County can be found by calling Josephine County Fire Information Center 541-474-5305 (7am-10pm) or online at: https://www.facebook.com/josephinecountyEM, https://www.co.josephine.or.us/fire, or www.rvem.org 
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Kimberly Wear

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Kimberly Wear is the assistant editor of the North Coast Journal.

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