McKinney Fire nears 60,000 acres

·2 min read

Aug. 5—The McKinney Fire near Yreka in Northern California grew 968 acres in 24 hours to reach 59,636 acres Friday morning, fire officials said.

The fire responded to hotter, drier conditions, but didn't show significant new growth. In some areas, flames advanced toward fire lines dug by firefighters and bulldozers, with some short-range spotting of embers, California Interagency Incident Management Team Fire Behavior Analyst Dennis Burns said in a Friday morning briefing.

Most of the fire is surrounded by fire lines, but firefighters haven't been able to do significant mopping up inside the lines, he said.

"There's still a lot of fuels in there that need to be consumed. So there's still a pretty significant threat that this fire could get out under the right conditions," Burns said.

Friday thunderstorms could bring strong downdraft winds that could fan the flames and push spot fires over the lines, officials said.

More than 2,400 people are assigned to the fire, which was 10% contained Friday morning, officials said.

They said firefighters are making great progress adding hand-dug fire lines around the fire's perimeter and tying in new lines with previously made lines. Bulldozers have scraped contingency lines to help safeguard communities if the firefighters' lines don't hold.

On Thursday afternoon, the Smokey Fire ignited just north of the McKinney Fire's perimeter, about two miles south of the Oregon border. With resources on the McKinney Fire so close by, firefighters were able to quickly respond for initial attack on the new 34-acre fire. Firefighters have control lines and hoses completely around the Smokey Fire, and aircraft continue to be used in the area as needed, fire officials said Friday morning.

Temperatures are forecast to reach 95-105 degrees at lower elevations and 85-95 degrees in higher and smoked-in areas Friday, fire officials said.

Multiple evacuation orders and warnings remain in effect. For updates, see facebook.com/SiskiyouCountySheriff or www.facebook.com/SiskiyouCountyOES.

A new shelter has been established at the Karuk Wellness Center, 1403 Kahtishraam, Yreka.

A U.S. Forest Service closure order is in effect for a 110-mile segment of the Pacific Crest Trail from Etna Summit to Mount Ashland.

A community meeting is scheduled at 7 p.m. Friday in Building One at the Siskiyou Golden Fairgrounds, 1712 Fairlane Road, Yreka.

The meeting will be live-streamed at bit.ly/McKinneyFireYouTube.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.