Mill Fire corralled, while Mountain Fire spreads

·3 min read

Sep. 4—Fire managers don't expect the Mill Fire burning between Weed and Lake Shastina to grow beyond the 4,254-acre footprint reported Sunday morning.

Firefighters in Siskiyou County, California, have lines around the entire fire and will be working Sunday to stop any more homes in the area from burning. Containment was listed at 25%, but fire officials in a morning briefing said they were confident the fire, which started just outside the town of Weed and raced north to Lake Shastina, would remain within control lines.

The Mountain Fire, burning about 11 miles directly west, presents more problems for firefighters because it is burning in more rugged terrain, with steep drainages and a lot of timber, manzanita and other fuels that will burn easily after a dry, hot summer.

The fire was reported Sunday morning at 6,451 acres after making a 2,000-acre run Saturday night on the northwest side of the fire.

Both fires are at about 2,500-feet elevation at their lowest points, with the Mountain Fire reaching above the 6,000-foot level on some of the ridges. Firefighters said they have a good control line on the east side of the fire, along Gazelle-Callahan Road. The steeper areas on the north, west and south sides of the fire are where spotting and runs are more likely.

Temperatures in the area were expected to range from 88-92 degrees Sunday with winds of 6 to 12 mph out of the north and gusts in the high teens as the weather heats up. Humidity was expected to be very low, in the 9% to 14% range, making it more likely for the very dry fuels in the area to catch fire.

On the Mountain Fire, 332 people have been evacuated and 690 structures are threatened, Cal Fire reported. No injuries have been reported, and no structures are known to have burned.

On the Mill Fire, officials said they expect to release damage figures later in the day. On Saturday they acknowledged that at least 132 structures had been damaged and at least 50 were destroyed, but as crews get into the neighborhoods on foot they will be able to provide more accurate numbers.

Three people have been injured in the fire, but no deaths have been reported.

A community meeting about the Mill and Mountain fires will held at 3 p.m. Sunday at Big Springs Elementary School, 7405 Highway A-12, Montague.

Cal Fire officials will be on hand to provide information and answer questions about the fires, according to a post Saturday evening from Cal Fire Siskiyou Unit.

The meeting will be livestreamed at www.facebook.com/CALFIRESKU on the Cal Fire Siskiyou Unit Facebook page, technology permitting, the post said.

At 4 p.m. Saturday, Cal Fire Incident Management Team 5 assumed command of both fires.

On Sunday, 844 people were fighting the Mountain Fire with 18 hand crews, 18 helicopters, 32 engines, 41 dozers and 25 water tenders.

The Mill Fire had had 827 personnel Sunday, with 22 hand crews, 4 helicopters, 100 engines, 11 dozers and 38 water tenders.

An evacuation center was set up at the Karuk Tribal Wellness Center, 1403 Kahtishraam, Yreka.

Reach Mail Tribune Editor-in-Chief David Smigelski at 541-776-4484 or dsmigelski@rosebudmedia.com.