Dozens rescued from Pacific Crest Trail as McKinney Fire threatens Yreka

Dozens of hikers on the famous Pacific Crest Trail have been located and evacuated as the McKinney Fire explodes along the California-Oregon border.

According to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, at least 60 hikers were found on the trail in Klamath National Forest and escorted to safety. A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office says NewsWatch 12 that while no hikers were in imminent danger, the remote nature of the trail and the rapidly changing fires conditions made search and rescue the best option.

The Pacific Crest Trail is over 2,600 miles of varied and breathtaking hiking from the California-Mexico border to the Washington-Canada border. It is believed that hundreds of people attempt to complete the full hike each year, but that is valued that hundreds of thousands of people enjoy a section of the trail each year.

In response to the fire, the Forest Service closed 110 miles of the PCT. The emergency closing order is in effect until August 30.

“The closure is from the summit of Mount Etna (mile 1600) in northern California to Mount Ashland Campground (~mile 1710) in southern Oregon,” the official PCT website reads. “If you are on the PCT in this area, please evacuate to the nearest town.”

The McKinney Fire erupted Friday in the Klamath National Forest, about 15 miles south of the Oregon border, sending up a massive pyrocumulus cloud and triggering a wave of evacuations in small forest communities across the northernmost part of the Golden State. The McKinney Fire was reported at 300 acres Friday night without containment and exploded overnight, reaching 30,000 acres Saturday night, the US Forest Service said.

“Due to the erratic winds, the fire is spreading everywhere,” Caroline Quintanilla, public information officer with the US Forest Service, told SFGATE on Saturday afternoon.

For full updates on the McKinney Fire, click here.

SFGATE editor Amy Graff contributed to this report.

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