Evacuations in Yreka as McKinney Fire rages along California-Oregon border

McKinney Fire Updates: Get information about the McKinney fire from the United States Forest Service.
Information line: 530-643-0279
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a rage fires along the California-Oregon border now forces Evacuations in Yreka as high temperatures and strong winds continue to fan the fire. The McKinney Fire in Siskiyou County blacked out 51,468 acres, according to the latest update from the US Forest Service Sunday morning. After recovering up to 1% containment on Saturday, the crews have now returned to non-containment.

“The Yreka Police Department has issued an evacuation order for the area west of Fairchild Street and Shasta Street to include Oakridge Mobile Estates,” the Forest Service announced late Saturday. “This area is being evacuated due to the proximity of the fire and the need for additional time for this group of residents to evacuate safely. Residents in the area of ​​the evacuation order should evacuate immediately.

“An evacuation warning has been issued for all areas of Yreka west of I-5. Residents in the evacuation warning area should prepare to evacuate and should be ready if the area is amended in order.”

Time the conditions are not favorable to firefighters. On Sunday, they expect single-digit humidity, lightning, searing temperatures and gusty winds, which “will continue to drive extreme fire behavior.” Red flag conditions “can be extremely dangerous for firefighters because winds can be erratic and extremely strong, causing the fire to spread in all directions,” the Forest Service said Sunday. “New lightning fires are still being detected, including one overnight at the top of Doggett Creek north of the main fire.”

“Crews were actively engaged in protecting the structure overnight, particularly in the Klamath River area. Little progress was seen on the edge of the fire closest to the town of Yreka” , he continued. “The priorities for today are to continue the preparation and protection of structures in the Highway 96 corridor and around the communities of Fort Jones and Yreka City.”

Over the next day, they predict “growing fires… will spread in all directions as the red flag warning for thunderstorms and lightning is forecast. A fire could impact Gottville, the area from Humbug Road on the eastern flank. Movement toward Scott Bar expected as fire moves away from Collins Baldy.”

READ ALSO: Dozens Rescued From Pacific Crest Trail As McKinney Fire Threatens

An aerial view of the McKinney Wildfire in California's Klamath National Forest on July 30, 2022.

An aerial view of the McKinney Wildfire in California’s Klamath National Forest on July 30, 2022.

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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 18,000 acres Saturday morning, 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.


The fire started at 2:38 p.m. in the Oak Knoll Ranger District, west of the Walker Creek Bridge on the south side of the Klamath River, the US Forest Service said. Thunderstorms passed over the area on Friday evening and may have exacerbated the fire.

“It seems like the fire definitely came first, before the thunderstorms,” ​​Schaaf said. “It seems that there was a gust of wind from the fire which helped the development of the storm. The first lightning strikes occurred after 7 p.m.”

Schaaf said the fire extinguished a 39,000-foot-tall pyrocumulus cloud at 11:30 p.m. Friday. “It’s unusual for a fire to extinguish a fire cloud of this size late at night, as fires usually stabilize after sunset,” he said.

Pyrocumulus clouds, also known as fire clouds, form when air heats up and moves upward, pushing smoke, ash, and steam with it. They are a sign that ground fire activity is increasing.

Several roads were closed due to the fire, including Highway 96, Scott River Road, Highway 96 and Highway 263, the Siskiyou Emergency Services Office said.

Two other smaller fires were reported near the McKinney Fire, China Peak Fire and Evans Peak Fire. Klamath National Forest said at 11 a.m. Saturday that the China Fire had combined with the Evans Fire and was about 300 to 350 acres in size and 2 to 3 miles east. west of the town of Seiad Valley.

“Persistent drought conditions caused extremely dry and receptive fuels that caused the fire to spread rapidly,” the Forest Service said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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