Rain dampens McKinney Fire spread

Smokey the Bear stands guard alongside a fire danger rating sign set to the "Extreme" level in an area burned by the McKinney Fire along Highway 96 on Wednesday. Klamath National Forest photo
August 4, 2022

More than 2,200 firefighters work on controlling the fire’s spread, now put at more than 58,000 acres

After thunderstorms dropped up to 3 inches of rain on eastern side of the McKinney Fire on Tuesday, the size of the fire grew only incrementally to 58,668 as of Thursday, up from 56,459 on Tuesday, according to Klamath National Forest reports.

There were 2,219 firefighters working on stopping the fire’s spread. Containment was reported at 10%.

Tuesday’s thunderstorms dropped 1-3 inches of rain on the eastern flank of the McKinney Fire. The higher amounts fell on the eastern one third. Heavy debris flow occurred as a result in multiple drainages and blocked lower lying portions of Humbug Creek Road. On Wednesday morning, heavy equipment was used to reestablish access into the area for the firefighters working that branch of the fire. Although a considerable amount of rain fell, many pockets of heat remain. As the area dries in the coming days, fire activity in the east is expected to pick up once again. The western half of the fire did not receive measurable precipitation.

Wednesday morning fire behavior was minimal over the entire incident with very little active burning. Pockets of heavy fuels continued to smoke throughout the morning and fire activity picked up on the western portion of the incident as fuels, heated by the afternoon sun, began to dry out. The fire was most active near Mill Creek Road in the southwest portion and Pipeline Gap in the northwest. Pipeline Gap is an area with high potential for fire spread. Helicopters and air tankers were used to support firefighters on the ground as they fought to limit spread in both areas. Aircraft dropped over 50,000 gallons of retardant.

Progress in fireline construction has been steady but slow going along the fire’s edge. Difficult terrain and heavy fuels have been a challenge. However, dozer lines have been completed in multiple areas surrounding the fire. The fire is holding along the river’s edge east of Horse Creek along Highway 96.

A community meeting is planned for 7 p.m. Friday night in Yreka at the Siskiyou Golden Fairgrounds, 1712 Fairlane Road, Yreka. The meeting is in building 1, the first building on the left as you pass through the main gate. Questions can be sent ahead of time by email to 2022.McKinney@firenet.gov

Those who can’t attend in person can view a livestream on the following platforms: bit.ly/McKinneyFireYouTube; facebook.com/KlamathNF; and facebook.com/CALFIRESKU

Highway 96 remains closed due to the McKinney Fire. For current McKinney Fire reports, click here.

The fire started Friday afternoon, July 29. Four people killed by the fire have been discovered, two on Sunday in a vehicle and two on Monday in separate residences. The cause remains under investigation.

Source: Klamath National Forest news release.Email Ashland.news Executive Editor Bert Etling at betling@ashland.news or call or text him at 541-631-1313.

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Bert Etling

Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.
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