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UPDATE, AUGUST 6, 2021 11:00 AM--The Antelope Fire has grown to 34,479 acres with 0% containment.
The Southwest Area Type 2 Incident Management Team 4 will host a community meeting today, Friday, August 6, at 6:00 p.m. at the Butte Valley Community Center in Dorris, located at 52900 Highway 97. The public is encouraged to join in-person or virtually during the livestream.
YREKA, Calif. — In a significant push to the north on Wednesday, fire officials said that the Antelope Fire in eastern Siskiyou County swept around the remote community of Tennant.
Antelope is one of more than a dozen fires sparked by recent thunderstorms in the county, and it emerged Wednesday as the most threatening. Fire officials said that the fire, estimated at 2,400 acres Wednesday morning, exploded to 20,900 acres or more by that night — with most of that growth made to the north, toward the community of Tennant.
As of Thursday morning, Tennant sat roughly in the center of the fire area. Regardless of its perilous position, Operations Section Chief Buck Wickham of the Southwest Area Incident Management Team 4 described a scenario in his morning update that provides Tennant residents with a reason to hope that their homes are still standing.
"In Tennant, we did have resources in there that stayed there while the fire burned around the community," Wickham said, "and they stayed there not only through the day yesterday, but all last night too — they stayed there just to protect structures there in that community."
Wickham described firefighters' efforts on Wednesday as a "pretty valiant fight," and crews will be in the town again on Thursday. There was some damage to the community, Wickham divulged, but there are no specific assessments of the losses yet. Crews were forced to fall back from the Fish Camp area just south of Tennant due to the fire's extreme behavior, suggesting that it was overtaken by the flames.
By Thursday morning, the Antelope Fire extended about six miles north of Tennant. Officials said that almost all of the spot fires produced by the main fire quickly spread. Fire crews saw challenges around 8 a.m. on the southwest area of Tennant.
Fire crews made some progress on the fire's western side overnight after it "fell on its face" in the late night hours, Wickham said. Fire officials hope that conditions will continue to moderate over the next several days, reducing chances of the extreme fire behavior seen on Wednesday.
Multiple areas of Siskiyou County remain under evacuation orders as fires throughout the Klamath National Forest continue to spread. Those fires are roughly divided into two theaters — the Antelope Fire around Tennant, and the River Complex fires in the very southwestern reaches of Siskiyou County.
Fire officials said that fire behavior was more moderate on the River Complex until Wednesday night due to the heavy smoke inversion, though the larger Haypress and Summer Fires continued to grow. A cold, dry weather front was expected for Thursday, with increased winds. The winds are also expected to change from southwest to westerly and northwesterly, changing fire behavior.
"Priorities remain protection of identified values at risk within the complex. All fires within the complex are planned for full suppression," officials said.
The River Complex consists of more than a dozen fires, though most remain small or have been contained. The largest and most challenging are the 11,522-acre Haypress Fire southeast of Shadow Creek Campground, the 4,730-acre Summer Fire near Cecil Lake, and the 510-acre Cronan Fire northwest of Sawyers Bar.
Evacuation orders and warnings are still in effect for areas surrounding the communities of Forks of Salmon, Sawyers Bar, Taylor Creek Road, Tennant, and Antelope Creek. Up-to-date information regarding evacuations can be viewed at an interactive map managed by the Siskiyou County Office of Emergency Services: https://arcg.is/1nnHKm0.
Here are the active evacuation orders and warnings as of Wednesday morning:
River Complex fires
- An evacuation order has been issued for areas south of McNeil Creek, west of the Siskiyou-Trinity County line, north of South Fork Road, and east of Rush Creek.
- An evacuation order has been issued for the town of Cecilville and all residents along Caribou Road due to wildfire. Leave the area immediately.
- An evacuation order has been issued for Taylor Creek Road and surrounding areas by the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office. Please leave the area immediately.
- An evacuation warning has been issued for areas south of Cecilville Road, west of Red Rock Mountain, east of Trinity-Siskiyou County line, and north of Sawtooth Ridge, including Coffee Creek Road.
- An evacuation warning has been issued for the following areas surrounding the Cecilville area: Godfried, Blue Ridge, Black Bear, Uncle Sam Mine and Eddy Gulch Road. Please prepare in case evacuations are ordered.
- An evacuation warning issued by the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office remains in effect for Forks of Salmon and Sawyers Bar areas.
- An evacuation order has been issued for the communities of Tennant, Bray, Mount Hebron, the Round Valley area south of Red Rock Road including Long Prairie Road, Robison Road, and Old State Highway. Residents are asked to leave immediately.
A Temporary Evacuation Point (TEP) has been set up at the Dorris City Hall, 307 South Main Street, Dorris, CA. If you are evacuated and need assistance or sheltering, please proceed to the Dorris City Hall or call 530-340-3539 for assistance.