HAPPY CAMP, Calif. — The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office issued more mandatory evacuations for the McCash Fire on Wednesday, expanding the evacuation zone to the western side of Highway 96 between Clear Creek and Crawford Creek as the community of Happy Camp remains in a state of warning.
As of Wednesday morning, the McCash Fire was estimated at just under 45,000 acres with containment at only 1 percent. There are 465 fire personnel assigned to the incident.
Fire crews were working to secure a northern contingency line in the Independence Creek area after burnout operations over the weekend, mopping up the line and looking for hot spots to extinguish.
The greatest risk comes from a series of three spot fires north of that line — one south of Tinkham Creek, one near Bishop Creek and one west of Lick Creek. Crews have been working with the support of helicopter water drops to contain those spot fires, work that was expected to continue on Wednesday.
After supporting mop-up efforts along the northern line, the Highway 96 Structure Group moved to Happy Camp to begin structure assessments should the fire reach that far north. Another structure group is expected to head to Happy Camp soon.
Crews working in the Ti-Bar and Patterson areas continued to extinguish hotspots, adding more depth to the containment lines on the southwest edge of the fire near Ti-Bar Road. In the Patterson area, crews nearly finished prep work on the Iron Phone Road all the way to the point where the road is washed out. This work is expected to provide a contingency line inside the 2017 Haypress burn scar for firefighters to use should the McCash Fire move further south.
A new division was created on the northeast side of the fire. "Division November" encompasses the area around Norcross Campground and Buckhorn Bear, where a spot fire estimated at 1,000 acres is burning. The resources assigned to the division will scout the area today to develop a plan for suppression of the spot fire. The division will be staffed with additional resources to implement that plan as other sections of the fire are contained or as new resources are assigned to the fire.
The new evacuation orders issued on Wednesday covered an area west of Highway 96 between Crawford Creek and Clear Creek, including Gasquet Gulch, Gum Boot Creek drainage, Slippery Creek drainage, and the No Man's Creek Drainage.
Multiple areas remain under either evacuation orders or warnings in western Siskiyou County due to the McCash Fire and River Complex fires. The full extent of those areas can be found on the interactive map here.