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FireWatch: Medicine Lake back under evacuation orders as Antelope Fire marches north and east

After a few weeks of steady progress by fire crews, multiple lightning-caused fires across Siskiyou County have flared to life again, renewing the threat to homes.

Posted: Sep 9, 2021 11:10 AM
Updated: Sep 9, 2021 6:04 PM

WEED, Calif. —

UPDATE: The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office has ordered more evacuations as the Antelope Fire contiues to surge north and east.


The Antelope Fire seen from Tulelake, looking toward Medicine Lake. Photo by Tracy Hart.

The new evacuation order covers the Medicine Lake area, including parts west and north of Medicine Lake Road, north of 44N17, and southeast of National Forest Road 77.

"Please leave the area immediately!" the Sheriff's Office urged residents.

Just an hour earlier, SCSO posted an evacuation warning for areas south of Dorris, east of Highway 97 and Old State Highway, north of Tennant Road, west of Sheep Mountain and Cedar Mountain, including Red Rock Road. The city limits of Dorris are currently outside of this warning.

Officials at Lava Beds National Monument reported that the Antelope Fire has entered the park from the west side, burning through areas untouched by the Caldwell Fire last year.

"The fire crossed over into the park last night, September 8, 2021 and is now burning in the south west side of the park. At this moment, the park's road from the east entrance to Gillem's Bluff is open. The remainder of the park is closed," Lava Beds posted on Facebook.

The road from the main park entrance station at Gillem's Bluff trailhead parking area to Captain Jacks Stronghold and Hill Road remained open as of Thursday evening, in addition to Petroglyph Point. All other areas were closed until further notice.

(Updated 9/9/21 at 5 p.m.)


INITIAL REPORT: A series of fires sparked by lightning across Siskiyou County at the beginning of August have come roaring back after several weeks of progress made by fire crews. The Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office issued new evacuations for the River Complex fires and Antelope Fire on Wednesday.

On the Antelope Fire to the east of Mount Shasta, the new evacuations covered the area east of Forest Road 15 Davis Road, south of Bonita Butte, west of Fourmile Hill and north of Little Glass Mountain.

Fire officials said that the Antelope Fire remained active overnight, heading into critical fire weather conditions on Thursday. By 5:30 a.m., fire crews saw active spotting as the fire again started its inexorable march to the north and east.

The Antelope Fire was last mapped at 98,627 acres with containment at 77 percent.

In southwestern Siskiyou County, several fires in the River Complex continue to spread, prompting new evacuation orders and warnings for the communities of Callahan, Mosquito Lake, Eagle Creek, Cecilville, Summerville, Petersburg, and Sawyers Bar. In Trinity County to the south, evacuation orders and warnings have been issued for the communities of Coffee Creek, Carrville, and Trinity Center.

For an interactive map of evacuation orders and warnings in Siskiyou County, click here.

"A new infrared flight last night documented the significant growth of the fire in recent days," fire officials said on Thursday. "On Wednesday, the Haypress Fire spread aggressively on the northeast and east flanks toward Callahan and Hwy 3, and south toward Boulder Lake."

The River Complex was last mapped at a total of 174,985 acres. Most of that acreage comes from the Haypress and Summer fires, with the smaller Cronan Fire now holding within fire lines.

Both the River Complex and Antelope fire areas were placed under a Red Flag Warning for Thursday, as fire crews braced for stiff winds and the possibility of thunderstorms.

To the north of the River Complex, the McCash and Little Marble fires continue to pose their own threat. Firefighters are now working to add more contingency lines protecting the community of Happy Camp, should the McCash fire move north. Crews are also working along Elk Creek Road and Highway 96.

"Yesterday, taking advantage of clearer air, helicopters were able to drop buckets of water on the north side of the fire. Firefighters continue preparing a contingency line along the Iron Phone Road and Camp Three Road to hold the fire if it starts to move southwest," fire officials said.

The McCash Fire was last mapped at 69,725 acres, with the smaller Little Marble Fire estimated at just 12 acres. The latter has proven to be difficult to access, with poor visibility keeping smokejumpers from deploying. A local fire crew started hiking up to the fire on Thursday morning.

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