FireWatch: Happy Camp under evacuation warning as McCash Fire spots north

Fire officials said Tuesday that the McCash Fire was last mapped at 38,906 acres, though an infrared flight late Monday night did not take place due to mechanical issues.

Posted: Aug 31, 2021 2:58 PM
Updated: Aug 31, 2021 6:24 PM

HAPPY CAMP, Calif. — Still recovering after devastation from the Slater Fire in 2020, the Siskiyou County community of Happy Camp is now under an evacuation warning as the McCash Fire burning on the far western side of the county continues to grow, with flames spotting across contingency lines.

Fire officials said Tuesday that the McCash Fire was last mapped at 38,906 acres, though an infrared flight late Monday night did not take place due to mechanical issues. The fire is only considered to be 1 percent contained.

Active fire behavior on the north side of the fire created a spot across contingency dozer line near Bishop Ridge, officials said. Large air tankers hit the area with multiple retardant drops to support burnout operations, with crews burning areas to create a buffer between the dozer line and the encroaching fire.

A second spot fire was found southeast of Norcross, burning rapidly in dry fuels. Helicopter crews went in with bucket drops over the afternoon, and they are expected to return today if the smoke clears enough for safe flying.

"Today firefighters will work to secure and improve the line from yesterday’s burnout along the dozer line," officials said. "This will include working to contain several spots across the north line. They will use bucket drops from helicopters as visibility allows."

For public and firefighter safety, officials have asked that people use extra caution when traveling on Highway 96.

With the fire's growth to the north, the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office extended evacuation warnings north through the Happy Camp community, extending west to include the Ten Mile Creek Drainage, the junction of Highway 96, and Cade Creek to the east.

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.

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