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Sheriff Identifies Hornbrook Man Killed in Klamathon Fire

Fire officials are reporting broad success as evacuees return to their homes—but they have finally identified one person believed killed in the fire.

Posted: Jul. 11, 2018 6:47 PM
Updated: Jul. 11, 2018 7:00 PM

ASHLAND, Ore. — One man found dead in the aftermath of the Klamathon Fire has at last been identified, according to Siskiyou County Sheriff John Lopey.

CAL FIRE officials announced the fatality on Friday. Since then, Sheriff Lopey has said that the identify of the victim would not be revealed until next of kin had been notified.

At a press conference in Ashland Wednesday night, Sheriff Lopey revealed that the victim was 72-year-old John Karl Bermel of Pilot Road in Hornbrook. His body was found in or near the remains of his residence.

Sheriff Lopey also reported that re-population efforts were well underway in the area, with few incidents—one burglary call and an arrest for drug possession. Returning evacuees, some of them devastated by the loss of homes or pets, were bravely returning to the task at hand.

"Some people lost everything," said the Sheriff. Although the fire is considered completely contained near Hornbrook, firefighters and law enforcement personnel have stayed in the area to aid the returning residents, according to a CAL FIRE official.

Meanwhile, the evacuation shelter at Jackson Street Elementary in Yreka went from at least 162 people sheltering there during the height of the fire to just 11 on Wednesday.

Containment of the fire continued to see modest growth—now at 65%—with no growth of the fire itself to speak of, according to fire officials. The remaining firefight continues along the fire's northern edge, where it crosses about a mile into Oregon's deep, high wilderness near the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

Those officials indicated that as the fire nears total containment, Wednesday evening's meeting would likely be the last press conference and community meeting regarding the Klamathon fire.

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