Strong winds pushed the Antelope Fire, which had been burning in Siskiyou County, Calif., north toward the Oregon border on Thursday causing authorities to issue a string of new evacuation orders. As of Friday afternoon, the fire was 143,512 acres.
The fire, which was sparked by lightning on August 1, had been estimated at 77% containment, but that percentage was reduced Friday to 63% as the fire advanced. On Friday, 764 personnel were assigned to the fire.
Evacuation orders remain in effect all the way to the state line, through the closed Lava Beds National Monument as well as Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge. Evacuations were ordered for just west of Tule Lake, and the town of Tulelake and the county fair were inundated with smoke and discolored air.
Adrienne Freeman, public information office on the Antelope Fire, said the strong outflow winds that pushed the fire farther north than was expected. She said the wind was caused by collapsing thunderclouds.
“A column to our east and south collapsed and caused a wave of very strong winds that pushed the Antelope Fire to the north,” Freeman said. “And when those thunder clouds collapse there can be really erratic winds.”
Freeman said that earlier this week a spot fire ignited about half a mile to the east of the containment area. That spot fire quickly grew to 10,000 acres before doubling in size on Wednesday.
“As of now, we are at the height of the burn period,” Freeman said.
The region was under Red Flag Warning for much of Thursday into Friday.
Though early Friday morning brought some measurable precipitation to the fire area and mitigated some of the burning, fire behavior remained active overnight, according to a news release from fire command. Night crews focused on structure protection in the Three Sisters area.
The fire also moved through the southwest portion of Lava Beds National Monument, which had been spared by last summer's Caldwell Fire, though the containment line north of Medicine Lake held overnight.
Evacuations as of press time Friday
Real-time evacuation updates can be found online at https://www.211disasterupdate.com/2021-siskiyou-fires or facebook.com/SiskiyouCountySheriff.
The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office announced the following evacuation orders due to the Antelope Fire. People in these areas should leave immediately.
North of Garner Mountain and Mount Hoffman; west of the Siskiyou/Modoc county line; South of Canby Cross; East of Dorris, Sheep Mountain and Cedar Mountain. Includes Stateline Road/Hwy 161 east to Hill Road, west of Hill Road, Lava Beds National Monument, Dorris Brownell Road, Willow Creek and Red Rock Road, Robison Road, Long Prairie, Davis Road.
An order is also in effect for the Medicine Lake area north and west of Medicine Lake Road, north of 44N17 and southeast of Forest Road 77.
The Siskiyou County Sherriff's Office also issued an evacuation warning for the area south of Dorris, east of Highway 97 and Old State Highway, north of Tennant Road, west of Sheep Mountain and Cedar Mountain and including Red Rock Road. The Dorris city limits are not included in any evacuation warnings or orders.