After a few days of good weather, fire crews are changing their tactics on the Slater Fire, which started in the Klamath National Forest in California but grew into a 120,000-acre blaze that moved into Oregon.
The fire is believed to have burned as many as 150 homes in the Happy Camp area along the Klamath River in Siskiyou County.
An evacuation order was issued for the town of Happy Camp and for residents living near the town.
According to fire managers, fire suppression strategy on the Slater as well as the Devil fires changed from structure and utility protection only to a larger perimeter containment strategy on Saturday.
Along the Slater Fire’s northwestern side in Del Norte County, the focus remained on point protection yesterday, primarily along Highway 199 from Gasquet to the Collier Tunnel.
Meanwhile, on the north side of the Slater Fire, crews and equipment continue to make headway along the west side of Highway 199, with hopes of buttoning up both sides of that highway with fireline and turn the northwest corner of the fire to connect with containment efforts along the fire’s northern edge.
The Wild Rivers Ranger District (Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest) currently has 150 local firefighters assigned to the Slater Fire that are working along the Highway 199 corridor.
Meanwhile, aircraft are standing by to assist in firefighting and intelligence gathering if the air clears enough. Smoky conditions have dampened fire activity over the past few days, but also hampered the use of aircraft due to poor visibility.
Both fires are still zero percent contained. The Devil Fire is estimated at 3,888 acres. The Slater Fire is estimated at 122,006 acres, according to last night’s infrared flight.
Due to extreme fire danger, all national forests in California have been closed through September 14, 2020.