McKinney fire near Yreka forces evacuations amid record heat

The blaze burned amid all-time record heat and thunderstorms that produced dry lightning that forced evacuations in Siskiyou County, Northern California.

The McKinney Fire started about 1.5 kilometers west of the Walker Creek Bridge, on the south side of the Klamath River, Klamath National Forest officials said in a tweet shortly before 3 p.m.

By 8:30 p.m., it had grown to about 300 acres, forestry officials tweeted.

Officials believe there is more to the fire, but efforts early Friday focused on extinguishing the fire rather than mapping it, said Jennifer Erickson, a spokeswoman for the forest.

Other agencies, including the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention, are supporting the US Forest Service’s fire department with “a positive initial strike,” Erickson said.

Air and ground resources were deployed and more were required, although the number of firefighters assigned to the incident was not available Friday night.

“It’s burning in an area with no recent recorded fire history,” Erickson said. “It was extremely hot and dry. Those are challenging conditions. ”

Dan Weygand, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Medford, Ore. said another day of extreme heat was forecast for Saturday.

Weygand said a weather station at Montague-Yreka airport recorded its highest temperature for three days in a row.

Wednesday’s high at the weather station was 110 degrees, he said; the highest on Thursday and Friday was 111.

The previous all-time high of 109 degrees was recorded on June 27, 2021, he said, adding that the temperature record dates back to 1948. The normal high for the region was in late July. is about 95 degrees.

Weygand said thunderstorms passing through the area produced dry lightning, but no storms were recorded over the burning area.

Officials do not know if a flash of lightning ignited the blaze.

Additional thunderstorms are forecast for the area over the weekend. Although meteorologists predict some chance of rain, storms at this time of year usually don’t produce enough rain to prevent fires from breaking out.

The fire brigade is pursuing a comprehensive suppression strategy, with air resources including 8 refueling aircraft, 5 helicopters, 2 tactical airborne aircraft and 2 lead aircraft assigned. firefighting, Erickson said.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, the lead planes provide initial reconnaissance of crash sites and direct refueling planes to the crash sites.

Authorities knew of structures near the fire that were threatened, but an official tally was not available Friday night, Erickson said.

Siskiyou district officials ordered residents in two areas to evacuate and issued evacuation warnings for three other areas.

Maps of affected areas and warnings are available at community.zonehaven.com.

This is a developing story and will be updated as new information becomes available.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-07-29/mckinney-fire-near-yreka-evacuations-all-time-high-temperature-record McKinney fire near Yreka forces evacuations amid record heat

Edmund DeMarche

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