The Klondike Fire east of Gold Beach has continued its slow burn to the northeast and west about 5 miles from Agness, where firefighting crews have established wide fire breaks in hopes of keeping it from the tiny community.
Citizens there remain on Level 2 “Be Set” status, the U.S. Forest Service inciweb information website said.
New maps show the fire is 23.4 air-miles from Brookings, 14.4 air-miles from Gold Beach and 5.37 miles south of Agness.
Also, temporary forest closure orders remain in effect around the fire, including Forest Roads 4103, 4105, 2512 and 2402-676. Bear Camp Road between Agness and Galice is also closed.
The Klondike Fire, which was started by lightning in a storm that ignited scores of other fires July 15, was divided into two management zones in mid-August. A branch in Selma is taking care of the East Klondike and Taylor Creek fires and another team at the Event Center on the Beach fairgrounds in Gold Beach addressing the needs of the West Klondike Fire.
The most active flanks of the West Klondike Fire are those along the northwest and western edges, and near Game Lake, but even those are considered “moderate,” with flames of 4 to 6 feet in height, said Operations Section Chief Mark Jamieson.
Spot fires are sprinkled throughout Fish Hook Peak, west toward Saddle Mountain and southeast of Sugarloaf Mountain, maps indicate. Smoke seen from Agness is primarily due to firing operations crews are conducting, reports read.
He said they are concentrating efforts in the Fishhook Peak and Indigo Creek areas, and igniting backfires along nearby ridgelines. That way, Jamieson explained, the fire in the valley below will burn up toward the ridgeline, but have no fuels left when it encounters either the back burn or flames crews have set.
Another fire line has been built in the Saddle Mountain area, and a secondary line was to have been completed west of there should the fire get started anew.
On the west side, firing operations successfully tied the fire line between Game Lake Peak and Saddle Mountain into areas burned by the Chetco Bar and Collier Butte fires. They were also instrumental in removing fuel from the path of the advancing fire, inciweb reported.
In the north, flames moved toward Sugarloaf Mountain, but again, successful firing operations west of Fish Hook Peak backed down the ridge and prevented growth to the northwest.
Depending on conditions, firing operations were to be done on the 2308 Road near Sugarloaf Mountain. Crews not involved with the firing operations continued to strengthen lines and support firing operations where needed.
“Everyone’s working diligently, whether it’s on contingency lines or fire operations, to suppress this fire,” said Justin Haynes, a public information officer trainee based in Gold Beach. “The IC (incident command) team is definitely looking at any opportunities s to engage the fire in any safe manner, using firing as a suppression tactic, and they are being successful.
“Everyone’s looking forward to getting it all wrapped up,” Haynes said, adding that no date has been set. Other Forest Service officials have said that, like the Chetco Bar Fire, most of the wildfires burning in the region won’t be extinguished until seasonal rains begin.
The wind shifted earlier this week, bringing fog to the coast and pushing the fires back into areas they had already burned, fire officials said.
Hot, dry weather was prevalent Thursday, but favorable winds allowed firing operations to continue on the west and north parts of the fire.
On Friday, the weather was sunny and warm with light winds, but areas of dense smoke were predicted to ground aircraft
On the east end of the county, about 90 personnel are working on the Taylor Creek and East Klondike Fire, both patrolling the fire perimeter and performing suppression repair. Repair activities include grading heavily-used roads, repairing damaged culverts, replacing vegetation, installing water bars on dozer lines and hand lines to prevent erosion, and removing timber that might present a danger after they were damaged during suppression efforts.
Though residents have been able to return to their homes, forest closures remain in place and will for some time, inciweb officials report.
Information on current closure conditions can be found at the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest website: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/rogue-siskiyou/alerts-notices.
Klondike Fire: 117,458 acres; 51 percent contained; 1,177 personnel; 65 engines; 33 water tenders; eight dozers; 28, 20-person crews; 12 helicopters.
Taylor Creek Fire: 52,839 acres, 95 percent contained, 79 personnel