McKinney Fire Reaches 90% Containment: Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

Mopping up continues along the perimeter of the fire with crews looking to “find and destroy method hot spots.”

Alpine Wildfire Services conducts a cleanup on the McKinney Fire along Mill Creek Road. [Courtesy Klamath National Forest]

The McKinney Fire in Siskiyou County was 90 percent contained Saturday, but that “doesn’t mean the work is done,” said Dennis Burns, fire behavior analyst for the Fire Management Team. ‘California Interagency Incidents II, during a fire briefing Saturday.

Standing in front of a map of the fire, Burns pointed to a red segment on its west side that crews are still working to contain. Another incident team will begin working on the fire Sunday to “suppress and repair,” he said.

Kimberly Kaschalk, public information officer for the Klamath National Forest, explained that the red area on the map does not mean the fire area is scorching; rather, notice that crews have a containment line around them as they continue to “touch up.”

“They enter this area — boots on the ground — they look for any hot spot, any inconvenience, any burnt stump; anything that could compromise the containment line and cause the fire to go further and spread,” Kaschalk said in an interview.

“This takes time, because it’s literally what we call ‘search and destroy’; they’re literally walking around the ground looking for these places, and as they find them, they’re either dousing them with water or chopping wood, anything to put out the fire,” he added.

At his briefing Saturday, Burns said crews have been battling the edges of the fire before heading into the core, “opening up some of those roads so people can get onto their properties.”

Kaschalk said crews are “building a wall around the fire,” but there may still be flames inside.

“It will possibly burn for months, but the fire will not go anywhere; is virtually contained behind that line of fire, Kaschalk said.

Fire weather Saturday was expected to be hot, dry and sunny, with temperatures in the low 90s, humidity around 13% to 20%, and east/northeast winds, with gusts up to 20 mph possible .

The McKinney fire was at 60,392 acres Saturday and 2,420 people were assigned to the fire.

The Alex and Yeti fires burning west of the McKinney Fire are almost completely contained.

The 7,886-hectare Yeti Fire was 90 percent contained Saturday. Patrols continue, particularly along Highway 96, as isolated heat sources — rolling logs, blowing debris — ignite and ignite, causing small plumes and visible smoke, according to an Inciweb update. That is likely to continue in the coming weeks, he said.

The 151-acre Alex Fire is 100% contained.

A local assistance center will open this week at the College of the Siskiyous Rural Health Sciences Institute, 2001 Campus Drive, in Yreka, to serve residents affected by the McKinney fire. The center is a one-stop shop for help with recovery. It will be open Wednesday and Thursday, from August 17 to 18, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Traffic on Highway 96 is limited, with traffic diverted between Beaver Creek and Kohl Creek through the fire area.

Contact reporter Kevin Opsahl at 541-776-4476 or Follow him on Twitter @KevJourno.

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