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Klamathon Fire in southern Oregon 45 percent contained, County Fire in Yolo County and east of Lake Berryessa in Napa County 80 percent contained

Rogue Valley wineries near the California border continue to welcome visitors
by Kerana Todorov
July 10, 2018
Staging area for the Klamathon Fire in Siskiyou County, Calif. Photo courtesy of California Highway Patrol- Yreka.

Nearly 3,000 firefighters on Monday continued to fight a vegetation fire along the California-Oregon border, according to CAL FIRE. As of Tuesday morning, the Klamathon Fire had burned 36,500 acres in Siskiyou County and Jackson County in southern Oregon and was 45 percent contained.

Wineries in the Rogue Valley in southwestern Oregon near the California border on Monday said they continue to welcome visitors. “So far, it really hasn’t affected us,” StoneRiver Vineyards owner Virginia Lange said Monday afternoon.

The fire, which started Thursday near Hornbrook in Siskiyou County, has destroyed more than 80 structures. The blaze has forced the evacuation of about 3,000 residents, though some were allowed to return home Monday.

Authorities reported one fatality, a person found in a residence in Hornbrook, Siskiyou County. Another body may have been found Monday in a collapsed structure, Siskiyou Sheriff Jon Lopey said Monday at a press conference and community meeting in Yreka. Three injured firefighters are improving, according to CAL FIRE.

Interstate 5, which closed in both directions along near the California-Oregon border Thursday afternoon through Friday morning, remained open in both directions.

Smoke from the fire has reached as far north as Spokane, Wash., an air official said Monday evening at a press conference and community meeting in Yreka. However, wineries representatives in the Rogue Valley reported largely clear skies, thanks to the winds.

Authorities said the Siskiyou Agricultural Commissioner, sheriff’s deputies and volunteers helped coordinate the evacuation of farm animals to the Siskiyou County Fairgrounds in Yreka. Fire smoke affect bees’ ability to forage for food. Beekeepers in the Yreka and Hornbrook areas are feeding their bees, said Katharina Davitt, educational director for the Klamath Basin Beekeepers Association.

California Highway Patrol officers and others on Monday escorted evacuated residents to their homes so they could collect pets and valuables.

In the meantime, firefighters are working around the clock. Local firefighters are involved as well. The Hornbrook Fire Protection District’s five volunteer firefighters have been taking turns assisting fighting the fire. Two firefighters were out with the department’s water tender on Monday afternoon, providing water to firefighters assigned to the Hilt area, while the other volunteers rested, said Sherri Thurner in an email.
Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday declared a state of emergency in Siskiyou County because of the Klamathon Fire, the second largest in the state.

As of Tuesday, the state’s largest incident was the County Fire in mostly rural Yolo County and east of Lake Berryessa in Napa County. As of Tuesday morning, the blaze had charred nearly 91,000 acres and was about 80 percent contained. All evacuations have been lifted.

CAL FIRE has said repeatedly California no longer has a fire season. So far this year, CAL FIRE has fought 53,000 acres of wildfire this year, according to state officials. In past years, wildfires averaged 23,000 acres for the same time period.

Brown on June 25 declared a state of emergency for Lake County due to the Pawnee Fire. The fire started on June 23 in Lake County and burned 15,195 acres and destroyed 22 structures before it was fully contained this weekend.

Brown on Friday and Saturday issued similar proclamations because of the Holiday Fire in Santa Barbara County and the West Fire in San Diego County.

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