As Klondike Fire grows, crews rethink strategies and bring in backup

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Every fire comes with it's own challenges, but high temperatures, low relative humidity, wind, and steep terrain have kept the Klondike Fire at 15 percent containment for the 12th consecutive day, burning over 68,000 acres.

With the fire's rapid spread, an incident management team from California has been called in to stage on the west side of the fire.

Rogue-River Siskiyou National Forest ordered the team to allow more focus on parts of the fire line that have been hard to control.

"The Alaska Incident Management Team can now focus on the east side of the fire, which we have a lot of line constructed on, but most importantly on that south side of the fire," says Peter Frenzen, an information officer with the Alaska Incident Management Team.

That south side has been difficult to control due to terrain and fuels, and sits close to valuable assets like homes and the highway.

But fire fighters are hoping to take advantage of the upcoming weather conditions.

"The winds have been predicted to come out of the northeast and progress southwest which is favorable to pushing it towards the Chetco scar - fire scar," says Jonathan Glover, an operations sections chief with the Alaska Incident Management Team.

Crews are also supporting that movement westward along baby foot road.

"We're carrying fire along the edge," says Glover. "So as the fire advances, we will then go in and on a smaller scale ignite off of the edge and let that fire carry into the main fire and that way it removes the fuel between the control line and the existing fire."

The hope is that the fire will burn out when it hits the Chetco Bar Fire scar, with little fuel left over.

There is potential the fire could continue to spread toward Agnes and Gold Beach, but California crews are working on a western line still far from those communities.

"The California team is excellent at fire fighting but also making personal contacts, and that's what they'll be focusing on in the weeks ahead," says Frenzen.

There will be community meetings for the fire tomorrow at 6pm in Agnes at the community library and in Cave Junction at the Illinois Valley High School. There will also be a community meeting Tuesday in Gold Beach.

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