Klamathon Fire expands, threatens Oregon residents

In this photo released Friday, July 6, 2018, by the California Highway Patrol, the Klamathon Fire burns in Hornbrook, Calif. A local California official says a deadly blaze burning near the Oregon border moved swiftly through the rural area that is home to many retirees. Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors chair Ray Haupt says the blaze moved so fast it quickly reached Hornbrook, a community of about 250 people about 14 miles (22 kilometers) south of the Oregon border. Authorities said one person was killed in the fire. (California Highway Patrol via AP)

The Klamathon Fire has spread to 35,250 acres and is 30% contained, according to Cal Fire.

81 structures have been destroyed and 12 damaged.

While winds pushed the flames south over the weekend, changing conditions have fire crews concerned about areas near the California/Oregon border.

Cal Fire's Incident Meteorologist said a weak system is expected in the area Monday afternoon, bringing shifting winds of up to 30 miles per hour.

"What that system is going to do is increase the winds across our fire tomorrow and tomorrow night," said Rich Thompson, Incident Meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "Fortunately on Tuesday, those winds are going to decrease in strength."

Thompson said gusty southwest winds are expected late tomorrow morning, with winds switching to the northwest/north direction through tomorrow night.

Fire Behavior Analyst Time Chavez said there are two "problem areas" within the fire.

"On the west side of I-5, we have an area where the fire is burning with heavy fuels," he said. "The other problem area is on the north side. This is in the Siskiyou Wilderness Area. Very heavy fuels with no fire history whatsoever in recorded history."

According to Chavez, parallel running drainage systems tend to funnel the wind in that area, creating potentially hazardous conditions.

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There are 2,700 personnel assigned to the Klamathon Fire, and members of the California National Guard have been brought in to assist law enforcement.

The addition of National Guard members will allow law enforcement to increase patrols and carry out other duty calls.

Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey said looting continues to be a concern in evacuated areas. He said Saturday one suspect has been put under arrest.

The Sheriff's office is escorting evacuated residents to their homes temporarily if there is a critical need, such as rescuing a pet or retrieving medication.

Three firefighters were injured over the past several days, but have since been released from the hospital. One received severe burn wounds and was transported to the U.C. Davis Burn Unit, according to a GoFundMe account set up to aid his recovery.

The account quickly surpassed its $25,000 fundraising goal. Creators of the account are requesting that any additional donations go to the Firefighters Burn Institute.

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