UPDATED: Seiad Valley prepares for evacuation as Goff fire grows

Updated 11:20 a.m. The U.S. Forest Service has issued a 12-hour evacuation notice for the community of Seiad Valley, warning residents there is a chance they may have to leave their homes because of the growing Goff fire.

The evacuation notice included phone calls to the 85 homes in the area as well as door-to-door notification by Siskiyou County Sheriff's Department deputies. About 350 people live in the area about 20 miles east of Happy Camp.

A shelter has been established at the Siskiyou Golden Fair Grounds, 1712 Fairlane Road, Yreka, Calif.

“They should be a preparing now in case they need to leave their homes,” said Mary Malene, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service which is leading the battle against the blaze.

“We have hand crews and engines now placed along the Seiad Valley Road,” she said of an area most threatened. “Structure protection is also in place as needed. And additional resources have been ordered to assist in the structure protection.”

The Goff fire has burned 11,712 acres in the Klamath River drainage and is 15 percent contained. Smoke from the fire continues to pour smoke into interior southwest Oregon.

Additional resources have been ordered to assist with fire suppression and structure protection efforts.

However, southwesterly winds predicted for this afternoon could push the fire away from private property, Malene said.

Unfortunately, the winds expected to gust up to 20 mph could also cause spot fires ahead of the main fire, she said, referring to fires caused by embers carried in the wind.

Burning material rolling down hill also could spread the fire, officials said. Hand crews and engines are in place along the Seiad Valley Road to provide structure protection as needed. Firefighters will continue to assess private property and make preparations to protect homes. Firefighters will use strategic firing operations only when necessary to strengthen containment lines, the Forest Service said.

On the west side of the fire, crews are working to secure containment lines. The fire is expected to move towards the saddle between Horse Peak and Tim's Peak. Fire behavior is expected to be minimal on this side of the fire as southwest winds should keep the fire from pushing through the saddle, the Forest Service reported.

Closures in the area include the Pacific Crest Trail from Highway 96 to Lily Pad lake. For complete closure information, check out www.fs.usda.gov/klamath.

A community meeting was held last night at the Seiad Fire Hall to share information on the current status of the Goff fire. Fire managers and Siskiyou County officials discussed the current fire behavior, tactics, strategy, as well as the structure defense and evacuation plans, the Forest Service reported.

The fire in the Klamath National Forest was one of three fires in the Fort Complex fires triggered by a lightning storm on Aug. 5. All told, that complex covered nearly 13,100 acres.

Both the 977-acre Hello fire and the 403-acre Lick fire have been largely contained. They are in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

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