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Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
View of the Siskiyou Pass and Colestin Valley Monday from 4 miles up the Mount Ashland Access Road.

Klamathon fire wrangled to 55 percent containment

The Klamathon fire burning on the Oregon-California border was 55 percent contained Tuesday, and fire officials estimated full containment could be achieved as early as Sunday.

“Overall, we’re feeling pretty good,” Oregon Department of Forestry public information officer Melissa Cano said. “Not completely out of the woods yet.”

The fire had burned about 36,500 acres, destroyed 82 structures and damaged 12 more as of Tuesday, according to fire officials. More than 1,000 structures remained under threat. Three firefighters have been injured, one with serious facial injuries, and one civilian was killed. Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey said an autopsy was scheduled Wednesday to confirm the person’s identity and determine the cause and manner of death.

Containment rose from 45 percent to 55 percent by Tuesday evening, according to Cal Fire incident management spokesman Steve Kaufmann.

Crews in Oregon were working to bolster lines on the northwest and northeast sides of the fire, which extend about from Interstate 5 near the Siskiyou Summit northeast to Pilot Rock and southeast to the Oregon-California border.

One spot fire jumped the northeast end of the line and grew to about seven acres, though crews made quick work of it.

“Lots of wind hit it,” Cano said. “However, they’ve already caught it and brought it back into the main body of the fire.”

The northeastern flank was of particular concern to firefighters, not only because of wind.

“There’s no fire history there,” said Klamathon fire public information officer Gabe Lauderdale. “There’s a lot of unburned fuel that has the potential to carry fire.”

On Monday, wind gusts reached 20 to 25 mph, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Charles Smith.

Temperatures are expected to climb into the triple digits for several days this week and next, with a forecast of 105 degrees Thursday.

Evacuation advisories

Several level 3, 2 and 1 evacuation advisories remain in place for parts of Jackson County.

Areas under level 3 — “go” — include:

• The area east of I-5, covering Bureau of Land Management lands and private properties west of the Jackson-Klamath County line, north of the Oregon-California border, and south of a line that extends from the intersection of I-5 and the Mount Ashland Ski Road east to the Jackson-Klamath county line.

Areas under level 2 — “get set” — include:

• The area east of Interstate 5, covering BLM lands and private properties west of the Jackson-Klamath county line, north of the line that extends from the intersection of I-5 and the Mount Ashland Ski Road due east to the Jackson-Klamath county line, north to Highway 66.

• Old Highway 99 from the Oregon-California border to the Mount Ashland Ski Road.

Areas under level 1 — “be ready” — include:

• The Colestin Valley, including the Colestin Road and all its tributaries from the Oregon-California border to the Mount Ashland Ski Road.

• Mountain Ashland Ski Road from Mount Ashland down to Old Highway 99.

• Old Highway 99 to Callahan’s Lodge.

“We have officially been downgraded,” a Tweet from Callahan’s Twitter account said, referring to the threat level. “Probably the best demotion I have ever received.”

Closures

Multiple road and trail closures were still in effect.

Ager Road at Klamathon and Shelly roads, Copco Road at Ager, Copco Road at I-5, Klamathon Road at I-5, Hilt at I-5 and Ditch Creek Road at I-5.

The Pacific Crest Trail is closed in the Soda Mountain Wilderness from I-5 northeast to Highway 66.

Reach web editor Ryan Pfeil at rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com or at 541-776-4468.

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