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Firefighters are battling the McKinney Fire near Yreka and several smaller fires in northwestern Siskiyou County.
Communities of northwest Happy Camp to western Yreka remained under evacuation orders Sunday morning.
The McKinney Fire is 1% contained, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.
Light winds pushed the fire southeast toward Yreka on Saturday, but those winds are expected to calm down by Sunday morning, according to the National Weather Service. That could help firefighters stop the fire’s spread.
8 am Sunday UPDATE
The fire grew overnight to 51,468 acres, the US Forest Service said.
“Fire growth is expected to spread in all directions as red flag Warning for thunderstorms and lightning are in the forecast,” the Forest Service said in its Sunday morning update.
The fire is still 1% contained.
Meanwhile, the Shackleford Fire, which started Saturday night, is at 27 acres with zero percent containment.
All evacuation orders and warnings remain in place for the McKinney Fire, said Amy Travis of the Siskiyou County Office of Emergency Services.
“We will re-evaluate those mid-days to see where we are at and where the fire is headed,” she said. “At this point in time they are working diligently to put in fire breaks and dozer lines and the prime emphasis is to protect the city of Yreka.”
The National Weather service has issued an excessive heat warning for the area through 11 pm Sunday.
Meanwhile, a red flag warning goes into effect at 2 pm Sunday and is expected to stay around until 11 pm, according to the National Weather Service.
Highs are forecast to reach 101 degrees.
Forecasters say there is a 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 2 pm
Temperatures will cool to the low 90s by Monday, but there is still the potential for showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 11 am
Weather moving through the area Saturday night sparked at least one new fire in the area.
“With abundant lighting moving through the area, air attack continues to call in new starts like the #ShacklefordFire,” the US Forest Service posted on Facebook Saturday night.
How the fire started
The McKinney Fire — which started after 2 pm Friday and reached 3,000 acres that night — exploded to as many as 40,000 acres on Saturday, Klamath National Forest spokeswoman Caroline Quintanilla said.
Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Siskiyou County after the McKinney Fire destroyed homes and threatened critical infrastructure.
Dry thunderstorms ignited other fires throughout the Klamath National Forest and Northern Siskiyou County, according to the US Forest Service.
- The China2 Fire burning 2 to 3 miles west of Seiad grew to 500 acres on Saturday evening, according to Cal Fire. As of Saturday night it was not contained.
- The 20-acre Shackleford Fire started Saturday evening near Back Meadows Road and Big Meadows Creek, about 11 miles west of Fort Jones, according to the Forest Service.
Highway 96 is closed from Scott River Road in Hamburg to the junction at Highway 263 about 8 miles north of Yreka, according to the California Department of Transportation. The McKinney Fire is burning on both sides of the highway.
The Yreka Police Department issued evacuation orders and warnings for Yreka residents on Saturday.
Other areas under evacuation orders include Seiad Valley, Hamburg, Horse Creek, Scott Bar and Hooperville. Go here for a map of areas covered by evacuation orders and warnings.
Evacuations shelters open for people, animals
An evacuation shelter opened at the Weed Community Center, 161 E. Lincoln Ave. in Weed. For an updated evacuation zone map go to bit.ly/3zk4B6R.
Shelters for pets and other animals is available at these locations:
dogs: 2216 East Oberlin Road in Yreka. For information call 530-842-0829.
cats: 109 North Broadway St. in Yreka. For information call 541-531-1086.
Livestock animals: 1712 Fairlane Road in Yreka. Access the shelter from Sharps Road at the horse barns. For information call 530-340-1038.
Photos of animals with no known owner found in evacuation zones are posted at https://bit.ly/3JgopwD.
Jessica Skropanic is a features reporter for the Record Searchlight/USA Today Network. She covers science, arts, social issues and entertainment stories. Follow her on Twitter @RS_JSkropanic and on Facebook. Join Jessica in the Get Out! Nor Cal recreation Facebook group. To support and sustain this work, please subscribe today. Thank you.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism