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Klamath River Fire Reports

Mixed Severity Fire in the Happy Camp Fire on the slopes of the Scott River Canyon.

The summer of 2014 brought smoke, ash and fire to the Klamath Mountains, including three large wildfires on the Klamath National Forest. Combined, the fires burned over 218,000 acres, leaving their mark on the forests and woodlands of the Klamath, Salmon, and Scott River watersheds. Due to the drought and extreme fire conditions the fires were suppressed with aggressive firefighting tactics that created lasting environmental impacts. The Klamath National Forest has declared these fires catastrophic and the fire effected forests are now being targeted for extreme salvage logging proposals. The agency has offered rhetoric and spin to justify their proposal, claiming that the fires burned in a manner outside the characteristic mosaic of mixed severity fire in the Klamath Mountains. The industry is pushing hard to log large swaths of the fire area, converting natural fire effected stands into vast tree plantations. 

Some of us are asking: How did these fires actually burn and what were the effects? Were the fires “within the range of variability” for mixed severity fire in the Klamath Mountains, or outside the characteristic fire effects? Did suppression actions such as widespread “backfiring” impact burn severity and overstory mortality? Did suppression crews build damaging fire lines in sensitive areas, impact wildland values, water quality, or endangered species habitat? The Klamath-Siskiyou Fire Reports strive to answer these questions, identify the impacts of fire suppression and recommend solutions. The reports also provide detailed information about fire effects, burn severity, and the progression of these fires across the landscape. 

Dozerline created during the suppression of the Happy Camp Fire on Doolittle Ridge.

Siskiyou Crest Blog author, Luke Ruediger, researched and wrote two of the fire reports, including the Happy Camp Fire Report and the Beaver Fire Report. The text of both of these reports, as well as a fire report for the Whites Fire on the Salmon River, are also available on the Klamath Forest Alliance website. The Klamath-Siskiyou Fire Reports can be downloaded and viewed at the dropbox link provided below. The top two reports are text only, the lower two reports have color photos and burn severity maps imbedded within the text. Please read the reports, advocate for fire suppression reform, and speak out on behalf of the Klamath River. 

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