The 2017 Klamath-Siskiyou Fire Reports: Wilderness Wildfire on the Klamath River
|The upper portions of Dillon Creek burned at largely low severity during the Eclipse Complex Fire, moderated by recent fire footprints and atmospheric inversion layers.|
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The summer of 2017 was an epic fire season. The combination of widespread lightning storms and limited fire suppression resources led to significant fires throughout the region, especially in remote areas. In the remote backcountry of the Klamath River, fires burned for many months. The lack of resources and minimal homes at risk allowed fire crews to “loose herd” the fires into the Wilderness where they burned largely without suppression efforts. The result was a series of vast Wilderness fires with positive fire effects and a characteristic mosaic of mixed-severity fire.
The Island Fire began deep in the Marble Mountains Wilderness Area on June 25, 2017 during an early summer lightning storm. The Island Fire later merged with the Wallow Fire in the Marble Mountains Wilderness Area, becoming the Salmon August Fire. The fires burned over 60,000 acres in the North Fork of the Salmon River and in surrounding watersheds. The Salmon August Fire made dramatic wind and weather-driven runs between August 29 and September 5, burning 70% of the fire area in only eight days.
|The Salmon August Fire burned in the high country of the Marble Mountains.|
The Clear Fire began in the South Fork of Clear Creek on July 25, 2017, west of Happy Camp, California. Within the next month, numerous lightning caused fires, including the Clear, Prescott, Oak, Young, and Little Buck Fires merged, becoming the over 90,000-acre Oak Fire. The Oak Fire burned in and around the Siskiyou Wilderness in the Clear Creek, Dillon Creek, Oak Flat Creek and the South Fork of the Smith River watersheds.
The Cedar Fire burned east of Happy Camp and was included with the Oak Fire to become the Eclipse Complex Fire. The Cedar Fire burned in the upper portions of Thompson Creek in the Kangaroo Inventoried Roadless Area and into the edge of the Red Buttes Wilderness Area.
|The Cedar Fire burned in the Kangaroo Roadless Area adjacent to the Red Buttes Wilderness.|
The fires of 2017 burned in a largely natural, mixed-severity fire mosaic, reducing fuel loads and maintaining healthy habitat conditions across hundreds of thousands of acres in our region. Despite extensive attempts to suppress these fires, it was a change in weather conditions that extinguished the fires in October, not fire suppression crews.
The Klamath Forest Alliance (KFA) has published two new fire reports, documenting the fire effects, ecology and suppression impacts of the Salmon August and Eclipse Complex Fires in northern California. Our reports explore the actual on-the-ground fire effects and utilize each case study to advocate for the reform of fire suppression policies. We believe that managed wildfire is the most important restoration tool available to federal land managers and is vital to the health and diversity of our wilderness landscapes.
Check out the 2017 Klamath-Siskiyou Fire Reports. The reports will help enrich your understanding of wildfire and wildfire management in the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains!
|The Eclipse Fire burned in the Siskiyou Wilderness Area and around Bear Lake in the Kelsey Range. The fire burned at characteristic levels of fire severity with 74% low, 18% moderate and 8% high severity fire.|
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