Shelly Fire Still 0% Contained in Siskiyou County

Shelly Fire in Siskiyou County
Shelly Fire in Siskiyou County

In Siskisyou County, The Shelly fire is still raging and sitting at zero percent containment, and has ballooned to over 6,600 acres.

Darren McMillin is the public information officer for the Shelly fire.  “It’s near the Pacific Coast Trail and it’s been staying east and south of the pacific crest trail in that area,” he told Redwood News. “And just recently, it did jump to the other side of the Pacific Crest Trail”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

“All the evacuation orders and warnings are actually on the west side of highway three. So people can still i travel north and south without having problems getting through.

Sunday morning, the U.S. Forest service entered into a unified command with CALFIRE crews.

Monday morning, the operations section chief, John Chester, gave a briefing of current plans for containment of the fire. 

“So today real focus of the plan is to continue to work the CALFIRE side of this on the east side of the Pacific Crest Trail where it’s burning down into kidder creek drainage and working its way into the communities to the east,” he said in the briefing, “yesterday as well as today, we’ve experienced some problematic weather forecast that leads to the critical fire behavior and fire weather that is this driving this fire”

He also mentioned their use of two night-flying water dropping helicopters as part of their suppression effort.

“Our biggest concern is the northeast push towards kidder creek,” said McMillin “It was moving in the direction of Scott valley and homes that are down in Kidder Creek.  Then late Sunday, due to the red flag conditions, the fire made a really hard push to the northeast towards Scott valley. And at that time, on top of the resources we already had, 40 additional engines were called. And the CALFIRE Siskiyou unit actually did an all call and 15 additional engines responded on top of that.”

Operations section chief Chester continued, “expecting the same kind of weather patterns and forecast over the next few days.

So extreme fire weather conditions that are really pushing this fire and cause this fire to move around it’s a it’s a difficult task, steep, rugged country.”

McMillin echoed that sentiment. “It’s been so dry and hot, it doesn’t take much. So if people are out camping or hiking, it’s not just put the fire out. They need to stir it, make sure it’s cold before they leave and only and only have those campfires in designated areas where it’s allowed.

Everyone just needs to be very diligent that California is really ready, ripe and ready for four significant fires.”

I asked if this year was shaping up to be on track with last year or see more fire activity.
“I think this year’s already surpassed last year,” McMillin said. “This is we’ve had an extended period of just extreme heat, you know, sometimes over 110.  low humidity is not good for fires. It’s been down in the single digits. So the past seven to 14 days have just been really, I’ll say, devastating to the fire conditions. It’s just dried out extremely fast.”