Lava Beds National Monument – The ‘Caldwell’ Fire near the southeast corner of the Lava Beds National Monument has now blackened more than 12 square miles.
The Caldwell fire is the largest of several fires burning in the ‘July Complex’.
As of Friday morning, the Caldwell Fire scorched more than 7,900 acres.
“The two other fires that are part of the complex, sound from air tac sounded like they were doing very well.” Notes Jim Snow, with the Incident Command Team known as ‘California Team 12’. “With retardant and hand line, dozer lines, and crews and equipment on the ground.”
A storm on Wednesday peppered the region with lightning strikes, sparking the fires.
“We have some good, decent weather today.” Snow points out. “It’s still hot and dry – we have crews on the ground, more equipment is checking in.”
The Lava Beds Visitor Center is closed, and is threatened by the fire.
“That’s the immediate structure that’s in the area.” Confirms Snow. “That is in the threat – but we’re standing by, we have crews on scene as well.”
Snow says crews from across the region have been called in to help put out the fire. “There are probably a total of anywhere from 500 to a thousand personnel.”
A massive ‘pyrocumulus’ cloud from the fire was visible from Klamath Falls on Thursday.
The Lava Beds National Monument remains closed to the public at this time.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970’s. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.Lyle’s job history is quite colorful.
He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90’s as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.
“The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story”.
When he’s not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.