HAPPY CAMP, Calif. – Another death is being blamed on the Slater Fire, which is burning near the community of Happy Camp, California.
The fire was first reported on the morning of September 8 near the Slater Butte Lookout. It almost immediately prompted evacuation warnings in the Happy Camp area. The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office determined the fire started sometime on the evening of September 7.
First estimated to be about 150 acres, the fire quickly grew to over 136,000 acres by Friday afternoon.
On September 9, the first fire-related fatality was announced. The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office said the body was found in a burned area near Happy Camp.
On September 10, a second fatality connected to the fire was confirmed. Like the first body, it was also found in a burned area.
Once the individuals are positively identified and next-of-kin has been notified, the sheriff’s office will provide more information to the public.
As the fire moves closer to the Illinois Valley, agencies from across the state are chipping in. They’re trying to get ahead of the fires path. Now they’re focusing on the O’Brein and Takelma area.
“They continue to prep property and focus on things over here. We have heard some inquires from the folks in the Applegate and Williams because that’s on the other side of some of the mountains. But we have not seen any indication as of yet that that is a priority right now,” said Jes Webb, Rural Metro Fire.
The air quality has been terrible for several days. But it hurts more than than their lungs it hampers their operations.
“It’s actually preventing aerial operations. That’s bad. But this layer as it is also is not windy, which is good. So it’s a double edge sword,” said Web.
The cause of the Slater Fire is still under investigation.
Mandatory evacuation orders were issued from Clear Creek along Highway 96 to O’Neil Creek Campground. The orders extend from Highway 96 to the Oregon-California border.
The Del Norte Office of Emergency Services said the community of Gasquet is currently under evacuation. Hiouchi and Big Flat are under an advisory evacuation.
The sheriff’s office said 150 estimated homes were damaged or destroyed. 400 are threatened.
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The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office provided the following resources for those affected by the Slater Fire:
- Temporary evacuation point location: Klamath River Union Elementary School, 30438 Walker Rd., Horse Creek, CA 96050
- Evacuation shelter location: Karuk Tribal Wellness Center, 1403 Kahtishraam, Yreka, CA 96097
- Fire information line: (530) 324-2528