Special notes: There is a RED FLAG WARNING today.
Weather: Partly cloudy this morning, becoming mostly cloudy with increasing moisture and instability that will lead to thunderstorms. Storms will be possible any time after 12pm but are most likely between 3pm and 7pm. Any thunderstorms will be capable of producing dangerous and erratic downdraft wind gusts, significant lighting, brief heavy downpours, and small hail. Storms should come from the S/SW. Temperatures may reach as high as 91F with humidity at 18-23%. Winds should be light in the morning, becoming S to SW at 8-12mph with gusts to 17mph in the afternoon, and downdrafts reaching up to 40mph. The rest of the week is predicted to remain sunny, very hot, dry, and unstable.
Current Situation: Yesterday’s thunderstorms caused strong and erratic outflow winds that contributed to rapid fire spread on the Caldwell Fire. Fire management responded with multiple resources including 20 engines, 5 water tenders, 3 hand crews with a total of 60 firefighters, and resource supervisors. The fire burned throughout the night and spread primarily to the north.
Evening infrared flights showed a growth of just over 30,000 acres, resulting in a total of 43,749 acres. The fire is now just south of County Road 120. There have been evacuations in the Tulelake area, and there was known impact to one structure and three outbuildings. Fire managers are assessing for damage.
The fire also had some growth to the west/northwest. Firefighters conducted burn-out operations around the Lava Beds National Monument Visitor Center and around some residences in order to protect this area.
Today brings similar unstable conditions; predicted gusty outflow winds could create more extreme fire behavior and growth. Drought-stressed fuels are holding heat for long periods of time and are receptive to spotting and therefore new ignitions.
Firefighters on the north of the fire will prioritize protecting structures in the Tulelake area and construct both direct and indirect containment line. Crews on the west of the fire will continue work on the secondary containment lines between the fire and the Medicine Lake area. There are 16 helicopters available to assist with suppression efforts today.
Resources will continue to staff the Caldwell Fire at night, monitoring the fire’s edge and engaging in suppression efforts as safety permits.
Allen and Dalton Fires: The Allen and Dalton fires both have line around their entire perimeters. Crews continuing securing and mopping-up this line in order to be able to call it “contained”. Primary focus for the July Complex is on the Caldwell Fire.
Fire managers will employ tactics that safely engage fire while prioritizing firefighter and public safety and protecting values at risk. Life safety will always remain the number one priority. COVID-19 mitigations are being taken to limit exposure risks to firefighters and the public, per CDC guidelines.
Closures and Evacuations: There are MANDATORY EVACUATIONS for the following roads in the Tulelake area south of HWY 139: County Road 120 to 124, County Road 121 to 124, all residents with property bordering the forest or Lava beds from 120-124. There are EVACUATION WARNINGS for all of Copic, Panhandle and Peninsula areas south of HWY 139. There remains a MANDATORY EVACUATION in place for the Medicine Lake Recreation Area. The Lava Beds National Monument remains closed.
For information regarding evacuations, go to the Modoc County Sheriff’s Facebook or Website: www.modocsheriff.us