Jessica Cejnar / Thursday, Sept. 10 @ 4:57 p.m.
(Update) Incident Command Team Battling Slater, Devil Fires Set Up Info Hotline; Crews Focusing on Structure Protection in the Illinois Valley, Happy Camp areas
The incident management team battling the Slater and Devil fires have established public information centers on Facebook, InciWeb and via phone for residents in the area.
California Interagency Management Team 10 has set up a Facebook page for the fires, Public Information Officer Adrian Freeman said during a live update at about 4 p.m. Thursday.
“We also do encourage you to look at InciWeb,” Freeman said, adding that the California Interagency Management Team 10 took over managing the fires at about 6 a.m. Thursday. “Now, InciWeb is generally only updated twice a day, but it does have our naps and a more in depth update if that’s interesting to you.”
The Slater Fire started near Happy Camp on Tuesday and had burned 120,000 acres and was 0 percent contained as of Thursday morning, according to the morning InciWeb update.
Meanwhile, fire crews have focused their efforts on protecting structures in the Happy Camp area toward the airport, said Dan George, the interagency management team’s operations section chief.
Fire crews are also protecting structures in the Illinois Valley area, including Cave Junction and O’Brien, George said, adding that the blaze had spread across U.S. 199.
Firefighters are also battling the Devil Fire, which has grown to about 2,000 acres in the Seiad Valley area east of Happy Camp, according to George.
In Del Norte County, as of about 4 p.m., the fire continues to be near the Knopki Creek and Oregon Mountain Road areas south of Collier Tunnel, Del Norte Office of Emergency Services Public Information Officer Bill Steven confirmed Thursday afternoon
“We’re kind of in a hurry up and wait stage to see what the winds do,” Steven told the Outpost at about 4:15 p.m. Thursday. “We’re hearing everything from this will be over in two weeks to two months and everything in between. We’re at the mercy of the weather and the fuels to see what happens and exacerbating things is the fact that resources are so thin.”
Gasquet residents were permitted to return to their homes at about 11:30 a.m. Thursday, though officials recommended they be ready to evacuate again depending on fire activity.
Fire crews had another day of dry fuels, Freeman said during the live update, though meteorologists are predicting a more stable weather forecast.
A red flag warning is in effect for the Illinois River Valley, according to the National Weather Service. The forecast calls for a chance of rain after 11 a.m. Monday.
Freeman also addressed the stretched resources, noting that fires are affecting the entire Western U.S. region.
“We’re looking at a lot of pull on our resources and we’re doing the best we can with what we have,” she said. “Please do ask questions, but bear with us because we, like everybody else, are short-staffed in the public information shop.”