Overnight, the McKinney Fire in Northern California grew at a terrifyingly enormous rate. The fire was estimated to be 63 acres early Friday. By Saturday morning, estimates have the fire at more than 18,000 acres.
After a series of thunderstorms rolled through the area Friday night, the fire took off in size and movement. At approximately 11p last night, the McKinney Fire jumped Highway 96, which led to a partial closure of the route. Unconfirmed scanner traffic also relayed concerns that some residents in the area were trapped by the fast moving flames. At this time, there have been no reports of loss of life from the fire.
The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) has a number of mandatory evacuations in place, along with several cautionary evacuation zones. They now stretch to the border with Oregon. The McKinney fire is burning approximately 33 miles south of Medford.
A number of fires have stated as a result of evening thunderstorm activity in the area. The cluster of concern is the China Fire, China 2 Fire, and Evans Fire. The China 2 Fire was first reported by US Forest Service personnel at 11:02p Friday night. It is located in the Seiad area of Northern California, south side of the river. Officials say the China 2 Fire and Evans Fires consists of two hot spots; one fire is in the area of Evans Peak, the other is in the China Peak area. The China 2 Fire was approximately 30 acres last night. Expectations are it has also grown significantly overnight, no official update at this time.
The next few days are expected to continue to challenge crews, as the area will be under a Red Flag Warning. More air support assistance is on the way, as several Large Air Tankers (LAT) and Very Large Air Tankers (VLAT) have arrived at the Medford Airports (MFR) two air tanker bases Friday evening. If weather permits, expect to see numerous operations in and out of MFR in the area of these fires.
It’s important for residents in the affected areas to be aware of quickly changing dynamics in this fire. And prepare for expanded evacuation notices from officials
This is a developing incident. Medford Alert will continue to monitor and update as new information becomes available.