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Klamath County wildfire grows to 650 acres; no containment but 80% lined

Sycan River Fire bulldozer USFS 530
U.S. Forest Service
A bulldozer works in front of the Sycan River Fire Sunday night
East Antelope Road Fire ODF
Oregon Department of Forestry
A water-dropping helicopter helped fight a wildfire threatening homes Saturday along East Antelope Road, near White City

(Update: New fire, the Yellow Jacket Fire, reported south of Beatty)

BEATTY, Ore. (KTVZ) – A wind-driven wildfire that broke out Sunday 20 miles north of the Klamath County town of Beatty, prompting a Level 2 (Be Set) evacuation order for residents of Sycan Forest Estates, has grown to 650 acres but is mostly lined, officials said Monday.

It was the second Southern Oregon fire to prompt evacuation alerts this Memorial Day weekend.

Meanwhile, a new fire, the Yellow Jacket Fire, was reported Monday afternoon and had burned 15 to 20 acres on state Department of Forestry-protected land about four miles south of Beatty.

The fire was burning in juniper mixed with Ponderosa pine. Several structures were threatened, but there were no evacuation orders in place. The cause was under investigation

Here's Monday morning's update on the Sycan River Fire, from the Fremont-Winema National Forest:

The Sycan River Fire continues to burn on the Fremont-Winema National Forest in Klamath County approximately 20 miles north of Beatty.

The fire is estimated to be approximately 650 acres, with no containment. Approximately 5 acres of private wildlands are in the fire area.  The fire was reported Sunday afternoon around 2:30. The cause is under investigation.

Firefighters made progress great progress on the fire overnight, with an estimated 80 percent of the fire lined, and successful burnout operations took place. Firefighters are focusing on the southern side of the fire Monday to strengthen protection for nearby private lands.

Resources on the fire include engines, fire crews, dozers, water tenders and aerial resources from federal and state agencies and contractors. The South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership (SCOFMP) Type 3 Team took over management of the Sycan River Fire Monday morning.

Forest Road 27 is closed from the intersection with Forest Road 30 north to the intersection with Forest Road 46.  This closure is for firefighter and public safety. This is the only road closure associated with the fire. However, drivers should be prepared for increased fire traffic in the area and aware of their surroundings. This includes large equipment on narrow Forest roads and traffic on area highways.

A Level 2 (get set) evacuation order remains in place for the Sycan Forest Estates, as declared by the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office. This means residents need to be prepared to leave immediately if needed.

For the latest evacuation information, visit To sign up for Klamath County alerts, visit

The American Red Cross and the Klamath County Community Emergency Response Team stand ready to set up a temporary evacuation point in the Bly area, should an increase in the evacuation level be issued from Incident Command.

The weather forecast for Monday and into this week is for summer-like temperatures, with hot and dry conditions.  The spring has been unseasonably warm and dry which, when mixed with winds, can carry fire quickly.  The public is asked to use extreme caution with anything that can spark a wildfire.  This includes campfires are dead-out and cold to the touch before leaving.

A Level 1 (Be Ready) evacuation notice was issued initially, later upgraded to a Level 2. Under a Level 2 evacuation notice, residents are advised of a significant wildfire risk and to be ready to move at a moment’s notice.

The Sycan River Fire is burning approximately 10 miles northeast of the area burned by the Ponina Fire last month.

Meanwhile, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office at noon on Sunday lowered from Level 2 to Level 1 (Be Ready) the evacuation alert on the East Antelope Road Fire near White City, which also prompted roadblocks. The Oregon Department of Forestry reported it burned nearly 50 acres before it was fully lined, and mop-up was underway.

Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.



  1. The contractors have figured out that there is a lot more money in “fighting” fires than putting them out. When a fire is “lined”, it means that they are “concerned” that the fire will jump the line and they will make more money. Expect this to go on all summer, if not forever.

    1. Contractor are not out there trying to keep fires going. Sometimes there are some idiots out there making fires so they can get jobs fighting them but that is more rare than common.

  2. I have brought forth a plan that would cost the same as the yearly spending on fighting fires. The difference is, it would be a one time spend that would create areas that are self containing during fires. Basically, it would be using our own landscape bowls to re establish forest. These bowls would have their own biomes and be able to create sanctuaries for wildlife. It would also create tourism revenue. Other countries around the world are already doing this and it works. The fires can only burn as much that is in the biome, but can never leave the biome. Like i said, the landscape is already there. All we have to do is use them to our advantage. The yearly cost to fight fires is over 400 million a year. It would take less than that to enact this plant and stop 90% of large fires from happening or getting out of hand in the first place. Instead, we’re spending more than we can on fighting a losing battle. It’s time changes are made, but who is actually going to listen?

  3. Basically we use our basins and bowls to create forest. These basins would be so enclosed as to create their own humid environment. At the top of these basins and bowls would be nothing but gravel, prevent any fire from climbing up and over. By using basins and bowls as our forest areas, we can also use them as a revenue source by using them as wild life habitats and opening them up to tourism. We are lucky enough to have an unlimited source of basins and bowls in oregon to do this with. After forest are established in these bowls and basins, we would have to deforest a large area around towns and living areas to the current forest areas don’t continue to destroy our homes. When these areas eventually burn down, instead of replanting where it burned, we replant in another basin/bowl. In essence, moving a forest area. It would be impossible for a fire to escape these basins or bowls and they would be even easier to put out when started. We would have more land to develop as well as more forest than we had before to clean our air and bring in money.

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