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00000171-95d3-d2cb-a5f3-9fff6ded0000 Check here for information on fires in our region. You can also check out these resources:Northwest Interagency Coordination CenterSWOFIRE: Oregon Department of Forestry, SW regionCalFire: Current Fire InformationInciWeb: Incident Information SystemOregon Smoke Blog: Smoke informationSouth Central Oregon Fire Management Cooperative (Klamath/Lake Counties & Crater Lake)

Waiting For The Wind To Die: Carr Fire Week 2

UPDATE: Monday, July 30, 9:00 a.m. -- The Carr Fire enters its second week on Monday, with thousands of people hoping the next seven days will be far less destructive than the first seven.  A red flag warning issued by the National Weather Service expired at 8 AM Monday, raising hopes of at least the wind dying down.The wind, the high heat, and the low humidity all contributed to the explosive growth of the fire, which has caused the deaths of at least six people, destroyed more than 874 structures, damaged more than 100, and continues to threaten thousands more.

Cal Fire pushed the containment figure for the fire up to 20% Monday morning, welcome news after that figure had remained in the single digits for days.

CalFire spokesperson Anthony Romero told JPR Monday morning that the south side of the fire, up against Redding, had strong containment and that mop-up operations were going to be the order of the day.

Romero said the west side of the fire, toward Lewiston and Weaverville, is still being contained. He said continued efforts will be made Monday to establish and reinforce containment line in that area.

Romero noted the Red Flag Warning -- meaning hot, windy weather that supports wildfire growth -- expired this morning. But, he said, crews would keep their guard up.

"This fire has been very dymanic, very erratic," he said.  "So we want to make sure that we're still watching our backs because all it takes is just a good wind condition and we're off the the races again."

Evacuations continue in force, with more added through the weekend.  Evacuation zones now stretch from the Shasta-Trinity County line on the west to Shasta Dam on the east, and as far south as Happy Valley.  Emergency managers estimate 40,000 people out of their homes.

Evacuation shelters are set up at the following locations:

  • Shasta College at 11555 Old Oregon Trail (currently full, says Shasta Co. Sheriff)
  • CrossPointe Community Church at 2960 Hartnell Ave.
  • Simpson University at 2211 College View Dr.
  • Neighborhood Church at 777 Loma Vista Dr.
  • Weaverville Elementary School at 31020 Hwy 3 in Weaverville
  • Valley Christian Center at 2831 Freemont Street, Anderson

Fire managers said at a Sunday briefing that they have been aggressive in calling for evacuations, because the fire itself has been so unpredictable.  It has grown quickly since it began, has burned completely across Whiskeytown Lake, jumped the Sacramento River, and created what witnesses call a "fire-nado" at its peak.
Electric power is still out for up to 4,000 customers in Redding, and fire damage to power lines and poles will delay the restoration of power.

The massive fire is even affecting the flow of the Trinity River.  The Carr Powerhouse, near where the fire started, is shut down.  The situation left more water than usual in Lewiston Reservoir, so the federal Bureau of Reclamation had to increase flows into the Trinity River.

The Carr Fire started Monday, from what Cal Fire calls "mechanical failure of vehicle;" whether that's a flat tire that scraped a rim on the road or a dragging muffler, the agency has not said officially.

Geoffrey Riley is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and has hosted the Jefferson Exchange on JPR since 2009. He's been a broadcaster in the Rogue Valley for more than 35 years, working in both television and radio.