91 confirmed structures destroyed by mill fire

A bulldozer works to build a line over the Mountain Fire as the flames approach. [Cal Fire photo]

The Mountain Fire in Siskiyou County, Calif., reached 11,690 acres and 20% containment on Tuesday, and firefighters were preparing for their lines to be tested under red flag conditions.

Tuesday’s weather forecast called for temperatures in the 100s, with humidity in the single digits and winds exceeding 20 mph.

“We have a line around the entire fire, but we’re not out of the woods yet,” said Jeff Loveless, operations section chief for the Cal Fire Siskiyou unit. “We still have a lot of work to do there, and all lines will be tested,” he said.

The Mountain Fire began on Friday afternoon, three hours after the Factory Fire began burning homes in Weed, 11 miles to the east. The causes of both fires are still under investigation.

On Tuesday, two structures were reported to have been destroyed by the Mountain Fire, which is burning in steep and rugged country.

Fifty-nine people remained evacuated due to the mountain fire on Tuesday.

In the factory fire, which tore through residential areas of Weed and Lake Shastina, 91 structures were confirmed destroyed and 17 were damaged on Tuesday, although damage assessments continue as crews work to measure the extent of the destruction.

Power was still out in parts of the county on Tuesday and phone service was intermittent. On Tuesday, 2,593 people remained evacuated due to the mill fire.

Jon Ray, the principal/superintendent of Weed Elementary School, said Tuesday that the school would reopen on Wednesday, but attendance was not required.

“Due to a lack of power for our entire campus and most of our community, we must remain closed on Tuesday, September 6,” Ray wrote on the school’s website. “Starting Wednesday, September 7, we will be open to serve students, but the next few days will not be typical school days.”

The school will be open Wednesday from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“We won’t be focusing on academics,” Ray wrote.

The purpose of opening the school is to provide a safe and child-friendly environment; provide an option for parents (including many staff members), to coordinate their next steps; provide social/emotional support to families; and provide breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Contact Mail Tribune editor David Smigelski at 541-776-4484 or [email protected]