By Jennifer Grimes
Triplicate staff writer
Two fires burning by the Klamath River were sparked late Tuesday night and are suspected to have been caused by arson, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
By midday yesterday, the fires had spread to more than 20 acres, and CDF rushed 115 firefighters and two helicopters to the scene.
Its pretty primitive land and steep terrain off the road there. Everything has got to be done by hand or helicopter, said CDF spokesperson Mark Megazzi.
The fire is located near Cappell Creek and about 15 air-miles from the Klamath town site.
Though no areas concentrated with homes or businesses are thought to be in danger, the fire is blazing deep in the Native American territory of the Yurok Tribe where there are some structures, according to Megazzi.
A logging helicopter is scooping 3,000 gallons of water at a time from the Klamath River to dump on the flames while crews cut the line of trees and brush around the fire to stop the blaze from growing.
Logging helicopters are great for this because they hold a lot of weight. And its a sight to watch, Megazzi said.
The steep and winding river canyon forces helicopter pilots to be agile and meticulous in their maneuvers.
Those are some big river canyons and those guys have to be pretty creative, Megazzi said.
So far, investigators have not determined who caused the fire.
The department hopes to have the fire controlled and out by this afternoon.