By Mathew Brock

There’s smoke in the air as summer heat ramps up and seasonal thunderstorms roll through the Pacific Northwest and Del Norte County. Several fires have started raging to the north near the Oregon border and beyond, while the closest California fire burns near Redding.

Area fires

The closest fire to Crescent City is the Natchez fire about 15 miles south of Cave Junction, 3 miles south of the Oregon/California border. The 2,414 acre fire started on July 15 and is currently 0 percent contained. Despite being across the border in California, the fire is being handled by the Oregon Department of Forestry Fire as it falls in their jurisdiction. Currently, 663 personnel are busy with burnout operations and preparing a fire camp.

North of that near Grants Pass, the Garner Complex Fire currently spans 19,944 acres at 18 percent containment. The five fire complex is currently being managed by 2,432 personnel who are currently working to secure perimeters and prepare contingency lines.

Further still, the 6,693 acre Klondike fire has begun snaking its way into Curry County. Currently, the fire is being managed by 93 personnel who are currently focusing on using the Chetco Bar Fire and Labrador fire burns scars for containment.

Both the Klondike and Natchez fires are currently being managed by Pacific Northwest Team 3, whose managers are currently focusing on using available resources to minimize risk to citizens and firefighters.

The closest California fire to Crescent City is currently the 4,500 acre Carr fire in Redding, which is 24 percent contained.

For more fire information and a real time map of Northern California fires go to http://www.calfire.ca.gov/general/firemaps and for more about local Oregon fires go to http://swojic.blogspot.com/.

Weather

Currently, the forecasts for Del Norte and Humboldt counties remain mostly clear skies with a small 20 percent chance of lightning storms in the Humboldt area.

To the east, isolated thunderstorms were forecast for Wednesday afternoon and evening, focused in Siskiyou County heading east into Modoc county and northeast into Klamath and Lake counties.

Highs for the area will be near 15 degrees above normal over the west side and 5-10 degrees above normal east of the Cascades. Cooling is expected by Thursday, but highs will remain 10-15 degrees above normal.

Fire increases and smoke

The fires across southwestern Oregon and northwestern California are expected to remain active, with large amounts of smoke produced in mid to late afternoon. Fire activity is only expected to increase from natural fire growth or burnouts. As fire activity increases, air quality is expected to deteriorate.

Cleaner air locations during the afternoon include the Oregon Coast north of Gold Beach, Interstate 5 corridor between Canyonville to Roseburg, and coastal areas south of Eureka.

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