Pacific Crest Trail Thru-Hikers Forced to Evacuate as McKinney Fire Rages Through California

by Amy Myers

As the McKinney Fire continues its path through California, park officials have had to issue an evacuation order for Pacific Crest Trail thru-hikers in northern Siskiyou County. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) has helped with the evacuation efforts. Officials ushered 60 people off the popular trail on the California side of the Red Buttes Wilderness earlier today. The McKinney Fire is California’s largest fire of the year.

As of Sunday, the McKinney Fire has reached 52,498 acres and remains at 0 percent containment. The flames first began in Klamath National Forest near the California-Oregon border. According to Cal Fire, officials have had to shut down Highway 96. Since then, they’ve also begun to issue evacuation orders for surrounding communities.

Jackson County Search and Rescue headed the most recent McKinney Fire evacuation efforts on the PCT. Teams transported them from Road Junction 1055 to Seattle Bar at Applegate Lake

While the Sheriff’s Office felt it was necessary to assist the hikers off the major trail, the department stressed that there is no immediate threat to Jackson County residents.

“Jackson County is getting smoke and ash from the #McKinneyFire, but AT THIS TIME there is no direct threat to our community. Fire conditions can change any minute so BE READY,” JCSO said in a Facebook post.

That said, fire officials are keeping a close eye on upcoming weather conditions and the McKinney Fire’s projected path.

The post continued, “However, we are moving into a weekend of RED FLAG fire risk conditions and lightning. This means new fires could start and change conditions quickly. This is a good time to work on your family’s preparedness and monitoring together.”

California Fire Department Issues Evacuation Orders for Neighborhoods in Path of McKinney Fire

The Pacific Crest Trail thru-hikers aren’t the only ones to receive evacuation orders recently. Further southwest, Yreka residents have had to uproot from their homes beginning Saturday evening.

“Yreka Police Department has issued an Evacuation Order for the area west of Fairchild Street and Shasta Street to include Oakridge Mobile Estates,” the Forest Service announced.

The reason for the evacuation order is ” due to proximity to the fire and the need for additional time necessary for this group of residents to safely evacuate. Residents in the Evacuation Order area should evacuate immediately.”

“An Evacuation Warning has been issued for all areas of Yreka west of I-5,” the notice continued. “Residents in the Evacuation Warning area should prepare to evacuate and should be ready if the area is changed to an order.”

Additionally, a red flag fire warning is also in place for the area. Meteorologists expect to see lightning in the area as well as “problematic” weather for firefighters.