Blaze races through wilderness

Tuesday June 11, 2002

ETNA – A 600-acre fire raced through wilderness near the Oregon border on Monday, while week-old blazes that consumed nearly 45,000 acres throughout the state were finally on the way to being contained. 

The blaze in rural Siskiyou County started Sunday afternoon when a backyard debris fire got out of control, said Penny Melum, a spokeswoman for the Klamath National Forest. 

“It is human-caused, and it just breaks my heart,” Melum said. 

The fire was burning 30 miles south of the border in steep, treacherous mountain terrain that made it hard to fight, Melum said. 

High winds spread the flames along 80-degree slopes. 

About 350 firefighters worked in 80-degree heat. The few homes in the area were not immediately threatened and no evacuations were ordered, but fire engines were stationed at each house. 

The fire did threaten the homes of bears, mountain lions, raccoons and rattlesnakes. 

A little farther south, a 1,100-acre wildfire was contained Monday afternoon. No homes were damaged and no injuries were reported. The fire 60 miles northeast of Sacramento in Yuba County started Sunday when high winds knocked power lines into a tree. It briefly prompted the evacuation of about 150 homes. 

In Southern California, a wildfire that scorched 23,407 acres of brush in the Angeles National Forest, destroyed nine homes and chased away more than 1,000 residents was 90 percent contained Monday afternoon.