Dozens rescued from Pacific Crest Trail as McKinney Fire threatens Yreka

Dozens rescued from Pacific Crest Trail as McKinney Fire threatens Yreka

Dozens of hikers on the famed Pacific Crest Trail have been located and evacuated as the McKinney Fire explodes along the California-Oregon border.

According to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, at least 60 hikers were found on the trail in the Klamath National Forest and escorted to safety. A spokesperson from the sheriff’s office told NewsWatch 12 that although no hikers were in imminent danger, the remote nature of the trail and the quickly changing wildfire conditions made search-and-rescue the best option.

The Pacific Crest Trail is over 2,600 miles of varied, stunning hiking from the California-Mexico border up to the Washington-Canada border. It’s believed that hundreds of people attempt to complete the full hike each year, but it’s estimated that hundreds of thousands of people enjoy some section of the trail annually.

In response to the fire, the Forest Service has closed 110 miles of the PCT. The emergency closure order is in effect through August 30.

“The closure is from Etna Summit (mile 1600) in Northern California to Mt. Ashland Campground (~mile 1710) in Southern Oregon,” the PCT’s official website says. “If you are on the PCT in this area, please evacuate to the closest town.”

The McKinney Fire broke out on Friday in the Klamath National Forest, about 15 miles south of the Oregon border, sending out a massive pyrocumulus cloud and triggering a flurry of evacuations in small forestland communities in the northern most part of the Golden State. The McKinney Fire was reported at 300 acres on Friday night with no containment, and exploded overnight, reaching 30,000 acres by Saturday evening, the US Forest Service said.

“Because of the erratic winds the fire is going all over the place,” Caroline Quintanilla, a public information officer with the US Forest Service, told SFGATE on Saturday afternoon.


For full updates on the McKinney Fire, click here.

SFGATE news editor Amy Graff contributed to this report.

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