Los Angeles Times

Wildfire lookout among victims

Four have been killed in Siskiyou County’s McKinney blaze, now 55% contained.

- By Gregory Yee

A longtime U.S. Forest Service wildfire lookout is among the four people confirmed to have died in the McKinney fire, which is burning near the California-Oregon border in Siskiyou County.

Kathy Shoopman, 73, died at her home in the community of Klamath River as a result of the fire, officials with Klamath National Forest said Monday.

“Kathy started her career as a lookout at Baldy Mountain Lookout, west of Happy Camp, in 1974,” the Klamath officials said. “Since then, she has staffed Lake Mountain Lookout and most recently staffed Buckhorn Lookout, a post she has held since 1993.”

A resident of Klamath River for nearly 50 years, Shoopman was remembered as a talented artist, gardener and animal lover, the officials said.

As of Monday night, the McKinney fire had charred 60,379 acres and was 55% contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. There were 3,528 personnel assigned to the blaze.

Matt Conklin, an operations section chief with California Interagenc­y Incident Management Team 2, said crews had created hand lines, bulldozer lines, roads or a natural barrier around the entire fire.

Conklin and other officials expressed cautious optimism about containing the fire during a community meeting Monday night in Fort Jones.

“The fire’s looking really good,” said Phil Anzo, a Cal Fire unit chief. “This fire is extremely big. Having these lines contained all the way around the fire this early on is pretty amazing. It’s because of the hard work from your local, state and federal firefighte­rs out there on the ground, putting forth 100% of their effort to accomplish this goal.”

Officials loosened restrictio­ns in the fire area Monday, allowing residents in 12 zones that had been evacuated to return to their homes.

As firefighte­rs make progress on the blaze, authoritie­s are continuing to assess structures in the burn area for damage, said Bryan Schenone, director of Siskiyou County’s Office of Emergency Services.

“Right now we’re in the hazmat side of things, so we’re looking through a lot of the debris,” Schenone said Monday night of the damage. “At last count, there was 86 structures. That’s probably going to change tomorrow, and then we had some outbuildin­gs as well — garages, sheds, carports, some of the other buildings.”

Highway 96 remains closed in the area, authoritie­s said, adding that they are evaluating conditions each day to determine when the highway will be safe to reopen.

 ?? Noah Berger Associated Press ?? THE McKINNEY FIRE burns trees in Klamath National Forest. Kathy Shoopman, 73, a longtime fire lookout found dead at home, was among four fatalities.
Noah Berger Associated Press THE McKINNEY FIRE burns trees in Klamath National Forest. Kathy Shoopman, 73, a longtime fire lookout found dead at home, was among four fatalities.

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