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Firefighters are battling the McKinney Fire, the China Peak Fire and the Evans Peak Fire north and south of Highway 96, at Seiad and east to Yreka.
The McKinney Fire is burning in the Oak Knoll Ranger District of the Klamath National Forest, west of the Walker Creek Bridge on the south side of the Klamath River.
The McKinney Fire started about 2:15 p.m. Friday and as of Saturday morning there was zero containment. Highway 96 is closed from Highway 263, about 2 miles west of Interstate 5, to Scott River Road.
Winds from late-evening thunderstorms caused the McKinney Fire to grow significantly overnight, causing the blaze to expand to 18,000 acres, according to Klamath National Forest officials.
The fire grew on the north and south sides as air tankers dropped fire retardant.
Very hot temperatures are in the forecast and a Red Flag Warning is in effect for lightning, fire officials said.
“Fire managers are expecting a very dynamic day on the fire as predicted weather is expected to be problematic for the firefighters,” officials said.
Crews have had to shift from trying to hold the fire’s perimeter to concentrate on evacuations and defend structures.
More firefighting resources are being dispatched to the area. Several bulldozers were being sent to McAdams Road and Highway 3 on Saturday morning.
A California Incident Management Team was in Yreka on Saturday for briefings and will assume control on Sunday morning, officials said.