|A view from the Illinois River Trail to Pine Flat after the Klondike Fire.|
The Klondike Fire Along the Illinois River Trail
The Klondike Fire burned along the majority of the Illinois River Trail this summer, deep in the heart of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. The fire burned in a natural mixed-severity mosaic through the 2002 Biscuit Fire footprint. The Klondike Fire burned in a diversity of habitats, including closed-canopy mixed conifer forests, serpentine woodlands, chaparral and forests of sun-bleached snags. The fire reduced fuel, recycled nutrition and continued shaping the fire- adapted forests of this wild region.
As part of Klamath Forest Alliance's Klamath-Siskiyou Fire Reports, we have been out on the ground exploring the Klondike Fire, its fire effects, fire suppression impacts, and trail conditions. Below is a photo essay of the Klondike Fire along the Illinois River Trail. All photos were taken recently from the Illinois River Trail, in mid-November 2018.
The Illinois River Trail can be accessed during the winter months as long as snow levels remain high; however, the eastern access at Oak Flat immediately crosses Briggs Creek on a large bridge, and the wood on the bridge burned in the fire, making the bridge crossing unsafe. We crossed Briggs Creek by fording the stream, but now that rain has returned and water levels may be up, that crossing may be unsafe as well. The western access from Oak Flat near Agness should be accessible through the winter months, but winter weather can impact trail conditions, so use caution.
|Looking up the Illinois River towards the confluence of Briggs Creek.|
|The rugged Illinois River canyon in the heart of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness downstream from Nome Creek.|
|The incredible clear, blue waters of the Illinois River wind through the Kalmiopsis Wilderness and the Klondike Fire.|
|A sharp bend in the Illinois River at the confluence of Clear Creek and the Shorty Noble site. Notice the low to moderate severity fire effects in the mixed conifer forests of the Illinois River canyon.|
|A beautiful bend on the Illinois River near Nome Creek.|
|Umbrella plant (Darmera peltata) along Briggs Creek.|
|The Indigo Creek canyon along the Illinois River Trail. The Klondike Fire burned in the immediate vicinity, but the snags in the background are from the 2002 Biscuit Fire. The Klondike Fire still refused to burn on the serpentine slopes above.|
|Understory fire burned beneath the beautiful old-growth forests surrounding Fantz Meadow.|
|Fantz Meadow following the Klondike Fire.|
|The small historic structure and rusted farm equipment at Fantz Meadow made it through the Klondike Fire. The fire burned at mostly low severity surrounding Fantz Meadow.|
|Low severity fire burned the under brush around Fantz Meadow while maintaining the old-growth canopy.|
|A view up Indigo Creek showing mixed severity fire effects.|
|The incredible Illinois River canyon upstream of Indigo Creek, following the Klondike Fire.|
|The wild, rugged Illinois River canyon.|
KFA is in the midst of field work, document review, and analysis of this season's wildfires, including the Klondike Fire. We are in the process of preparing fire reports throughout the region. Please consider making a donation and supporting our work.
For more information: klamathsiskiyoufirereports.org