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McKinney Fire Lawsuit May Be Filed: Cause of Largest California Wildfire of 2022 is Under Investigation

The McKinney Fire ignited on the afternoon of July 29, 2022, in the Klamath National Forest, where it quickly grew to become the largest California wildfire of the year, with nearly 60,000 acres burned near the California-Oregon state line.

The fire started in the Oak Knoll Ranger District of the Klamath National Forest and devastated the nearby town of Klamath River, about 22 miles northwest of Yreka, CA. In that town of 200 people alone, the fire damaged at least 50 structures as it tore through homes and businesses.

At least four people have died in the McKinney Fire, and hundreds of homes and businesses have already been damaged, and it is still just 10% contained as of August 5, 2022. The fire is burning just four miles west of Yreka.

It took the Oregon and California firefighters battling the McKinney Fire until August 3 to have the blaze at least 10% contained. Progress has come slowly due to the rough terrain and scorching temperatures in a heavily forested area.

Rain in the later part of the first week brought some respite and helped firefighters make some gains in battling the fire, but it also presented a risk of flooding and mudslides in the area.

California wildfire

Find a McKinney Fire Lawyer

If you or a loved one have been affected by the McKinney Fire or resulting fires, flood, or mudslides, contact an experienced Northern California fire lawyer at Singleton Schreiber today for a free consultation. 

Our top California fire lawyers can help you learn about potential compensation from the McKinney Fire and understand all of your legal options, whether you have insurance or not. If a power company was responsible, you deserve to be reimbursed for your losses.

McKinney Fire compensation can result from an evacuation, damaged or destroyed property, injury, or wrongful death from fire. Whether you rent or own your property, you shouldn’t pay the price for wildfires caused by negligent power companies.

Years of experience in fire litigation have allowed our attorneys to develop strong relationships with qualified California wildfire experts who help us achieve the very best results for your case.

McKinney Fire Takes Four Lives in Siskiyou County Near Yreka

At least four people have died in the McKinney Fire, according to the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office, including two found in a vehicle in the burn path of the fire in the town of Klamath River.

Multiple communities remain under evacuation orders and warnings as the fire moves through areas that have never burned before, according to Klamath National Forest Supervisor Rachel Smith. The US Forest Service issued an Emergency Fire Closure effective August 3 – September 3, 2022.

During the closure, the following acts are prohibited:

“Going into or being on Forest Service land, roads, trails, and developed recreation sites within the McKinney and Yeti Fire Closure area.”

View a map of the Klamath National Forest’s McKinney and Yeti Fire Closure Area for more details:

Klamath National Forest Emergency Closure Map
US Forest Service.

 

After the initial rains allowed firefighters to gain a foothold, some evacuation orders in Yreka and Hawkinsville, CA, were downgraded to evacuation warnings, and some residents have been allowed to return home, but the situation could still change quickly.

View the current evacuation map for the area affected by the McKinney Fire for updated information.

McKinney Fire evacuation map

Several Smaller Fires Ignited Near McKinney Fire in Siskiyou County

As the McKinney Fire has been burning, several smaller fires in the area have also ignited, which crews battling the McKinney Fire have been able to respond to quickly, according to the Redding Record Searchlight.

The Member Fire near Member Creek and Scott River roads in Siskiyou County has burned 63 acres and is nearly entirely contained.

The Shackleford Fire off Shackleford Road and Big Meadows Creek in Siskiyou County has burned 31 acres and is completely contained.

The Yeti and Alex Complex Fires — caused by lightning — have caused evacuations in the Happy Camp area in western Siskiyou County. The Yeti Fire is west of the McKinney Fire, and the Alex Fire is closer to the Oregon border.

The Smokey Fire ignited on August 4 off of Beaver Creek and Forest Road, also in Siskiyou County.

County officials have begun checking over 200 burned structures to determine if it is safe for people to return to their homes as the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office continues to comb the wreckage for fatalities.

McKinney Fire Cause Under Investigation: “This Fire Was Not Caused by Lightning,” According to Officials

The cause of the McKinney Fire is currently under investigation, but Klamath National Forest Supervisor Rachel Smith said, “It is clear this fire was not caused by lightning.”

Smith added the investigation into what sparked the McKinney Fire is being conducted by a United States Forest Service “specialized regional team” that will identify what was responsible for sparking the blaze.

Newsom Declares State of Emergency in Siskiyou County

Governor Gavin Newsom has proclaimed a State of Emergency for Siskiyou County after the McKinney Fire and other fires have torn through Klamath River and Yreka.

The State of Emergency declaration will unlock state resources for fighting the McKinney Fire and permit firefighters from other states to assist the efforts of California crews.

Contact Our Siskiyou County Fire Lawyers

If you or a loved one have experienced a McKinney Fire evacuation — or property damage caused by fire, injury caused by fire, hospitalization from fire, wrongful death from fire, psychological trauma, or other long-term health issue caused by current Northern California wildfires — the competent Siskiyou County fire lawyers at Singleton Schreiber can help you recover the fair and full compensation you need to move forward with your life.

If You Have Experienced Any of the Following, You May Be Eligible for Compensation.​

  • Expensive Evacuation
  • Wrongful Death from Fire or Smoke
  • Hospitalization
  • Serious Burns
  • Other Serious Personal Injury
  • Long-Term Health Effects
  • Psychological Impact
  • Home Loss
  • Structure Loss
  • Damage to Animals/Pets
  • Damage to Timber/Trees
  • Erosion
  • Vegetation Loss
  • Damage to Landscaping
  • Significant Property Damage
  • Economic Loss
  • Agriculture Loss
  • Damage to Infrastructure
  • Business Loss
  • Business Interruption
  • Smoke Damage
  • Damage from Soot & Ash
  • Underinsured Property
  • FEMA Assistance
  • Utility & Other Service Interruptions
  • Housing Market Impacts

Frequently Asked Questions

The McKinney Fire burned more than 60,000 acres in Siskiyou County, California, in the weeks following July 29, 2022, when it ignited in the Klamath National Forest and scorched through the nearby town of Klamath River.

An investigation into what sparked the McKinney Fire is being conducted by a United States Forest Service “specialized regional team” that will identify what was responsible for sparking the blaze.

 

The fire ignited underneath a power line right-of-way operated by Pacific Power, a company owned by PacifiCorp. While PacifiCorp acknowledged that power went out for about 300 customers served by the power line the night before the fire and was restored at 5 a.m. on the day of the fire. The company said they patrolled the entire line but were unable to determine the cause of the outage.

In less than two days, the McKinney Fire grew to more than 50,000 acres to become California’s biggest wildfire of 2022. It grew to more than 60,000 acres and destroyed more than 200 homes and businesses.

The cause of the McKinney Fire is under investigation by the US Forest Service, but “it is clear this fire was not caused by lightning,” according to Klamath National Forest Supervisor Rachel Smith. 

The fire ignited underneath a power line right-of-way operated by Pacific Power, a company owned by PacifiCorp. While PacifiCorp acknowledged that power went out for about 300 customers served by the power line the night before the fire and was restored at 5 a.m. on the day of the fire. The company said they patrolled the entire line but were unable to determine the cause of the outage.

The McKinney Fire is 40% contained as of August, 8, 2022. You can view Cal Fire’s McKinney Fire Incident Report for updated fire and evacuation information.

The McKinney Fire is burning in Siskiyou County in Northern California, in the Klamath National Forest near the Oregon state line. The fire started 22 miles northwest of the town of Yreka, California.

 

If you or someone you know has been affected by the McKinney Fire, contact the McKinney Fire lawyers at Singleton Schreiber for a free consultation today.

If it is determined that the fire was caused by power lines, then anyone who was affected by the McKinney Fire can get compensation, including for evacuations, property damage, injuries, hospitalizations, and death. Victims can also seek compensation for increased insurance premiums and other related causes.

If you or someone you know has been affected by the McKinney Fire, contact the McKinney Fire lawyers at Singleton Schreiber for a free consultation today.

If the fire was caused by a power company, renters can get significant compensation for losses.

No one should suffer for wildfires caused by negligent utility companies, whether you rent or own your home. Read more about fire compensation for renters for further details.

In less than two days, the McKinney Fire grew to more than 50,000 acres to become California’s biggest wildfire of 2022. It burned more than 60,000 acres over the next few weeks, scorching Siskiyou County, California, in the Klamath National Forest near the Oregon state line and tearing through the town of Klamath River near Yreka.