Email message sent to members on 09/09/2020:

Dear Fellow Prospector,

For those of you who are worried about how and if we survived the
voracious fire storm that swept down Indian Creek and threatened all of
Happy Camp (northern California) yesterday and last night, I will update
you with what I know so far. I still remain locked down in the
Philippines because of COVID. In fact, the situation has turned for the
worse over the past week. The Capital city of Manila is again under
lock-down. So I won't be catching any flights out of here for a while.

But I do have good phone and Internet service and have been receiving
updates from our Internal Affairs person on the ground, Dickey Melton.
It is still too early to get all the facts straight. In fact, the story
is still playing out! But I will do the best I can. There is also a
Facebook page that has been set up by locals there, largely for people
to try and locate their friends, family and pets, and get any news that
might let them know if they have homes to return to. Many do not!
Reading the posts, looking at the images, and the video on this sight
will give you a heart-wrenching reality of how things have played out as
this wild beast of a fire storm ravaged the areas around Happy Camp:

First of all, as far as I can tell, all of our staff are safe. Though I
gather that at least two of our office girls lost their homes and even
their pets. The fire was started by a lightning strike up by the Slater
Butte lookout tower near the headwaters of Indian Creek. Very strong
winds then ignited the fire into a force that could not be stopped, and
it charged down Indian Creek taking out everything in its path. Reports
are still coming in, But I gather that all or most of the ranches and
homes along Indian Creek were lost. The fire even got into the Indian
Meadows home development on the edge of Happy Camp, taking out the
church there and all but three homes. It also jumped across Indian Creek
road and rushed around to threaten the Karuk Housing Community which is
up on the hillside just behind our building. I am told that fire crews
courageously worked all last night to hold the fire back and ultimately
succeeded. If the fire was not stopped there, or down in the meadows, it
likely would have consumed all of Happy Camp.

We had a lot of members actively mining along our properties. But
because this nightmare came upon us so fast, our staff closed up the
building and did not even have time to go save their pets! Local law
enforcement and others were going around everywhere, warning people to

On that note, this same fire has raged north into Oregon and is now
threatening O'brian and Caves Junction along Highway 199. The same storm
sparked a fire that nearly took out the beautiful town of Ashland,
ravished Tallant, took out a big part of Phoenix, and even reached
Medford, Oregon. They are estimating 600 lost homes.

Power is out in Happy Camp. The phone lines are still working along with
our voice mail system. But it is unlikely that anyone will be listening
to the phones for a while. Highway 96 is completely closed on both sides
of Happy Camp because the fires are still raging in other directions.
Our staff and their families will need time to put their lives back
together. If there is anyone who would like to help us set up a GoFundMe
page to help our loyal staff members, I can be reached at

I volunteer to contribute the first thousand

I suggest the best way for us to keep up with how this situation
progresses, and how it will affect the remainder of our season, is by
going to our Internet message forum at:

My understanding is that the fire continues to charge down Doolittle
Creek; and if it jumps the river, it will race up Elk Creek. Craig Colt
and Derek Eimer have defied mandatory evacuation orders and remain in
Elk Creek Campground using water pumps from the creek to keep the park
wet down. Derek has placed some posts, with incredible images of the
fire, on the forum. You can see in one image just how close the fire
came to our building!

While we escaped complete destruction this time, hundreds of people
living near Happy Camp lost everything but their lives. It's going to
take a long time for our local community to come back from this.

For those of you who are interested, I'll look for you on our forum.

Stay safe. These are perilous times!

Dave McCracken

General Manager, The New 49'ers Prospecting Association