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Longtime Klamath Forest Lookout Killed While Fleeing The McKinney Fire

A longtime employee of the Klamath National Forest is among the four people known to have been killed by the McKinney Fire. 73-year-old Kathy Shoopman was overtaken by the fire in her home in the Community of Klamath River, where she lived for almost 50 years. That is, when she wasn’t on a mountaintop watching for smoke. Kathy was hired in 1974 as a fire lookout at Baldy Mountain west of Happy Camp. She has also been a resident lookout at Lake Mountain, and has been posted at Buckhorn Lookout since 1993. Her colleagues are heartbroken over her loss, calling her a legend among fire lookouts. They also say she was an artist, a gardener and an animal lover. The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office has not identified Kathy Shoopman as one of the McKinney Fire’s four fatalities, but her family asked the Forest Service to release the information so she can be honored and appreciated. She was apparently preparing to flee the fire, but when the wall of flames reached town on July 29th, it was pushed by 70 mile an hour winds, giving those who hadn’t already evacuated little chance to do so.