Career fire lookout dies in McKinney Fire, Forest Service says

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A longtime fire lookout at Klamath National Forest was identified Monday as one of the four killed in the ongoing McKinney wildfire in California. The fire, which began on July 29, is 40% contained and has burned more than 60,000 acres, according to CalFire.

Kathy Shoopman began her lookout career as a Baldy Mountain Lookout in 1974, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Throughout her career, she worked at Lake Mountain Lookout and held a position at Buckhorn Lookout since 1993. The Parks Service said she had lived in her Klamath community for more than five decades and enjoyed gardening and creating art. She was also described as an avid animal lover.

"It is with great sadness that we must announce that the Klamath National Forest has lost one of its own. Beloved long-time Klamath National Forest Lookout Kathy Shoopman has passed away," The U.S. Forest Service said in a statement Monday. "We share this sorrow with each and every one of you and we know that individually, and as the supportive community that we are, we will find many ways to honor Kathy's life and service and keep her spirit in all of our lives."

At least three others have been killed as the McKinney fire continues to burn through California. Now the state's largest fire, the McKinney wildfire is one of several blazes currently threatening the Klamath National Forest, which extends slightly over the California border into Oregon.

At least 100 structures and homes have burned and over 3,000 personnel and 248 fire engines are actively fighting the blaze, CalFire reports. An additional 4,576 structures are currently threatened by the fire's trajectory, according to CalFire. Highway 96 in California remains closed.

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