Located in the remote region between the McCloud and Pit Rivers, the Squaw Creek watershed flows to the Squaw Creek Arm of Shasta Lake. In August 2012, a fast moving fire, started by lightning, burned into timber and brush in the Squaw Creek watershed, scorching 46,010 acres. The fire was not contained for several weeks, and burned over the ridge to the west into the McCloud River watershed. High intensity fire was mostly in upper Squaw Creek. The fire area contains 75 miles of perennial streams, and 113 miles of intermittent streams.
On November 20th to December 5th, 2012, three large storms dumped 26 inches of rain on the Bagley Fire area, equivalent to a 50-year storm event followed by two 25-year storm events. Although only 30 percent of the fire area had moderate or high soil burn intensity during the fire, watershed storm damage was substantial.
In some tributary watersheds in the Upper Sacramento, McCloud, and Pit River canyons, 90% of the forested area has high fire hazard rating (potential flame height over 8 feet). Areas of high-intensity burns are vulnerable to storm events, as seen above. Thinning of forests and reduction of potential for high-intensity fire is one of the most important needs for long-term watershed protection in the Upper Sacramento, McCloud, and lower Pit Rivers