Lodge Complex Fire West of Laytonville Reaches 550 Acres

Kym Kemp / Today @ 8:45 p.m. /  Fire!

UPDATE 10:04 p.m.: Video (provided by a reader) and photo have been added.

Photo by Alicia Pecora below shows smoke billowing.



Original Post:With only 5% containment, the Lodge Complex west of Laytonville is growing rapidly. This morning only slightly over 80 acres were burning but, this evening, the blaze has raced over 540 acres.

According to Cal Fire Spokesperson Julie Cooley, “Fire is burning in heavy timber with steep, rugged terrain & difficult access. Firefighters will be deploying aggressive air and ground strategies. Dry fuel conditions, above normal temperatures and low daytime relative humidity will continue to be a challenge for firefighters.”

There are already 452 personnel on the complex but more are expected tomorrow. CALFIRE Incident Management Team 4 will be arriving tomorrow to take command. 

Fatal Tractor Accident on Hwy 162

Kym Kemp / Today @ 2:57 p.m. /  News

California Highway Patrol Press Release:

On 07-30-2014 at approximately 1425 hours, a solo male occupant was driving a 1988 Kenworth tractor towing doubles trailers fully loaded with hay westbound on SR-162 at an unknown speed. As the party was negotiating the left hand curvature of the roadway, he allowed his vehicle to exit the north side of the roadway and overturn down a dirt/planted embankment. During the collision, the cab of the Kenworth was crushed and the driver was trapped inside. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene, upon medical personnel arrival. The driver was not wearing his safety belt at the time of the collision.

CHP was assisted on scene by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, Covelo Volunteer Fire Department, CalFire and Willits Volunteer Fire Department.

It is not believed that alcohol or drugs were a factor of this collision at this time. This collision remains under investigation by California Highway Patrol at this time.

Fire Near Homeless Encampment North of Redway—PHOTOS

Kym Kemp / Yesterday @ 10:21 p.m. /  Fire!

According to Cal Fire Battalion Chief Marty Hobbs, a fire which started just north of Redway is currently being mopped up. Hobbs said his unit will be there for hours as completely extinguishing fires in a redwood forest is a difficult task. This fire, Hobbs said, burned only about a quarter acre starting about a 100 yards west of Redwood Drive in a thickly wooded area. He said that the fire started in or near a homeless encampment which honeycombs the forest there.

Two inmate crews and a team leader (about 40 men altogether) are currently breaking up burning logs and digging through smoldering redwood duff to reach bare dirt. [These are the men in orange.]

Hobbs said that he expects to be there til 11 p.m. He might even have to leave an engine with a crew overnight.

Cal Fire had twelve pieces of equipment at this fire.


Cal Fire has been responding to multiple incidents today—including to a multi acre fire between Kneeland and Bridgeville, an accident on Hwy 36 and to the three Mendocino lightning fires west of Laytonville. [See here.] They are responding to two small fires at Stafford now as well.


Three Lightning Fires in Northern Mendocino Still Burning

Kym Kemp / Yesterday @ 9:22 p.m. /  Fire!

According to Cal Fire in Mendocino, lightning last night set three fires burning in the Wilderness Lodge area west of Laytonville. 

The first fire (called 4.1) is 15-16 acres burning in heavy timber on steep, rugged terrain. It is difficult to access and it is 0% under control. 

The second fire (called 4.2) is 5 acres of similar terrain and is also 0% under control.

The third fire (called the Blue Incident) is 15 acres. The blaze is burning in grass and oak woodlands and is 75% under containment. 

There were five fire engines, eight fire crews, three bulldozers, five airtankers, five helicopters and 180 personnel on the lightning caused blazes today. Some of Humboldt’s fire equipment responded to the incident. Tomorrow, more resources have been requested from other areas to fight the three fires.

Fire Near Dean Creek Under Control

Kym Kemp / Yesterday @ 7:41 p.m. /  Fire!

A fire burning near Dean Creek is now under control according to a spokesperson at the Garberville Cal Fire station. Crews have gotten a line around the fire, he said, and tamed the blaze. Now crews are in the process of mopping up.

KMUD posted on Facebook that the fire was “along Redwood Drive, just south of Dean Creek. The fire is in the 2nd gravel pullout as you drive north of Redway on Redwood Drive.”

Fire in Branscomb Area

Kym Kemp / Yesterday @ 3:13 p.m. /  Fire!

According to KMUD, Cal Fire “is currently responding to two fires caused by lightning early this morning in Northern Mendocino off of Branscomb Road in the Wilderness Lodge Area.”

For more information see KMUD’ News’ Facebook page here. I also have a call into Cal Fire and will update as soon as possible.

Trespass Weed Grow on Forest Service Land Features 3,760 Plants, Water Diversion, Peanut Butter-Flavored Rodenticide

Andrew Goff / Yesterday @ 2:38 p.m. /  marijuana


Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office press release: 

On 07-28-2014 and 07-29-2014, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office assisted by the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (C.A.M.P.), and United States Forest Service (U.S.F.S.) agents responded to U.S.F.S. property on Brush Mountain, Gainor Peak and Oak Knob in eastern Humboldt County after sighting marijuana being cultivated on U.S.F.S. land. The deputies were also accompanied by three scientists, two from Integral Ecology Research Center, one of which is also associated with UC Davis, and a Hoopa Tribal Wildlife Ecologist.

During two days, deputies seized 3,760 marijuana plants ranging in size from 18 inches to 4 feet. Deputies and scientists located water diversion, mounds of trash and 24 pounds of rodenticides, of which 9 pounds was peanut butter flavored, and 15 pounds was second generation rodenticide. Malathion and fertilizers were also located at the scenes. No suspects were located in the area of the trespass marijuana grows, however deputies have obtained evidence from the scenes which is being processed, and the investigation is ongoing.

The spring fed water sources that were diverted and used to water the marijuana plants, flow into the South Fork of the Trinity River. The springs were part of a network of subterranean water sources. The scientists reported that impacts from the water diversions and chemicals used on the grows could affect Coho Salmon, Chinook Salmon, Steelhead, Foothill Yellow Legged Frogs and the western Pond Turtle.

The scientists reported the rodenticides could potentially kill Fisher, Northern Spotted Owl, American Black Bear, Black Tailed Deer and Humboldt Marten.

Below are quotes from Dr. Mourad Gabriel, UC Davis Wildlife Ecologist/Integral Ecology Research Center who was present with the deputies and USFS Agents: 

  • The removal of this massive amount of killing agents within prime spotted owl and fisher habitat is pertinent for the conservation of these species.”
  • ” The illegal diversion of this amount of water prohibits the flow of cool water into tributaries that support our salmon populations.”
  • In light of the current drought and high water temperatures, this represents another blow to our already taxed watersheds.”
  • These remediation efforts are crucial in protecting our forest ecosystems.”

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.