Shelter Cove Events

Paradise Ridge Fire several days ago

Diane Harper, resident of Shelter Cove, explains in detail what is happening in her area as a result of the lightning caused fire on Paradise Ridge in Humboldt county.

We have about 18 fire trucks from all over California with 10 bulldozers and 4 helicopters. The fire is about 4 miles from us and has burned 600 acres and is 25% contained. They were worried about the wind changing direction which could complicate things. They told us what we should be prepared for in case of evacuation. They also said they would be staying here until they were no longer needed and wouldn’t go to other locations that are also burning. That made us feel better to know they will stay no matter what. A lot of questions were asked and answered but many citizens were very stressed who live up above closer to the fire of course. If we were ever to be evacuated we could never leave by Shelter Cove Rd. We would all go down to the Lower Pacific Dr. which is where the light house is. I don’t think this will ever take place but we are nevertheless ready if it happens.

They are feeding about 65 firefighters at the community center every day and last night they were going to have crews working through the night. Oh, also, they have a fire line across one end and at one point the fire was jumping across in spots but those were all put out luckily.

They will have meetings every day at 5:00pm at the community center to update us on how things are progressing. Even with having that many engines here to put out structure fires they said that if the fire came into where all the houses are that that many trucks would not be a fraction of what they would need. That surprised me but they can only get a few here due to the fact there are other fires in the state that are also a concern. We are lucky to be at the lower end of the Cove and we would just have to hope for the best and not worry about the house!

…the fire is heading in the opposite direction of the Cove which is great! It is in an area that has very little structures near the fire. The few homes around there are in direct communication with the fire fighters and are safe for now. They said they have a few more trucks here but now the fires in Mendocino County are much worse than the Paradise fire. I’m sure you have heard that they have evacuated people from Leggett and some parts of Laytonville. They are also predicting high humidity in the next 24 hours which is a great help to us here. He mentioned that they are most likely staying through the week-end due to a weather report expecting some more lightning.:-( He said they have had reports claiming lightning is expected more inland and then another saying close to the coast. Who knows when and where they will hit.

We can still hear the helicopters in the distance and they are having great success retrieving the water from the ocean. They have brought in big trucks with fuel for the helicopters located at staging areas closer to the fire. I am amazed at how well they are managing things and we appreciate all they’re doing.

It was so cute, they begged us to help ourselves to the cookies on the table stating they had too many to eat and weren’t wanting to go home having gained 10 pounds.

Thanks Diane for keeping us updated!

Does anyone have any idea why the Leggett fire would be so understaffed that they are calling for volunteers and Shelter Cove has 18 engines just sitting there. I know the residents there are grateful but I don’t understand the priorities. Could it be because Shelter Cove is hard to exit and Leggett allows for safe evacuation?



  • Kym a friend of mine sent me this:

    Robin Shelley said…
    Some property owners hiring private crews, leasing copters


    Published: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 at 4:30 a.m.
    Last Modified: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 at 7:50 a.m.

    An unprecedented onslaught of flames continued Tuesday to scour bone-dry wildlands of Mendocino County, forcing state fire commanders to make cold, hard decisions about which of the 106 fires to fight and which to ignore.

    It was a scene being repeated across Northern California as overmatched fire crews were confronted for a second day by more than 800 lightning-caused blazes.

    At the state command post in Ukiah, the decisions were straightforward: Attack the fires that threaten people and homes, worry about the others in the coming days — or weeks.

    As a result, some desperate Mendocino County property owners Tuesday turned to hiring private firefighting crews and leasing helicopters to help fight fires on their own land.

    “We understand the state’s problems, but we can’t wait for our lands to make their way up the priority list,” said Mike Jani, chief forester for Mendocino Redwood Co. of Ukiah.

    Jani said 31 lightning-caused fires are flaring across a 228,000-acre strip of company timberlands running along the rugged Mendocino-Sonoma coastline.

    Jani said company crews and state firefighters are coordinating firefighting efforts, but more personnel and equipment are needed.

    “We have two 20-man private crews arriving from Montana, and we may bring in more,” Jani said.

    The company has rented a private firefighting helicopter to dump ocean water on a fire near Rockport on the north Mendocino Coast.

    On Tuesday, Mendocino County remained the hardest hit in Northern California. Though the number of fires decreased to 106 from the 131 reported Monday, the blackened acreage reached 19,000 — about 30 square miles. And 46 fires — almost all in remote areas — remained unattended.

    For now, the fast-changing events are pushing aside a contentious public debate over whether such fires should be allowed to burn themselves out and whether longtime state fire-suppression policies can ever end in victory over catastrophic wildfires.

    Critics say no, not as long as state, county and city officials continue to allow urban intrusion into dangerous fire zones where wildlands and housing meet.

    As it is, an estimated 60 percent of Mendocino County’s 90,000 residents live in homes and small communities scattered throughout wildland areas, from Piercy to Potter Valley, from Branscomb to Brooktrails.

    But racing flames and a second day of foul air quality left no time Tuesday for any debate over firefighting tactics.

    “We are aggressively attacking the fires. We don’t have time or energy for anything else,” said Cal Fire spokeswoman Tracy Boudreaux.

    Current firefighting priorities were clear as state efforts unfolded Tuesday to fight major fires in Lake and Mendocino counties.

    About 130 firefighters battled the fast-moving Walker fire, which has burned 9,000 acres in a remote section of northeastern Lake County.

    In contrast, nearly 700 firefighters were attacking dozens of Mendocino County fires in areas where small communities, homes, and ranching and timber equipment are threatened.

    State fire officials Tuesday described the current wildfire situation as “dire.”

    Cal Fire set up a special command center at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds in Ukiah and brought in a veteran state firefighter to oversee a 40-member technical crew to plot the Mendocino County wildfire strategy.

    Commander Joe Waterman, speaking to the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, praised local volunteer fire departments and Sheriff Tom Allman and deputies for their efforts since the first fires broke out during weekend thunderstorms.

    “These people have been in the trenches since day one. If not for them, this crisis would be far greater,” Waterman said.

    Waterman warned county officials that it could take “weeks” to gain control over the region’s wildland fires.

    The same prognosis was made by local air quality and health officials, who warned Tuesday that unhealthy air could linger for days and even weeks over Mendocino, Lake, Sonoma and Napa counties. Some concerned bicycle riders and pedestrians were observed Tuesday wearing face masks in Ukiah.

    You can reach Staff Writer Mike Geniella at 462-6470 or

  • Maybe the memory of the Finley Creek fire has them worried. That one went right down into the Cove where all those houses have now been built. The Red Mtn fire is really big. I hope they get a good response to their volunteer call. Mendocino County is having a terrible time.

  • Even way over here in Oz, we are getting TV news reports of your fires. Wild fires can be very very scary. Best wishes to all involved.

  • Kym, another informative link for you. The “Kym” of Mendocino county. Coach Brown

  • I love that article, Ernie, and I ‘m not really surprised but still…I’m hoping we don’t end up calling this fire blitz California’s Katrina!

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