[Updated–8500 Acres] ‘Extreme Fire Behavior’ to South and East of Lodge Fire

National Guard helicopter dipping water from a drought stricken Eel River. [Photo by Kim Sallaway. Follow his Facebook page for more fire photos.]

UPDATE 8 a.m. Sunday: The Lodge Fire in Mendocino is now at 8500 acres and is still only 30% contained. 

According to Cal Fire, the Lodge Lightning Complex in northern Mendocino consumed another 400 acres today. It is now at 7500 acres and is 30% contained.

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Original Post:

Fire Behavior:

The blaze is swallowing vegetation towards the south and east.  Cal Fire stated in a press release tonight that “extreme fire behavior” is menacing fire boundaries in those areas. 

About 4 p.m., the Angelo Coast Range Reserve which is south of the fire posted the map below and the following information about the expanding blaze on its Facebook page.

…Fox creek [R]idge firebreak (dark blue on the map) is finished with a hose line. A hand built fire break line (dark purple on map), from Fox [R]idge down to Horseshoe Bend, is almost complete. …[W]e are getting heavy air support: 2 sky crane chappers and a big DC10. They will be hitting the fire hard, when they are able to fly. Visibility is terrible, so no flying yet.

The bad news is that in the last 24 hours, the fire expanded east up Brush Mt (due north of [the] reserve). This is what Cal Fire has feared most. [The map shows this morning’s fire perimeter in yellow, last night’s in orange and the fire perimeter one day ago in red.]

…Fire is working its way west and now south to Ten Mile Creek. There was a report of fire spotting on the south side of Ten Mile Creek…

The north end of the fire is calmer. Big Bend Lodge which is located just south of Hwy 101 posted about the fire’s torpid pace in that area today.  The post stated,

The fire is now visible from the road on our side of the ridge, making a small cut from west to east a few hundred feet from the top. Still not much wind today so it is moving very slowly, though there’s a change in weather expected tonight and tomorrow that is supposed to change the wind direction and push the fire to the north. Because of this they are now estimating the fire to reach the river possibly as soon as tomorrow night. 

John Evans who is managing the Lodge said, “A full contingent of firefighters are at our place.” This, he said wryly, “gives us a false sense of security– that nothing could hurt us.” The area nearby, according to the Lodge’s Facebook page, has five engines and around 14 National Guard… .” The crews are “cutting breaks up the hill from the stone house” which is south of the Eel River and across from The Lodge. 

Weather:

US National Weather Service Graphic (Like their Facebook page here.)

Sunday and Monday, scattered dry thunderstorms  with “abundant lightning possible” are predicted for Humboldt, Trinity and Del Norte Counties as well as inland counties. Low humidity and winds of up to 40 miles per hour are also believed to be in store for the area. (For more on the Red Flag Fire Weather warning go here.) The worst of this weather should skip Mendocino County and the Lodge Fire area but there is a possibility of resources having to be drawn off to fight new fires. In addition, the weather for Mendocino is predicted to be “unsettled.” Cal Fire warns the weather the next few days “may increase fire activity.”

Staff and Equipment: However, additional resources are being brought to fight the Lodge Fire. Currently, there are 2192 personnel, both support staff firefighters, committed to the blaze. 

Wounded Warriors: The eight firefighters burned in an incident yesterday evening have all been released from the hospital, according to a tweet by Bruce Rheins, Deputy Bureau Chief, West Coast for CBS News,

Evacuation: Evacuation orders are still in effect for Camp Seabow, Elder Place, Tan Oak Park, Bald Mountain Ranch, Mad Creek and Elk Creek east of Brush Mountain. 

An evacuation center has been set up at the Leggett Valley School, 1 School Way in Leggett. Please visit www.wildlandfirersg.org for information on how to prepare for an evacuation.

Previously on the Redheaded Blackbelt:

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