Lodge Fire at 7100 Acres, Today’s Map, Photos

Today’s map comes from infrared images taken of the fire last night. Click to expand.

Cal Fire announced this morning that the Lodge Fire which is raging in the hills between Leggett and Laytonville has now consumed 7100 acres and is only 30% contained. Some residents to the east of the fire have been given evacuation orders. Other nearby residents have evacuation warnings. The Leggett School(see photo below) is providing an evacuation center for affected residents. (See Previously below for links to earlier stories.)

Photo of the Leggett Valley School from their website.

Lynne Tolmacoff, a statewide spokesperson for Cal Fire, confirmed today that eight firefighters sustained burns in an incident yesterday that is still under investigation. The incident, which according to scanner traffic occurred around 6 p.m., sent five members of inmate hand crews to the UC Davis Medical Center and three firefighters with Santa Clara County Fire Departments to Ukiah General Hospital. They are all in stable condition.

According to Bob Barsotti, who is managing the Black Oak Ranch and attends fire briefings, wrote a synopsis. He said,

The fire has crossed the fire line on Brushy Mountain and has burned approx 200 acres on the east side of the line. They are hitting it hard w/ aircraft today, both heli & fixed wing. They have two new heli’s here called sky cranes that are dipping at the gel plant set up at Alder Springs Vineyards pond and dumping the retardant on the fires.

Today they are focusing on creating a new fire break through the rangeland east of the fire and west of Hwy 101 trying to make a disconnect if the fire heads further east today. The fire has also crossed the Eel at the mouth of 10 Mile canyon and will probably burn up to Camp Seabow today. They are pretty confident they can stop it there, but they also felt that way yesterday on Brushy Mt.

They are also focusing on stopping it from spreading towards Tan Oak Park by using the fixed wing aircraft dropping retardant all along the line there… .

I was especially impressed in the briefing of the pilots this AM when Calfire told them that after dipping in the gel plant, if they aren’t sent right back for another load, they need to go to their clean out dip to clean their tanks and hoses in case their next mission is to the river, as they cannot dip in the river with retardant in their systems.

Hats off to Calfire for their extreme attention to detail in the  midst of chaos.

According to Capt. Carlos Guerrero, a Public Information Officer for Cal Fire staffing the Lodge Fire, there were no structures lost overnight.  “Mostly the fire is in the undergrowth,” Guerrero explained. However, yesterday afternoon, he said, the diurnal winds that happen everyday “like clockwork” caused an “increase in the fire behavior.”  

Every day on the Lodge Fire, Guerrero said, winds blow from the south towards the north in the morning. Then, as the temperatures increase, the winds switch and blow the other direction. Flames begin moving up slopes that have been heating in the sun. This increases the speed of the fire. Dry brush can send flames shooting 20 feet outwards which catches more vegetation on fire. This is a repeating pattern.

The US Weather Service out of Eureka is saying that smoke from multiple fires now burning in northern California will be heading back towards the coast. (See image below.) The Mendocino Air Quality Control Board is predicting “unhealthy” pollutant levels for areas immediately surrounding the fire.

There are community meetings about the fire being held today. A meeting in Leggett will begin at 1:00 PM at Leggett School, 1 School Way. Ameeting in Laytonville will begin at 5:00 PM at the Harwood Memorial Park hall, 44400 Willis Ave.

Below are some wonderful photos from local photographer Kim Sallaway taken yesterday evening.(Follow his Facebook page here for more photos of the fire.)

Previously on the Redheaded Blackbelt:


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