[UPDATE 4:34 p.m. New Fire Reported!] Hwy 101 Northbound Closing Near Ferndale, Multiple Vegetation Fires Near Ferndale Exit
Hwy 101 will “probably need to be shutdown” in the northbound outside lane of Hwy 101 near the Ferndale exit at Finch Creek, according to scanner traffic. The lane is closed at Palmer Bld. Cal Fire, Fortuna and Loleta Fire are responding to multiple small fires burning near there.
“First fire running up the hill,” said dispatch at about 1:40 p.m.
The incident commander said one blaze was “approximately 50’x 100′. There are about four other fires, said the commander. An inmate crew has been requested.
“We’ve got a smoke issue with Hwy 101 that we need to take care of quickly,” said the commander.
UPDATE 1:50 p.m.: A helicopter has been requested…”at least for visual,” states dispatch.
UPDATE 1:51 p.m.: “We have approximately five engines on scene but I don’t know if we have all the fires covered,” reports the incident commander.
UPDATE 1:57 p.m.: “There’s at least 50 different spots on fire, reports reader Candi Green. “It stretches from Palmer Boulevard exit to the casino….Heavy smoke and only one lane shut down northbound.”
UPDATE 2:05 p.m.: Making progress, according to scanner traffic. Firefighters are estimating this is a five acre fire. According to Candi Green, the helicopter is on the scene. All northbound traffic is being diverted onto Palmer.
UPDATE 2:09 p.m.: Here are two more images by Green from earlier that help show the situation.
UPDATE 2:15 p.m.: Candi Green reports, “Northbound 101 is completely shut down diverting traffic on to Palmer.”
UPDATE 2:17 p.m.: Traffic is backing up as vehicles are being directed off Hwy 101, says another reader who sent this shot.
UPDATE 2:26 p.m.: Caltrans confirms northbound traffic being detoured.
UPDATE 2:27 p.m.: Cal Fire reports that the “Finch Incident” runs along Hwy 101 Northbound from Palmer Blvd to Loleta exits. This is what they know:
- Four roadside vegetation fires
- Approximately 5 acres but hasn’t been mapped
- Agencies: CAL FIRE, Fortuna Fire Department and Loleta Fire Department, CHP
- CHP handling road closures
- Large amount of smoke
- All resources still at scene making good progress
UPDATE 2:33 p.m.: The CHP Incident page reports, The number two (outside lane) is closed but the number one lane is open and traffic is moving.
UPDATE 2:45 p.m.: New fire near Loleta. “Slow rate of spread. No structures threatened.” Near mile marker 66.41 “at the top of the grade.
UPDATE 2:5 p.m.: “The new Loleta fire is reporting heavy smoke.”
UPDATE 2:56 p.m.: “Negative hazard to the freeway. It’s well off the freeway.”
UPDATE 3:01 p.m.: A helicopter is dropping water on the fire near Loleta, according to the CHP Incident page. Sandi Petersen sent us the following image.
UPDATE 3:38 p.m: According to Caltrans spokesperson Betsy Totten, the #2 (outside) northbound lane will be closed for “at least two hours” as fire crews mop up.
UPDATE 4:33 p.m.: CHP press release:
At 1:33PM emergency personnel received reports of multiple grass fires along the shoulder of Northbound US-101 between Palmer Blvd. and Loleta. CHP, HCSO, CAL-Fire, and Fortuna Fire all responded to the area. Northbound US-101 at Palmer was completely shut down from 1:45PM to 2:31PM. At this time the number one lane of Northbound US-101 is open. CHP is remaining on scene to assist with traffic control.
CAL-Fire will be handling this investigation.