[ UPDATE 6:38 a.m.] Fire Along Hwy 101 South of Willits

Fire along 101

[All photos courtesy of Humboldt Nation]

A fire in a motorhome truck and trailer that started about 2:45 p.m. south of Willits about mile marker 37 on Hwy 101 has spread closing all north bound lanes. The motorhome vehicle fire has been quenched, according to the witness who sent us these photos but the hillside is still burning.

As of 3:45 p.m., more equipment is being requested from Laytonville.

Fire along 101

Fire along 101

Fire along 101
UPDATE 3:52 p.m.:
Here’s a view from Perkin’s Street in Ukiah.
fire from PErkins street in Ukiah

UPDATE 4:43 p.m.: The fire has reached 50 acres, according to info on the scanner. Here’s a photo posted on our Facebook page by Julie Johansen. It shows the burned vehicle that started this.
Burned truck and trailer

UPDATE 4:50 p.m.: Scanner traffic indicates that crews are firing around a home near Heart Arrow Trail to protect it. They have two residents with the crews.
UPDATE 5:03 p.m.: Traffic is moving in both directions on Hwy 101 according to the Mendocino Voice that has live video from the scene:

UPDATE 5:09 p.m.: Here’s the truck and trailer as the truck was just beginning to burn. Photo provided by Joe Mathewson.:
Truck and trailer on fire.

UPDATE 5:16 p.m.: The crews are fighting a spot fire on the south flank near some structures. “We just got beat up,” reports one of the crews trying to fight back the fire.

UPDATE 5:24 p.m.: Crews are trying to protect Redwood Valley. They are trying to get dozers to stop the flames.

UPDATE 5:45 p.m.: Cal Fire is reporting that the Grade Fire is 100 acres and 5% contained. The Bakers Creek Subdivision is being evacuated.

UPDATE 6:09 p.m.: A firefighter with “stabbing” chest pains is being brought down to an ambulance code 3–emergency.

UPDATE 6:13 p.m.: According to the scanner, the fire is now estimated to be 250 acres.

UPDATE 6:47 p.m.: Evacuations warnings are being issued for everything west of West and Tomki Road to 101. This is just a warning but please prepare to leave. Here are some suggestions from Cal Fire:

Evacuation check list

UPDATE 7:10 p.m.: Four more helicopters have been requested, according to scanner traffic.

UPDATE 7:13 p.m.: Cal Fire tweeted about 7:10 p.m. that the fire is now “300 acres and 5% contained.”

UPDATE 7:20 p.m.: Cal Fire’s Mendocino unit tweeted, “ firefighters are battling a 400 acre fire near the community of Redwood Valley on the Ridgewood grade…evacuations in progress”

UPDATE 7:30 p.m.: This Flight radar site shows where the flight path of Tanker 133 dropping retardant on the fire. This screengrab of the site helps visualize where the fire is:

Flight path of a tanker on a fire.

UPDATE 7:40 p.m.: About 7:35 Cal Fire tweeted, “#GradeFire [update] northwest of Redwood Valley (Mendocino Co) is now 350 acres and 10% contained. Evacs in place.”

The incident update page states, “Evacuations are in place for Baker Creek Subdivision. Evacuation advisory for above the Valley floor.”

UPDATE 8:09 p.m.: As the light dims, the aircraft is going to have to return to base. Fire command is going to bring in VLAT (912) to hit the head of the fire to close out the day. They might also bring in other tankers.

UPDATE 8:28 p.m.: For those evacuating with animals, the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds is available. Call 272-2299 or 463-4086 for more information.

Those evacuating needing help can call the American Red Cross at 1-866-272-2237.

UPDATE 8:36 p.m.: Information from the Mendocino County Office of Emergency Services:

The #GradeFire is currently burning along Highway 101 about 5 miles northwest of Redwood Valley. Based on the current Calfire estimates the fire is roughly 800 acres. Evacuations are currently in place for the Baker Creek Subdivision, and advisory evacuations have been issued for the area west of Westside Road to Highway 101- not including the valley floor.

Evacuations notifications will be submitted via the County’s Citizen Alert and Notification system. Residents can sign-up athttps://member.everbridge.net/index/892807736722865#/signup

UPDATE 8:48 p.m.: According to a commander on the fire, “It appears that the forward progress hasn’t stopped.” He estimates that the fire is 650 to 700 acres.

UPDATE 8:50 p.m.: Mendocino Cal Fire just tweeted, “#MEUGradeFire Update: 1000 acres 10 % contained.”

UPDATE 9:26 p.m.: Medocino Cal Fire updated. They tweeted, “#GradeFire [correction] NW of Redwood Valley (Mendocino County) is now 900 acres & 10% contained. Reduced acreage due to better mapping.”

UPDATE 9:35 p.m.:

UPDATE: Monday’s post on the fire is here: The Grade Fire: What’s Happening With the Blaze Burning South of Willits?

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74 comments

  • Traffic at a crawl North bound, South bound clear.

  • Maybe stop and get a burger at In-N-Out and wait for the road to open again.

  • Northbound now 1 way controlled traffic as of about 4:00

  • When traffic is at a stop and there is an emergency ahead please leave a lane open for emergency personnel!!! They can’t make it safe for you to pass if you don’t let them get to the emergency!

  • Truck with a trailer started fire. Truck and trailer completely destroyed. Norhbound traffic crawling up 1 lane! Fire has moved East up hill.

  • Anyone know how far south it’s moving? We’re getting evacuation warnings in redwood Valley

  • Man what a bummer, I hope they have good insurance. Can you imagine going on a trip with your trailer then losing it your truck and belongings, and also starting a huge fire. Shitty day.☹️

    • Can you imagine your house burning to the ground with all of your possessions and memories inside because someone wasn’t prepared to put out a small fire in their vehicle?

      • Veterans friend

        A fire extinguisher is a very inexoensive life saver. I have one in every vehicle. Everyone ought to think about it.

        • That is good advise. Thank you!

        • The family was prepared – they had three fire extinguishers and water and used all of it trying to put out the fire. Sorry for their loss, and best of luck to them making their way home, and best of luck for all of those whose homes are threatened by the fire.

        • Bystander at the scene

          Hey there, the truck owner expended 2 fire extinguishers and 7 gallons of water trying to put it out. He had 1 in the truck and 1 in the rv.

        • Bystander at the scene

          Hey there, the truck owner expended 2 fire extinguishers and over 7 gallons of water trying to put it out. He had 1 in the truck and 1 in the rv. As stated below- the hood release was unable to be opened despite repeated effort-
          They attempted to use shovel- also from the truck to contain the fire- the officer commented that they did everything right that could have been done to prevent the fire from spreading past the truck-
          Thank you all for being respectful around a horrible event

      • Yes I can that’s why I carry a fire extinguisher.

      • I just bought my house in Redwood Valley now I’m in tears watching the fire nearby!😪

  • Russell McCutcheon

    WHERE is Baker Creek is the problem. Can anyone give me a road nearby, or something Google Maps will identify as an actual place? Seems the fire is shifting towards my house, but no map has ever heard of “Baker Creek”

    • Below are some of the places we’re hearing that they are bringing crews to Bakers Creek Road and Laughlin Way. But I want to caution this is just info from the scanner and details can be incorrect. Click on the image to make it larger.

    • Baker Creek runs from Laughlin way in Redwood Valley, straight North, running parallel to where is fire is. That must be why they were evacuated early.
      We all had problem locating it. But I found it by expanding google map.

  • Find Laughlin and zoom in. Bakers Creek Rd runs north-south.

  • Should people in t.v. on east road be gathering their stuff?

  • The smoke has gotten thick in upperlake, also all around Lake County. Stay safe Firefighters

  • Took off very rapidly!

  • Caught this on the way to Ukiah. Thank you firefighters!

  • Will they continue to fight the fire into the evening? How contained is it? Curious as to whether or not leave Laughlin Way

  • Thank you for being so informative kym! Your constant updates are great

  • Thank you Kym for being so informative! Yout site is my go to!

  • You can carry all the fire extinguishers you think you’d need and then not be able to release the hood latch and raise the hood. This very scenario happens lots of times and catches motorists and firefighters off guard. It is a shame no one was able to disconnect the truck/trailer and safely drag the trailer backwards and away.

  • The people with the pickup & trailer that started the fire were most likely stoned on the devil weed. They were so stoned they didn`t realize their rig was on fire until it was too late; then couldn`t find their fire extinguisher. More death, dismemberment and destruction from the devil`s lettuce. We need to eradicate it at all cost. All growers and users need to be sterilized so they don`t pass on their defective genes.

    • Are you kidding me? Is this really the time or place for your tirade against something that has nothing to do with this fire? Seriously… how about some compassion for the people whose homes are in jeapordy, or some constructive advise. You disgust me.

      • My posting was entirely satire — I would think this would be realized immediately. Unlike others who post ludicrous statements about
        “devil’s lettuce” that are apparently not satirical.

    • the misadventures of bunjee

      Comments like these just need to be deleted, kym.

    • Oh dude get a life

    • Only a lettuce head could post such a heartless comment at this time. Satans cilantro robs them of their senses, makes them comment things from paranoia and psychosis.

  • Is this real??… I just can’t… seriously..

  • Could you please give updates about any 101 closures? thanks.

  • At least the cal fire station is litterly right next to this.

    Best vibes to the fighters and residents in that area.

  • Russell McCutcheon

    From what I’ve noticed, coordination and information has really sucked. The Sheriff’s department took hours to post outdated information about the fire size. Calfire is using two different twitter accounts to refer to two different fires burning at the same time as the “grade fire.” One even says the fire is contained and not advancing, and our fire is still going uncontained. I’m glad the areas up here aren’t densely populated, or the misinformation, and in some cases, lack of information, could be a problem. So far they keep changing the number of acres, but I’ve seen no references to the direction of fire, present location, speed, any shifts, advisories, nothing. This site has done a far better job than anything else local as far as keeping people informed. It’s shameful.

  • Please tell me why vehicles catch on fire?
    I been riding and driving cars, trucks, trailers, campers, all my 72 years and never came close to having any catch on fire.

    I know careful care of butane or propane fuel tanks and lines… But why are SOOO many vehicles burning down lately? I never heard of so many as there are all the time everywhere lately.

    Are the computers in the vehicles messing up and shorting out something causing cars to blow up?

    • Can start from anything really, cars nowadays are all plastic and electronic, battery shorting on something, pulley bearing overheating, anything touching the exhaust manifold, catalytic converter, short in the wiring, dropping your roach in your lap, ect. ect.

    • I drove right by this when it was on fire it was either the transmission overheated, catalytic converter, or the engine threw a rod and the fuel was spilling on the cylinder. Here is a picture of the truck. Flames were underneath. The driver and his wife were panicked and doing everything they could to stop it. This was an accident and it happened. Pretty much out of control of things like this. All one can do is hope our brave fire fighters can get ancci solid fire line going. The wind had just picked up also when it was on fire making the situation much more uncontrollable. Stay safe to everyone fighting the fire and people in its path.

    • Good to see you, Mendingwheel! Stay safe.

  • For more info don’t forget about Broadcastify

    http://www.broadcastify.com/listen/ctid/205

    for Mendocino County.

  • Is South 101 open?

  • Russell McCutcheon

    Mendocino Sheriff
    4 hrs ·
    ** Evacuation Order for Baker Subdivision is still in effect. The advisory for the area west of West Road, from Tomki to State Street HAS BEEN LIFTED.**
    Conditions can change rapidly so please continue to monitor this page as well as @CAL_FIRE’s incident page.

    So apparently things are improving. A shame how poor information is. This is the only source of information indicating a fire even exists today. Since Kym went to bed, we’ve heard nothing at all. I just happened upon that bit of information checking their facebook page.

  • The grade fire heading towards willits?

  • Reading the updates as the fire caught hold and spread was extraordinary. It was like watching a disaster in slow motion. Great reporting.

  • Is there any info about it this morning?? Containment? Acreage? Possibility of it spreading out closer to the valley?

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