[UPDATE 8 a.m.] Redwood Valley North of Ukiah on Fire: Evacuations, Multiple Structures Burned, Serious Injuries

Major fire burns along Road J in Mendocino County.

Major fire burns along Road J in Mendocino County. [Photo by Michael Godinez]

Last night, major fires flared up in multiple counties in Northern California. Hwy 101 is closed. In the Redwood Valley area of Mendocino County, residents are fleeing as multiple residences are burning. At least two women have received severe burns.

According to the Mendocino Voice, “The fire in Redwood Valley has spread to 4500 acres, and is 0% contained, according to Cal Fire spokesperson Tricia Austin at 5:30am. A separate fire in Potter Valley stands at 1500 acres and is also 0% contained — this fire is responsible for the destruction of 11 structures so far.” For much more information, click here.

Below are photos and video of the fire by Michael Godinez. Most of these are along Road J of the Redwood Valley area. [Below the images is evacuation information.]

House burning behind grape vines.

House burning behind grape vines.

Residents fight fire.

Another structure lost.

Structure and water tank burning.

Structure and water tank burning on Road J. 

Flames at Madrone Drive.


UPDATE 6:08 a.m.: Here is the power outage map in the area from PG&E.

PG&E map of fire outage

Evacuation Information and other Important Facts:

  • Anyone evacuating with animals can take them to the Ukiah Fairgrounds
  • The Mendocino Sheriff’s Department tweeted that shelters are open for fire evacuees. Those south of fire go to Ukiah High School. Those north of the fire go to Willits Community Center.
  • As of 4:32 a.m., The Mendocino Sheriff’s Department just posted on Facebook, “Highway 101 is closed from Uva Drive North to Ridgewood Grade. All Redwood Valley south of School Way Circle to Highway 20 and east to Horshoe Circle is under EVACUATION WARNING. An evacuation warning means you need to be ready to move out at a moment’s notice – prepare animals, important papers, medicines & other necessities.”
  • Mendocino Sheriff states, “Call center for fire information is now open. Do not call 9-1-1 unless you have an emergency.Fire information numbers:(707) 467-6428
    (707) 467-2518
    (707) 467-6446″
  • Potter Valley School is closed on the 9th.
  • According to the CHP, Hwy 101 between Uva Drive and the Willits Bypass is closed.


UPDATE 6:12 a.m.: Ukiah School District is closed. Willits schools are closed today.

UPDATE 6:32 a.m.: According to the scanner, one person was confirmed dead in the fire that swept through West Road.

UPDATE 7 a.m.: Potter Fire: 1500 Acres, 11 Structures Confirmed Destroyed

UPDATE 8 a.m.: CHP reports that these are the current places with road closures.

-US 101 northbound at Uva St. diverting traffic to southbound North State Street in Ukiah.

-US 101 southbound at SR-20 westbound diverting traffic into Willits.

-US 101 southbound turning traffic around just south of the Willits Scale Facility

-Hard Closure West Road at State St

-Hard Closure East Road north of Command Post at Redwood Valley Fire Station

-Soft Closure Tomki Rd. At Canyon

UPDATE 10:49 a.m.: One Dead, Multiple Structures Burned, Numerous Injuries, One Looter Arrested in Redwood Complex Fire

Major Fire Incident Stories From Oct 9:

NOTE: An earlier version of this story stated that State Route 20 is closed. That is incorrect. Sulfer Banks Road was closed at 20 but 20 is open.



  • I hope Everyone makes it out of danger and there are no more death’s or injuries. I hope these fires were not intentionally set by someone. Sad

    • Cell service US Cellular is now working Willits and Laytonville, AT&T still out, internet still down at 1:11pm

  • I hope my friends the Mendo Dope Crew and their family are safe. I also hope the entire Frey family and all the neighbors flow kana included in The Valley make it out safely. Best of luck. Stay safe.

    • I just heard Frey Vineyards burned down, but everyone’s safe there..

      • Do you know if they had harvested yet? I so love that neck of the woods – what a devastating tragedy! Hoping that everyone is safe and well. Just stopped at Morihara Store in Kula and bought a case of the Natural Red over which to shed my tears. Sending Mendo Aloha Nui Loa <3<3<3

  • Is this why att cell service is down?

  • The north part of Santa Rosa is under evac order. North of Steele lane and east of Fulton. Fucking winds.

  • MCSO coordinating with ATT to see if crews can get in to repair damaged cell tower. ATT users in Eureka and across area without service.

    CDF reported finding two people with third degree burns, burning embers falling onto 101 at Willits grade. Ukiah Daily Journal reports residents have reported they “have lost everything”.

    From the Mendo Voice — UPDATE: 5:40am, 10/09/17: Mendocino County has been hit hard tonight with two large fires, that have already burned down at least 11 structures, and severely burned at least two people. We are just now getting information on the actual scale of the fires. The fire in Redwood Valley has spread to 4500 acres, and is 0% contained, according to Cal Fire spokesperson Tricia Austin at 5:30am. A separate fire in Potter Valley stands at 1500 acres and is also 0% contained — this fire is responsible for the destruction of 11 structures so far. Both fires began around midnight, and firefighters are struggling with strong winds. Adding to the difficulty is the fact that aircraft cannot join the fight until sunrise, and major fires have sprung up in Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties, spreading resources and firefighters thin.

    Furthering confusion is the fact that the fire seems to have hit a cellphone tower, resulting in significant cell and internet outages around the fire and also in Willits.

    The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office has tweeted that the following areas are under an evacuation order: East and West Road, Tomki Road all the way the way to Canyon Road in Willits, the Golden Rule subdivision, and Reeve’s Canyon.

    • The guy who came across those burned people and helped rescue them was the one who called and woke me up this morning to tell me about what was going on. He said everything on his 160 acres was burned completely to the ground and he barely got out of there with his life.

      • If he would talk to me, my email is mskymkemp@gmail.com.

      • Hello.
        We are in desperate need of communication from anyone in that area. Could you please send me any information avaialable about those people ..? Our daughter was there (in the area ) and I haven’t been able to contact her !!!
        Who can we call, and where are they being evacuated ?? Thank you and God bless
        Please know any information would be more than appreciated.

        • Where exactly is she located? The local news outlets have updates regularly. Are there friends and/or family you could call? Or call the evacuation centers listed above for her region.

          • I called every number possible … sheriff, red cross. Hospitals … last known location was redwood valley near Santa Rosa.
            Do you have any other place I can call ?? Or information on evacuees ..?
            Thanks for your reply ! 🙏🏻 Please feel free to contact me

  • The house burning behind the grapevine, is that on Madrone Drive? It looks like mine.

  • how do these fires just START, if it’s not lightening?

    • It doesn’t take much when everything is super dry, just 1 spark in the wrong place, something falling off a vehicle, critter on the power lines, careless smoker… They’ll investigate and maybe find out…

      • For days theyve been saying fire danger, any fire started will take off like crazy.
        I know they need to give the warning but man if youre an arsonist theyre telling you the best time to start one.
        Hopefully theyve been keeping an eye on suspected arsonists like they didnt do well enuf in lake county a few years back.

    • Some are set by individuals, camp fires not put all the way out, also.

    • These fires started from a downed powerline in Potter and because of the winds spread in a matter of minutes. The one in santa rosa started in Calastoga but because of the winds ripped 16 miles toward santa rosa in a matter of minutes.
      You have to be in the situation (we are) where you have the combination of rural woodes areas extreme dry conditions and gale force winds, along with topographical features like ravines and gulleys thast create wind tunnels. All it takes is a couple of embers to hit dry trees and brush, and fast burning vegetation like madrone, manzanita, pine and fire trees, and you have a conflagration in a matter of minutes. Then you have propane tanks blowing up and a gazillion other things. Once the fire starts gaining momentum it creates its own wind and weather conditions. We are on East Rd in Redwood Valley. Evacuated with animals 4am monday came home yesterday afternoon. Are getting prepared to evacuate again cuz the winds have kicked in. Across the road there is a Eucalyptus grove. Neighbors to the north have a stand of DEAD 20-30 foot tall montery pine trees. Fire hits those, we are toast.

  • Too early to know, but I’m guessing downed power lines. If not, then likely arson.

    • Potter Valley was blown transformer. Redwood Valley was arcing powerlines. this is from either witnesses or officials.

    • Early on I had heard (from people evacuated from there) the Potter fire started from downed power lines. They were having 50-60 mph winds Sunday night as were we in Redwood Valley. I initially heard the RV fire spread from that which would not be difficult — just come over the ridge. Winds were from the east, circling all directions and blowing strong Sunday night. Don’t know about the blown transformer in RV. Those winds were diabolical.

  • Our prayers go out to all of you who are dealing with this terrible tragedy and devastation.
    My sister called this morning to tell me that they had to evacuate their home and saw the raging fire, coming up the hill towards their home in Redwood Valley.
    Our hearts break for all of you going through this horrible ordeal.

  • I grew up on Road K, off West Rd; when my Father died a few years ago we had to sell, I hope the new owners got fire insurance. Can anyone tell me if Road K survived? I know that just a few roads up, Mohawk trail, is gone.

    • Yes! My brother lives on Road K and I cannot contact him!! Anyone know what has happened there???

      • Cellphone service has been disrupted so don’t totally freak out yet. It’s very possible there’s beemn fire in that cluster but I have friends hunkered down on Rd N and they are still OK.

  • For EMS LEO AND FIREFIGHTERS & the families and animals in the unknown path of these fires.

    Zero% containment?

    And drifting burning embers?


  • You’re one of the sources for news for those of us who’ve left the area. Thanks for keeping us updated. I really appreciate it.

  • Is Golden Rule Trailer Park and Ridgewood Ranch, Ok????

  • They turned the cell towers off. Can you explain WHY??? Ppl in Idaho are trying to contact moms and freaking out cuz no one knows what’s going on. No cell. No WiFi. Just landlines. And even some of that has been affected. Sorry. Not yelling at you or accusing you in any way. But you being who you are. Maybe you would know why.

    • I know that infrastructure has burned and I know that electricity is turned off to make fighting fires safer. But I haven’t heard of any cell powers being turned off. I would find it unlikely it was done on purpose as firefighters are struggling without the ability to call.

    • Land lines may be out too. Certainly message centers are not being picked up.

      • I have US Cellular and am in Redwood Valley. People were not able to reach me except out of state, but I was able to call out. Several of the communication towers burned so that is why a lot has been disrupted. Also all day yesterday I for one was not able to get any internet access or email with my cellphone or tablet (do not have internet access) and was not able to reach friends locally by cellphone. Just a point of information regarding conditions.

  • Leigh Anne Lindsey

    The people of Ridgewood Ranch and their animals evacuated in time. No word yet on what all has burned there.

  • We have friends and family there our cousin’s house was the only one left on their street. We also have family in Sanoma County. This is so so sad, such devistation.

  • Does anyone know how reeves canyon is? I know it was evacuated, is it burnt out? How are the structures ?

    • My father lives out there and haven’t been able to get ahold of him because of the downed cell network. I assume the place hasn’t burned out because he has not yet evacuated. Probably just trying to secure his property as best he can. I wanted to drive up there this morning, but sheriffs office said the road was blocked off and I wouldn’t be able to get out there.

  • The winds were just insane. Neighbor phone tree came on at 2:30 am, everybody up and then the cell phones went out. Still are. I think the cell towers went down. We are East of Potter Valley, West of the National Forest, South of Van Arsdale. 2,000+ elevation. So far, so good.
    The wind is down, all able body hands on deck.
    The fire went West from Potter, although the winds were so high and changing that it was very hard to figure.
    Thank goodness we’re all off the grid. At least we have satellite internet, lights, scanners and pumps, etc. It looked like armageddon. Be safe.

  • Does anyone have contact with North/West Redwood Valley? Please respond here.

  • Are other roads in Redwood Valley affected? Like Road A?
    We are in Sonoma County. Our children were evacuated from Santa Rosa to our home, but we have family off of
    Road A

  • Please, does anyone know if golden rule & Ridgewood ranch have ?.

  • My Cousin and her family barely escaped the fire on 12705 TOMKI RD. Redwoodvalley? Our Grandparents Dorrance and June Miller moved to Red Valley in 1982, they have passed away, and my cousin owns it now. Are there homes still standing on TOMKI RD? I am truly sorry for everyone who lost their homes.

    • I live in the UK and am concerned about a family friend who lives on Tomki. Could you please ask your cousin and her family if they know anything about Margaret Stephenson. Many, many thanks.

      • Dawn – I have been trying to locate Margaret Stephenson and, as far as I know, no one has heard form her. She is considered a missing person. Her house burned down and her cars were still in the driveway. Praying for some good news but I’m very worried about her.

        • Sadly it has been confirmed that Margaret died in the fire. If you need further information can you send me a pm on Facebook (Dawn E Slone), i’d rather not make anything public.

      • Hi Dawn,
        My name is John Stephenson I’m Margarets nephew would you have any contact details for Gordon Scott her brother, we do not know if he is aware about what has happened. I’ve emailed sheriff Allman to see if Gordon knows but I guess he has his hands full at the moment.

        • Sadly it has been confirmed that Margaret died in the fire. Gordon is aware. I do have contact details for him but don’t want to make them public. Do you still need to contact him? I have a Facebook account if you do please send me a private message.

          • Hi Dawn,
            Thanks we were only concerned that Gordon did not know what had happened, I think he will have my parents details if he wants to speak with them.
            Regards John

    • This vid was taken by someone driving down Tomki – devastation and gruelling to
      watch but yes some properties still standing https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=PD8WshOTlqU&rdm=2ub97a5sn&noapp=1&client=mv-google

  • We used to live on Colony Dr. Has that area been effected? Or Eastside Calpella Rd?

    • Eastside Calpella Rd is fine — right now. We are on East Rd 1/2 mile north of Hwy 20 (Talyors Tavern etc). Everything south of us is OK. Areas North and West or Rd B are affected variously. The fire was out toward Rd I and Colony Drive, don’t know what all burned. The area along East Rd around Rds F, G, and H are affected but I don’t know to what degrees. Tomki Rd — some areas totally devastated some OK. I heard the Orthodox Monastery is OK but along the Cave Creek Rd. ridge and environs there are various areas affected. A lot of places on West Rd west of the Tomki fork are burned. Closer to 101 things seem OK but the roads are closed to access (can’t get in, and if you got out they won’t let you back in). When we started getting things together 4a.m. Monday morning I could hear propane tanks exploding so we got the hell out even though it was not yet mandatory.

  • I can’t find ANY information about REDWOOD VALLEY on the news or the internet. Why?

    • You are commenting on a site that has information about the Redwood Complex fire. I’m not understanding what you mean by not being able to find anything.

      • Maybe she means mainstream media. picked up the SF Chronicle yesterday and their focus is sonoma county. Major news stations are also focusing on Sonoma county.

    • Frances Hosheit late

      If you go to smart news you can download a California fires and they have info I grew up there but left about 50 years ago my name is Frances Hosheit lare my parents had lots of friends there my dad was big in the fire dept

  • I live in Pahrump Nevada and my brother Dee Sutherland still lives in Redwood Valley, he was in Sacramento when the fire broke out, so he is okay. To current time no one has herd from my nephew, Dan Sutherland, and are very worried about him. If anyone knows him or sees him please tell him to contact a family member so we know he’s ok or if anyone knows please post or let his family know. Very worried, Thanks, Aunt Paula


    • Hi Danilla,
      I’m Margarets nephew John, Raymonds brother Kens son, we have seen the sad news that Margaret has been found in her house. We are concerned that her brother Gordon Scott needs to be informed, if any body can get in touch with him please do we have no contact details and don’t know if he is aware of what has happened.

  • My deep sympathies to all those suffering loss in the fires. Reading these comments drives the nature of these losses home.

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