[UPDATE 11:18 a.m.: Hwy 20 Reopens] Mendocino Complex Is Now Over 300,000 Acres

Flames above a home near Upper Lake.

Flames above a home near Upper Lake on August 6. [Photo by Diana Totten, firefighter]

Firefighters pushed back hard yesterday bringing containment on the massive Mendocino Complex up from 34% to 47%. Nonetheless, the fire grew around 10,000 acres yesterday when it was already the largest wildfire in modern California history to over 300,000 acres.

According to the Northern Geographic Coordination Center, “Damage assessments have found 115 residences, 105 minor structures, and 1 multiple residences destroyed. Damage assessment is continuing. Approximately 12,000 civilians are under evacuation orders and 6,000 civilians are under evacuation advisory.”

For more information on evacuations and road closures, go to the InciWeb site.

The Plan:

Strike Team 4103C crew swap in action. #MendocinoComplex

A post shared by NEVADA COUNTY CONSOLIDATED FD (@nevadacountyconsolidatedfire) on

The Ranch Fire continues to grow but mostly to the north. Look for spread in the east-west drainages. To the east, thick smoke will keep temperatures lower early in the day but by evening expect an increase in fire activity. Firefighters are especially worried about long range spotting. They are also worried about the fire slopping over lines along the southern edges of the fire in the early evening.

Firefighters have pushed containment on the River Fire to 81%. There was no overnight growth on the fire. Everyone is cautiously optimistic for this fire to lay down and behave. But there is potential spotting for the east/west drainages and along ridgetops, according to Cal Fire.

The Weather: 

The Mount Konocti Camera shows smoke laying in over Clear Lake. [Image from here]

The Mount Konocti Camera shows smoke laying in over Clear Lake. [Image from here]

The weather is expected to get drier and warmer over the next few days. Winds will be light but will pick up in the late afternoon and evening.

The National Weather Service in Eureka posted this video that shows the predicted smoke patterns for today.

The Roads:


Cal trans detour sign on Hwy 20 Mendocino Complex

Motorists must detour off Hwy 20 and use a combination of roads to get to Hwy 101.

Hwy 20 is still closed. There are some detours available.

Many smaller roads are closed, too. Check Cal Fire for the latest but be aware that conditions are changing fast on the frontlines.

UPDATE 11:18 a.m.: Hwy 20 Reopens


  • Fire Progression Maps: [NOTE: These only show until August 6 at 11:38 p.m.]
  • Mendocino Complex Operations Map –to see details either zoom or click on the map and download a pdf.
    Mendocino Complex Operations Map

    Mendocino Complex Operations Map

  • KMZ Map–Zoom for detail or for 3D imagery, click on the map and download a file that connects with your Google Earth program.
    Mendocino Complex Heat Map

    Mendocino Complex Heat Map


Redwoods Rural Health Center in Redway is a Pay It Forward donation center. Call and ask first what they are accepting.

UPDATE 11:18 a.m.: Hwy 20 Reopens

Earlier Chapters:



  • Is that 115 homes destroyed last night or so far total?

    • Total, so far.

      • Remember, fire is a natural element in California forests, Natural fires naturally burned every 25-50 years routinely, this was untill the forest was only looked at for $$. When timber companies thought they were losing “timber”, they began putting out these small fires disrupting the natural cycle which built up the fuel loads of these forests resulting in these mega fires we see today. Looking through and researching old fires in the UC California Berkely paperwork we see a 800 acre fire in the 1920s as huge and devastating. There were no 300,000 acre fires. The fire fighting technology was almost nonexistant, no bombers, helicopters or 747’s, just hand crews, yet they put these fires out because there was atmospheric humidity and cooler temperatures feok the Redwood Belt left standing. Changes need to happen and they need to happen quickly. Nobody istalking about they why, many are in complete awe, including long term career firefighters.

  • Hwy 36 through the construction zone is not for small vehicles or RV’s. Maybe in the evening when they are done but when I went through twice yesterday when they were working if you had anything under 6 inches of ground clearance you left car parts. Thank you firefighters! Everyone stay safe!

  • I don’t see the link for the smoke pattern video…

    • Things that make you go hmm

      Instead of clicking the play button, you have to click on the F icon in the bottom right corner. It should load and play for you then 🌞

  • Lets not forget these huge fires are happening because of poor Forest Practices and Calfire constantly putting out every small fire and not practicing controlled burns. This could have been prevented.

  • Lets not forget that Mendocino County is especially drier in the last 10 years as a result of Mendocino Redwood Company spraying with toxic herbicide and killing over 400,000 acres of Tanoaks which are known to increase atmospheric humidity for inland valleys and hills. The fogs and humidity these trees produce in the summer create nighttime forest drip. They literally deforested the redwood belt leading to zero humidity and increased fire risk inland, as the air flow moves from the Coast Inland this air brings moisture to inland douglas for forests and oak wildlands, all this in the name of having a single species forest of Redwoods to increase their greedy pocketa… Lets not forget the Tan Oak was heavily forested along our Redwood Belts and the tanoak produced all the food for Bear and many other forest critters. California is burning down as a result of killing thousands of acres of humidity producing tan oaks. We need to put an immediate stop to herbicide spraying!🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

    • Mendo Historian – I agree. Although I’m from Michigan, I’m an ecologist who has studied natural plant communities across North America, and the world to some extent. Misguided vegetative management is to blame for so much, especially the suppression of natural fire regimes. Of course, increasing human occupation of wild lands has made fire much more of an issue in recent decades, and I can’t blame people for trying to defend their homes. But, the balance needs to start tipping toward sensible natural management, otherwise, nature tends to take control as it has with this fire complex. Bill Collins, Manager and Ecologist, Huron Ecologic

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