Firefighters Doing Large Backfires to Contain the Mendocino Complex


Laura Spellman, Redding, California, Hot Shot firefighter, uses a drip torch to burn lower vegetation to contain the oncoming fire in Mendocino National Forest, California. (Forest Service photo by Cecilio Ricardo)

Laura Spellman, Redding, California, Hot Shot firefighter, uses a drip torch to burn lower vegetation to contain the oncoming fire in Mendocino National Forest, California.

[caption from InciWeb and Forest Service photo by Cecilio Ricardo]

The Mendocino Complex continues to grow. It is now 410,482 acres. It grew about 6000 acres since yesterday morning and is still only 74% contained. However, firefighters have taken advantage of the higher humidity and slightly lower temperatures to conduct some very large backfiring operations which along with dozer lines are in place to strangle the fire and bring up containment numbers.

For more information on evacuations and road closures, click here or see the evacuation map below.

The Plan:

The northeastern edge of the Ranch Fire continues to grow but dozer lines and backfires are now in place to check the spread. A massive backfiring operation stretches about 10 miles across a good portion of the upper cap on Lake County and into Glenn County. Dozer lines back that up.
The screengrab from today's heat map shows the long thin spot fire running in advance of the Ranch Fire.

The screengrab from today’s heat map shows the long thin backfire running in advance of the Ranch Fire.

According to Cal Fire,

The Ranch Fire continued to burn in the north and northeastern portions of the fire area overnight. Firefighters continue to conduct
firing operations and build containment lines around the fire area. Expect additional firing operations to occur today as conditions
permit. Fire activity is expected to increase in the afternoon as temperatures rise and relative humidity decreases.

No growth is expected now in the southern half of the fire.

The River Fire is now completely contained. Total acreage on the fire is 48,920.

The Weather:  

Hazy day on Clear Lake. [Image from here]

Hazy day on Clear Lake. [Image from here]

Temperatures are continuing the slight cooling trend. Expect them to be in the high eighties today. Humidity is better than it has been and will help fire fighters.

The Roads:

All major roads are open throughout the Mendocino Complex.  However, many smaller roads are closed so check Cal Fire for the latest.




  • If they just backfire from the Carr fire to the north, from I5 to the East, from the Pacific Ocean and from the Bay Area they could easily contain this beast.

  • Randy MacKendrick

    Hopefully that backfire isn’t the desperate measure it appears to be. Chances are even that they will regret this kind of action.

  • Loose horses walking a new dozer line.

  • 410,482
    – 48,920
    = Ranch Fire

    The mendo complex is NOT growing.

    Only the Ranch fire is growing.

    This complex has been the Ranch and River fire only.

    But now the River fire is over and out and contained.

    There is only one fire left, The Ranch fire.

    • Yea, because that makes it better.

      • Im just hinting at more poignant accuracy.

        The Press Democrat, for instance, is now choosing headlines like “Ranch Fire grows 6000 acres.” That is accurate.

        The complex is not growing because only one fire is growing, headlines saying the complex is growing are adding to misunderstandings of the situation.

        Many people only know the name “mendo complex” and dont know the 2 seperate fires names individually.

        Kym 99% has above-average fire coverage, but on this one the information is getting so convoluted that the simple acreage for the Ranch Fire, the only one burning, is not reported in this post about….the fire. Yet the acreage of the River fire is reported individually….but its been out for days.

  • When will they ever have this thing put out every morning my lungs feel like i smoked two cartoons of cigarettes

    • When they rearrange their priorities. California spends an average of 400 million a year on fire suppression, and 32 billion a year on illegal aliens. Jerry and the Sacramento crooks care more about votes than your life or home.

  • Verizon Risking Harm to Public Safety

    Santa Clara County Fire Chief Anthony Bowden

    “OES 5262 also coordinates all local government resources deployed to the Mendocino Complex Fire,” an ongoing wildfire that is the largest in California’s history, Bowden wrote.

    The vehicle has a device that uses a Verizon SIM card for Internet access.

    “In the midst of our response to the Mendocino Complex Fire, County Fire discovered the data connection for OES 5262 was being throttled by Verizon, and data rates had been reduced to 1/200, or less, than the previous speeds,” Bowden wrote. “These reduced speeds severely interfered with the OES 5262’s ability to function effectively. My Information Technology staff communicated directly with Verizon via email about the throttling, requesting it be immediately lifted for public safety purposes.”

    Verizon did not immediately restore full speeds to the device, however.

    “Verizon representatives confirmed the throttling, but rather than restoring us to an essential data transfer speed, they indicated that County Fire would have to switch to a new data plan at more than twice the cost, and they would only remove throttling after we contacted the Department that handles billing and switched to the new data plan,” Bowden wrote.

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