Latest Info on the Lodge Complex

Kym Kemp / Tuesday, Aug. 5 @ 9:15 a.m. /  Crime

The two fires in the Lodge Complex northwest of Laytonville have merged and, overnight, the fire slowed down somewhat consuming ‘only’ an additional 127 acres. The total acreage is now 3527 and the fire is still 15% contained. 

Tomorrow at 6 p.m., according to Cal Fire spokesperson Koby Johns, there will be another community meeting in Laytonville at the Harwood Memorial Park hall (44400 Willis Ave.) 

We’ll update this with more information as it comes in. Meanwhile, WildlandFire has a map that is somewhat current. (Follow this link to go to the actual map which is zoomable.)


Thick Smoke Hinders Aerial Attacks on the Lodge Complex in Northern Mendocino

Kym Kemp / Monday, Aug. 4 @ 10:23 p.m. /  Fire!

The Lodge Complex Fire northwest of Laytonville devoured another 500 acres today. It is now at 3400 acres with 15% containment. An inversion layer kept thick smoke hovering over the area hindering efforts to fight the fire from the air.

According to Julie Cooley, spokesperson for Cal Fire, “Fire growth can be expected on portions of the fire due to severe drought conditions and accessibility challenges. Firefighting personnel and equipment continue to establish and improve containment lines.”

Resident Bob Barsotti, who manages the facility where the helicopters are staging, and his wife Susy, sent in the following maps this morning [They were added to this morning’s post.] He explained what the maps depict, 

The two fires have merged into one, which is what [firefighters] were trying to do. They’ve kept it from approaching the Ten Mile canyon… . The first map shows the fire line they are constructing down Brushy Mountain to Camp Seabow on Ten Mile (by DP-5), then up around Seabow and back towards the Eel and the other fire line. The solid x’s are completed fire lines, the x & dots are fire lines they are working on. 

Suzy Barsotti said, “[T]he majority of fire is moving through the understory, with spots of crown, or tree-top burning.  The area the fire has been moving through hasn’t had any fire or clearing for 50+ years. ”

According to Cal Fire, the number of fire engines and crews dropped from 48 fire engines this morning to 31 this evening and from 28 crews to 27. However, two more bulldozers arrived and number of personnel. The total number is now 966.

Hollywood Thinks Humboldt Would Make a Good Reality Series…

Kym Kemp / Monday, Aug. 4 @ 8 p.m. / Culture ,  Humboldt

We can’t wait to read your suggestions. 

Film Commission Press Release:

Pitch 5 Productions, a Los Angeles-based television company that specializes in non-fiction and reality-style series for cable, is looking for unique people, workspaces and communities around which we can build a TV show.

Many of the most successful ideas for series revolve around a business that embodies excitement or the potential for danger and features entertaining employees and clients. 

We are also looking for families or communities that are devoted to or defined by a compelling purpose or ongoing goal. This purpose might be a unique business or unusual ways of making a living.

Ideally, the characters in these businesses, families and communities should be larger than life, even (slightly) crazy but highly appealing personalities. TV ratings prove that audiences are looking for big, entertaining characters that are lots of fun – it seems like these people can be an attraction to visitors to your region.

These are very general criteria, but we’re interested in seeing what the people of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties might think are the most entertaining, eccentric and involving businesses and people in their part of the country. Anyone with a suggestion should feel free to email me at”

Missing Hiker Near Stoddard Lake

Kym Kemp / Monday, Aug. 4 @ 6:48 p.m. /  News

Trinity County Press Release:

Search & Rescue:

Missing Subject: Steven Michael Morris

DOB: 05/26/1955 Age: 59

On August 2, 2014 at approximately 10:14pm the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a missing person Billy’s Peak – Stoddard Lake area. Steven Morris was camping with a group of friends at Stoddard Lake. The group went for a hike to Billy’s Peak and back to camp. Morris was hiking ahead of the others and never returned to camp. Morris is an experienced hiker and has some food and water with him.

Trinity County Search and Rescue has been searching for Morris since August 3, 2014 but have been unable to locate any signs of him. Trinity County has received mutual aid from Marin and Contra Costa Counties in an effort to locate Morris. Rescuers are continuing their search.

Description: White Male

Height: 5’7”

Weight: 170lbs

Hair: Red

Eyes: Hazel

Clothing: Plaid grey shirt, Green pants, Brown boots, and Tan hat


Water! Water! State Lifts 50 Gallon Per Person Per Day Restriction on Rio Dell Residents, Others Not so Lucky

Kym Kemp / Monday, Aug. 4 @ 6:41 p.m. /  News

Rio Dell resident Bob Vogel waters his flowers using donated spring water. Vogel’s flowers are a town favorite. [Photos provided by the city of Rio Dell]

The State Water Resources Control Board lifted its 50 gallons of water per person per day restriction on Rio Dell residents. However, those previously affected on the remainder of the main stem of the Eel River, the North Fork Eel River, or the Van Duzen River aren’t so lucky.

City of Rio Dell Press Release:

One month after issuing a notice that the City of Rio Dell no longer has legal rights to draw water out of the Eel River, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) has issued a rescission of its June 30, 2014 curtailment notice. The curtailment notice resulted in an unprecedented 50 gallons of water per person, per day ceiling the City of Rio Dell was asked to achieve. This reduction translated into a 50% reduction in water use city-wide. The city and its rate-payers faced State imposed fines for failure to achieve the conservation objective.

Residents of Rio Dell answered the call to conserve water, reducing water use by 56% towards the end of July. Friends of the city donated truckloads of water to keep city landscaping alive, residents with well systems donated water to their neighbors, and local businesses stepped in voluntarily to reduce water use. 

The State’s rescission of the curtailment letter [see below] now lifts the 50 gallon per person per day limitation on the city’s residents. The city remains at emergency drought level 3, which continues to prohibit the outdoor use of water, and the Governor continues to call for reduced outdoor water use statewide. The City Council may reconsider its position on the city’s drought stage at its regularly scheduled meeting this Tuesday August 5, 2014 at 6:30pm. River gauges adjacent to the city show a river flow of 45 cubic feet per second, one of the lowest river flows for this time of year since 1977. 

While we are pleased that the State has reassessed its position, we remain very concerned about river flows.” Stated Kyle Knopp, City Manager for the City of Rio Dell. The city’s only source of water comes directly from the river. “A drought of this magnitude has not been seen in a generation, and I wouldn’t be surprised if next month we receive a new curtailment order as conditions worsen. For now though,everyone should be mindful of how we use water, but nobody needs to be counting gallons.

Public Works staffer Austin Evans uses recycled grey-water from City Hall to keep the flowers alive.

State Water Resources Control Board letter to the City of Rio Dell:


On June 30, 2014, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) issued a curtailment notice to post-1914 water right holders on the North Fork and Main Stem Eel River and the Van Duzen River. The curtailment notice was based on the projected water supply and reported diversion demands for senior and junior water right holders. At that time, the water supply was insufficient to service all senior water right holders. 

State Water Board staff has continuously monitored flow conditions in the Eel River watershed, and, based on new information, has determined that there is sufficient water available downstream of the confluence of the South Fork and Main Stem Eel River to justify allowing 22 appropriative water rights holders, of which you are one, to commence diversions under post-1914 water rights. This determination is based on July 14th and 16th, 2014 recalibrations of the stream gages at Scotia and Fort Seward by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) which are used to monitor and project water supply. State Water Board staff has monitored the adjusted gages for two weeks to ensure consistency prior to releasing parties from curtailment. 

Given these adjustments to water supply, State Water Board staff finds that additional water is available to certain post-1914 water rights in the Eel River near the Scotia gauge. Due to the downstream location of the Scotia gauge and supply of water still entering from the South Fork, only those post-1914 water rights downstream of the South Fork and Main Stem Eel River confluence are being released from curtailment. 

State Water Board staff also checked this decision to partially lift curtailments with results from a flow model being developed by the University of California, Davis. Results from the Davis model support lifting the curtailments for the post-1914 water rights below the confluence of the South Fork and Main Stem Eel River, but not for the remainder of the Main Stem Eel River, North Fork Eel River, or Van Duzen River.  

To Water Right Users in the Main Stem Eel River, The Division of Water Rights will continue to actively monitor the conditions for the remainder of the Main Stem and North Fork Eel River as well as the Van Duzen tributary, and should conditions change, we will notify the affected parties. If you have any questions or concerns, you may contact John O’Hagan at (916) 341-5368. 

New Officers Sworn in by Sheriff Downey

Kym Kemp / Monday, Aug. 4 @ 3:04 p.m. /  News

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Press Release:

Humboldt County Sheriff Michael Downey is pleased to announce the swearing in of two new employees with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and one new employee with the Yurok Tribal Police Department.

Ethan Miller from Crescent City was sworn in as a Correctional Officer and will be assigned to Humboldt County Correctional Facility. Dustin Del Biaggio from Ferndale was sworn in as a Deputy Sheriff and will be assigned to the patrol division for the Sheriff’s Office. Edward Wilson is a retired Los Angeles Police Department Officer and was sworn in as a Level 1, Reserve Police Officer with the Yurok Tribal Police Department.

Ammunition, Handgun Described as Authorities Release Information on Shane Miller’s Death Scene

Kym Kemp / Monday, Aug. 4 @ 1:41 p.m. /  Crime

Shasta County Sheriff’s Office Press Release:


On Friday, August 01, 2014, at approximately 2300 hours, an anonymous party reported finding possible human remains on the river bank of the Mattole River, in Petrolia, California. Members of the Petrolia Fire Department responded to the location as well as Deputies from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. It was confirmed the remains were in fact human. Detectives from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and members of the Department of Justice were called to process the scene and collect the human remains. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office contacted Detectives of the Shasta County Sherif’s Office as the body’s location was within an area where Shane Miller’s had previously fled from law enforcement.

On Saturday, August 02, 2014 the scene was processed and the remains were collected by the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office with assistance from the Department of Justice, and Detectives from the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office. The remains were located in a draw surrounded by heavy vegetation approximately 1,500 feet East of where Shane Miller’s vehicle was located. The remains were partially covered in silt from water runoff during rainy conditions. The remains were clothed in a sweat shirt, pants and boots. Adjacent to the remains was a FNH Five-Seven 5.7X28 mm handgun with a loaded magazine. Three additional loaded FNH magazines were adjacent to the handgun. The blue tipped polymer ammunition in the magazines was consistent with ammunition located in Shane Miller’s truck and at the homicide scene in Shingletown.

On Sunday, August 03, 2014 the skeletal remains were positively identified through dental records as those of Shane Franklyn Miller. The positive identification was made by Doctor William Farrell who is a forensic odontologist from Shasta County. The cause of death is pending further investigation by the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office.

The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office is grateful to the approximately 24 different law enforcement agencies who participated in this investigation as well as the citizens and volunteers. Shane Miller was featured on the top “15 Most Wanted” List with the United States Marshall’s Service. The search for Shane Miller was in the forefront of media attention both locally and nationally. This investigation was the featured premiere for John Walsh’s new series “The Hunt”. The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office is very appreciative to the media for getting information out to assist in this investigation.