[UPDATE 10:31 p.m.: Mandatory Evacuations for River Fire 4000 Acres / Ranch Fire Grown to 1000 Acres ]

The Ranch Fire burning

The Ranch Fire burning earlier today. [Photo from Cal Fire]

Two fires started today in Mendocino County.

The first is the Ranch Fire between Potter Valley and Hwy 20. It started a little after 12 p.m.  It is over 300 acres and moving east, according to the air attack over the scanner.

Rough area of where the Ranch Fire started

The red marker indicates the rough area where the Ranch Fire started.

At a little after 4 p.m., the Mendocino Sheriff posted, “The fire off of Highway 20 (near Potter Valley aka #RanchFire) is currently not threatening any structures, Hwy 20 is open moving north and east.”

According to the Northern California Geographic Coordination Center, It is “700 acres oak woodland, brush 0% contained. Extreme fire behavior with long range spotting observed. Evacuation warning in effect for the Potter Valley area. There are structures, county and private communication towers as well as 115kV powerlines threatened.”

Follow the latest information on the Ranch Fire on Twitter here.


The second fire, the River Fire started near Old River Road by Hopland. According to the Northern California Geographic Coordination Center, it is approximately “600 acres grass and oak woodland, 0% contained. Dangerous rate of spread with long range spotting observed. Continued threat to structures, 60kV powerlines and the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center. Evacuation warning for River Rd. in the Hopland area.”

The Mendocino Voice is doing some excellent reporting from the scene. Here’s a live video from them as of 6:22 p.m. See more of their coverage of both fires here.

Follow the latest information on the River Fire on Twitter here.

UPDATE 7:18 p.m.: Advisory Evacuation Issued for the Ranch Fire which is near Hwy 20. Click here to see the areas involved and learn more about it.

UPDATE 8:38 p.m.: The Mendocino County Sheriff just tweeted new mandatory evacuations for the Hopland area blaze, the River Fire,

UPDATE 8:42 p.m.: Both the Ranch Fire by Hwy 20 and the River Fire near Hopland are growing. Cal Fire says the Ranch Fire is now 1000 acres and the River Fire is 4000.

UPDATE 8:56 p.m.: Mendocino Sheriff tweeted about animal shelters:

UPDATE 10 p.m.:

Press release from the Mendocino County Sheriff:

On July 27, 2018 around 1:30 pm, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s office was contacted to assist fire suppression teams in the area of Highway 20 near the 7000 block.   This fire is currently referred to as “The Ranch Fire” (#RanchFire).

At about 1:48pm, Sheriff’s units were also contacted to assist with the report of a fire in the 6800 block of Old River Road near Hopland Ca.  This fire is currently referred to as the “River Fire” (#RiverFire).

Currently mandatory evacuations are in effect for the River Fire. The evacuations are in place from the 8000 block of River Road, south to Highway 175, and from the Russian River, east to to the Lake County Line. This includes the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians.

Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office issued an evacuation warning (advisory) for the River Fire Hopland. Affected area is south of Hwy 175, east of Old River Road to highway 101 and east to Old Toll Rd and Ranch Rd area.

Reports from the Ranch Fire indicate the fire is moving east towards Lake County.  Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office personnel are working with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and providing information to residents in these areas.  Currently there are evacuation warnings in effect for Highway 20 from the 6000 block to the Lake County line and into the Blue Lakes area.

Residents are urged to remain aware of their surroundings and use their best judgment. If the fire begins to approach their location they should evacuate to a safe location.

Shelter Opened:
The Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) is opening a shelter at Mendocino College.  The shelter will be located at the Mendocino College Dance Room at 1000 Hensley Creek Road in Ukiah.

The J arena located at 4800 Burke Hill Road, Ukiah, is accepting animals however no horses.  The Redwood Riders Arena located at 8300 East Road in Redwood Valley is accepting horses.  Small animals will be accepted at the Mendocino County Animal Shelter.

Register for Emergency Information
Residents should pay attention for future evacuation warnings. Additional evacuations may occur. Resident can sign up for emergency alerts at www.MendocinoCounty.org/MendoAlert and can receive updated info at www.Facebook.com/MendocinoSheriff.

Please contact the Mendocino County Emergency Operations Call Center at (707)-467-6428 for questions or additional information as needed. 

UPDATE 10:29 p.m.: Caltrans posted:

UPDATE 10:31 p.m.: Mendocino County Sheriff has a call center for your questions at (707) 467-6428 to answer your non-emergency questions.

They have also issued an evacuation map.




  • Another out by Susanville blowing up

  • Norberto Olavarria

    All these fires stretching our firefighters thin.

  • How are these fires starting? Arson? Two firefighters dead in Carr fire. Maybe time to let them burn?

  • Driving around the burned areas in Redwood Valley, Santa Rosa area and looking the new construction, it`s a little perplexing to see what`s going on. The construction seems to be without exception standard stick construction : the very kind of highly flammable structures that burned last year. Why in heaven`s name do humans continue to build buildings that are going to burn the next time there`s a fire? And….there WILL be a fire. It seems that there would be some interest in types of construction that are fire resistant — concrete; ICF; concrete block; etc. or at least stucco exteriors.

    • Earthquakes create issues with masonry structures. Even reenforced, they are more easily damaged and damaging than stick built structures. Then, as increasing population has caused more and more building in the hills, it can be an engineering issue to put so much weight on unstable land. And the cost is large, the flexibility small.

      Besides, looking at the current Greek fires, a land of masony homes, I’m not sure that masonry can either protect life or property in an intense fire. Maybe it can in a quick moving grass fire but anywhere with relatively dense trees and shrubs will go anyway.

    • You’re on the right track, Mr. Ross. But wood framed houses can be made relatively fire safe. Here is a clear and comprehensive paper published through UC Cooperative Extension on how to “fire harden” a home:
      There are other factors involved as well. Last autumn I saw a home near Calistoga that burned. It had a metal roof and stucco siding. But it also had juniper growing directly under the eave. Juniper (as well as most aromatic plants) burn like grease. A hot fire under the eave is a ticket to ride for a home ignition. Likewise, firewood or construction scraps under the deck, against the wall, etc. can undermine the use of safer materials. So in essence, achieving a fire hardened home involves an equation with many variables, and small details count heavily.
      In addition, Yana Valachovic, a co-author of the fire hardened homes paper referenced above, hosted a webinar last month on lessons learned from last autumn’s North Bay fires. Here’s the link if you care to explore further: http://www.cafiresci.org/events-webinars-source/lessonslearned2017wildfi

      • Good information. Thanks. I noticed on the drone videos of burnt subdivision that there were frequent patches of large coniferous trees still standing and not skeletonized. They must be somewhat non contributing to fire. Has anyone done an inventory of these kinds of trees?

        • You’re welcome – good observation about the unburned trees. I’ve been working on wildfires for 36 years and never saw before what I saw on the North Bay/Wine Country fires. In subdivisions with larger parcels (20-40+ acres) often many if not most of the homes were burned but large swaths of vegetation had their foliage scorched but not consumed. That told me that in that situation (big winds, end of summer so everything as dry as it will ever get) the fire was progressing building to building by windblown embers, and essentially skipping over the vegetation. The heat of the buildings burning was likely what scorched the foliage. Most buildings that burn in wildfires ignite from windblown embers landing in “receptive fuelbeds,” nooks and crannies with needles and leaves, etc. The public often comments on the “randomness” of home ignitions in a wildfire. I believe those ignitions are much less random than most think, and more dependent on the details of the house’s design, construction, materials used, and how it is lived in.
          I design and implement defensible space projects, and for years I’ve been advising friends and clients that fire hardening the home is fully 50% of the equation for a fire safe home. But at that point I realized that in that extreme situation, the fire hardness of the home was more than 50%. That’s certainly not to discount the vegetation and defensible space; just that in that situation the vegetation often did not make the difference.

    • I agree. Built my house in Piercy with ‘steel studs’. Would imagine if a fire was hot enough the framing might warp a bit, but afterwards you could simply re-sheet the thing in what ever form it took, and win all kinds of awards. Aside from that, it’s bug proof, straight as an arrow & no tree deaths. Been using it back East for years, but carpenters hate the stuff!

    • Going underground

      Mole man knew.


      Broken heart good for one thing I guess….

  • How are these fires starting?

    “ . . .but you and I, we’ve been through that And this is not our fate.
    So let us stop talkin’ falsely now, the hour’s getting late . . .” Bob Dylan, All Along the Watchtower.

    When 66 fires started simultaneously last October 9 in four counties, 77 cell towers had a melt-down, and the Fire Chief and Jr. Fire Chief (Sonoma County), just happened to be gone. . . well . . .what do you think? The power is turned off first (in the “Firestorm Zones”), then the voltage (microwave radiation HOT), gets turned up a notch on the firestorm meters attached to our homes and businesses. There were also sightings of planes w/Direct Energy Weapons (DEW) blue laser beams, flying overhead.

    “The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists.” – J. Edgar Hoover

    “There’s a plot in this country to enslave every man, woman and child. Before I leave this high and noble office, I intend to expose this plot.” John F. Kennedy 7 days before his assassination.

    “But in this country, it’s (Boeing 747 Supertanker Firefighter), virtuously worthless unless the U.S. FOREST SERVICE, INC., gives its permission to fight fires. Something the agency has yet to do.” – Jim Wheeler, Supertanker Company. August 2017.

    “A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth.” -Einstein.

  • I am praying for the safety of the firefighters and the people who live in that area. Please be safe everyone.

  • If the firefighters were not out there doing what they’re doing, there would be many more deaths. 3 people are missing on the carr fire right now. My husband was a firefighter for 31 year and he knew the risk. But to save even one life made it all worth it.

  • 60 different fires in Cali. right now.

  • Thank you Al.

    I did some www checking. I see many videos with a plane doing the retardant spraying, implying that its the Global Supertanker, but it’s not. Then i hit this link with statements from Jim Wheeler, the owner/CEO. To no surprise, sadly, it comes down to contract. And, there seems to be a hang-up.

    https://www.sacbee.com/latest-news/article214496714.html 7-2-18

    The turnaround time, combined with McClellan’s extra-long 10,600-foot runway, allows the base to service LATs and VLATs for fires as far away as Southern California, Oregon, and Nevada.(Large and Very Large Air Tankers)

  • “virtuously worthless”? Was that supposed to be a quotation? It sure doesn’t mean what it says.

  • I am living in Lake Co. close to both fires. The air quality here is terrible, it’s hot as hell, and many areas are under mandatory evacuation orders, with probably more to come. Everyone is frightened and miserable. What’s the point of pundits taking this opportunity to air their stupid conspiracy theories, spinning all the way back to JFK (and doubtless beyond, to the beginning of time, really — when the Great Gods Ruled the Void, Before the Evil Aliens)? It all boils down to: You Can’t Trust Authority, So Trust Me. Hmmm… surely there’s more than two alternatives.

    Just for the record I’m one of those unimaginative souls who thinks these fires are the result of climate change — continuing patterns of hotter and drier weather — combined with the usual mix of human error, natural phenomena like wind and lightning, and the occasional local individual maliciousness (arson). The Carr Fire was caused by a “vehicle malfunction” — probably a spark or contact between the hot surface of a car, truck, or motorcycle, and dried vegetation. Very common occurrence. The enormous and destructive Valley Fire in Lake Co a couple of years back was started by an improperly wired hot tub. Or else my mind has been fried by one of those blue laser beams.

  • Dawn,

    We’re on the agenda to go up in flames. I quoted someone. I did add what’s in the parenthesis.

  • “You can’t trust authority so trust Me”. WTHAYTA?

    Let’s just call for common sense, if you feel it necessary to be governed by others, go right ahead. I can govern myself and i prefer to maintain my Freedom and Liberties.

    “Conspiracy Theorist” is nothing more than a derogatory title used to dismiss a critical thinker.

  • The plumes on the Mendo complex are huge right now. Big heads up to anyone close.

  • More chem trails! er, ugh, cowbells? Go back to sleep, you don’t want to know, obviously.
    And true dat, Central HumCo! Meanwhile $32 mill spent every day destroying and rebuilding Iraq.
    In times of war, truth is the first casualty. Agenda 21/30 deployed with extreme prejudice, look it up. Peace~

    • Correcto, $32M per HOUR destroying and rebuilding Iraq, among other “nation building” activities.
      But hey, let’s not let the real game distract us from the Russian circus. Kudos firefighters. Rip citizens.

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