[UPDATE 8:49 p.m.: New Evacuation Orders] Mendocino County Fights Back Onslaught of Fires, But the Complex Grew Almost 20,000 Acres Yesterday

An MD87 Air Tanker drops fire retardant on a ridge West of Scotts Valley Road.

An MD87 Air Tanker drops fire retardant on a ridge West of Scotts Valley Road. [Photo by Mark McKenna]

Mendocino County fought for its life yesterday as multiple fires threatened to roll throughout a widespread area. Besides the huge Mendocino Complex which burned into Lake County, three other fires started yesterday–the Eel Fire near Covelo which forced evacuations nearby, the Vichy Fire which was stomped by firefighters and is no longer of concern, and the Western Fire by Hopland which grew to over 100 acres but is 95% contained.

A barn on Scotts Valley Road near Lakeport survived the River Fire.

A barn on Scotts Valley Road near Lakeport survived the River Fire. [Photo by Mark McKenna]

The Mendocino Complex which started July 27 grew almost another 20,000 acres yesterday. But, the containment has also jumped to 39%–much of it along the Hwy 20 border of the Ranch Fire which is helpful to travelers hoping for the roadway to reopen. The east and west sides of the River Fire also saw containment lines grow.

Spot fires are still a major concern to firefighters battling the two large incidents.

For the latest information about evacuations and road closures, click here to go to Cal Fire’s page for the Complex.

Scenes from the Mendocino Complex:

A water tender parked on Scotts Valley Road near Lakeport was "painted' with fire retardant.

A water tender parked on Scotts Valley Road near Lakeport was “painted’ with fire retardant. [Photo by Mark McKenna]

A C-130 Air Tanker drops fire retardant on a ridge West of Scotts Valley Road.

A C-130 Air Tanker drops fire retardant on a ridge West of Scotts Valley Road. [Photo by Mark McKenna]

moke plumes from the Ranch Fire east near Upper Lake, California.

Smoke plumes from the Ranch Fire east near Upper Lake, California. [Photo by Mark McKenna]

A large plume of smoke from the River Fire rises over house off Scotts Valley Road near Lakeport, California.

A large plume of smoke from the River Fire rises over house off Scotts Valley Road near Lakeport, California. [Photo by Mark McKenna]

The Plan:

A group of engines from Los Angeles waits for their assignment on Scotts Valley road near Lakeport

A group of engines from Los Angeles waits for their assignment on Scotts Valley road near Lakeport yesterday. [Photo by Mark McKenna]

For the Ranch Fire, flames rolled westward about five miles yesterday through the mountains and forced new evacuations in the Bartlett Springs Road area. Fortunately, the area is sparsely populated.

Firefighters will try and stop this finger of the fire’s forward rush and also keep it from moving south towards the populated Clear Lake area.

For the River Fire, mostly grew northward–pushing towards Hwy 20 and the Ranch Fire. Firefighters will continue to protect Lakeport and the Kelseyville area and try to keep the fire from spreading into the rugged terrain east of Talmage.

The Weather:

A flare erupts from the Ranch Fire near Upper Lake, California.

A flare erupts from the Ranch Fire near Upper Lake, California. [Photo by Mark McKenna]

Again the weather is expected to be warm and dry with temperatures in the high eighties to nineties depending on the area. Expect winds again from the northwest. Firefighters will have a slight break though as an overnight slight rise in humidity should help. Expect smokey skies near the fires, of course, but the larger surrounding area should be clear with little clouds.

The Roads:

Hwy 20 and 175 are closed with no estimated time of reopening. Though with containment lines holding solid along 20, there is hope for reopening. Keep checking in for updates if you need to get through.

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

The MAPS:

  • Ranch Operations Map –to see details either zoom or click on the map and download a pdf.

    Ranch Operations Map

    Ranch Operations Map

  • River Operations Map –to see details either zoom or click on the map and download a pdf.
    River Operations Map

    River 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 KMZ Map

    Mendocino Complex KMZ Map

DONATIONS:

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

UPDATE 9:38 a.m.: New Mandatory Evacuations:

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office has upgraded a current Advisory issued to a Mandatory Evacuation in Western Lake County. The Mandatory Evacuation area is west of Lucerne at Bartlett Springs Road and Highway CA-20, south of the fire, east of the fire, north of Clear Lake including the communities of Blue Lakes, Upper Lake, Nice, Lakeport, Witter Springs, Bachelor Valley, Scotts Valley, Saratoga Springs.

UPDATE 1:32 p.m.: Mandatory evacuation reduced to Evacuation Warning:

The following areas have been reduced to a Evacuation Warning:
Mid Mountain Road and Pine Avenue area of Potter Valley, north of Burris Lane, east of Eastside Potter Valley Road, west of the fire edge.
Note: Mid Mountain Road is closed to eastbound traffic at the Mendocino-Lake
County Line/Forest Boundary

UPDATE 8:49 p.m.: Cal Fire just sent out this urgent message:

Evacuation Order — Lake County and National Forest:
Bartlett Springs Road at Hwy 20, east along the National Forest boundary to High Valley Road, southeast
to the 5 Star Fish Farm, southeast to the north side of Hwy 20, east to New Long Valley Road, extending
north to the west side of the Indian Valley Reservoir, north to Bartlett Springs Road, east to the LakeColusa
County Line, north along the Lake-Colusa County Line extending to Forest Service Road 18N40
(west of the Lake-Colusa-Tehama County Line), and west to the western National Forest boundary in
Lake County.
Evacuation Warning – Western Colusa County:
East of the Lake-Colusa County Line (Bartlett Springs Road/Brim Road) to Leesville-Lodoga Road, north
to Lodoga, west to the National Forest boundary, North along the National Forest boundary to the ColusaGlenn
County Line, and west to the Colusa-Lake County Line.
Evacuation Warning – The Lucerne and Clearlake Oaks area of Lake
County:
South of Bartlett Springs Road at Hwy 20, west of the Forest Boundary, including Pierce Canyon and High
Valley Road, west of Sulpher Bank Drive at Hwy 20 and north of Clear Lake.

Earlier Chapters:

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25 comments

  • The River fire, with all those hot spots lined up against the towns, looks especially frightening. I wonder if it represents the success of the fire fighters in protecting the towns- a battle line?

    Anyway Kym, your coverage is impressive and I thank you.

  • Great coverage and photos! Thanks Kym and Mark!

  • thanks for our coverage of these fires. Excellent photos.

  • Incredible photos. There’s a certain artistry to them, suggesting both the awful and the exceptional.

  • We as a society need to really get behind the use of prescribe fire at a landscape level in order to combat what the state is experiencing. It is probably one of the most important and under utilized tool in the tool box to prevent these reoccurring situations.

  • What info can you give us on the Eel Fire. I am having a hard time finding updates on it. I can see they finally posted the Eel Fire but there is no info on how and who is fighting the fire.

  • I don’t know if this has been posted here yet, but this is a link to an excellent interactive map of the fires.

    https://maps.nwcg.gov/sa/#/%3F/39.0183/-123.0057/11

  • Thanks, great reporting. We need a thank-you emoji thing to press, so that we can all give you the instantaneous appreciative feed-back that you so often deserve.

  • Miles Fromhoneydew

    Klamathman – you should know – you live in the RE-birthplace of “Good Fire” – an older name for Prescribed Fire. http://www.siskiyoudaily.com/article/20150901/NEWS/150909961, and
    http://ucanr.edu/sites/statewideconference2018/files/282917.pdf, and keep your ears on for a big confab , late August, Fortuna, of the newly-formed Humboldt County Prescribed Burn Association.

  • Is this what we are being groomed for? Pictures and more pictures of California being devastated, destroyed, desicated, and divied-up by devildoers, while we watch the helicopters and small airplanes drop water, KNOWING the World’s largest Supertanker is setting idle, because the cost of human resource is being re-negotiated by the banksters.

    More talk of Directed Energy Weapons (DEW) at the northern California fires; video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEqaeNWkSDg (only 3.5 minutes)

    • I just couldn’t resist watching the video. “Stay curious,” concludes the narrator. I totally agree, but there my agreement ends.
      First, he obviously hasn’t stayed curious, since he definitively states that we’re being lied to about the cause of the fire.
      Second, all his “reasoning” depends upon so-called “common sense.” But a) he begins the video by saying the picture he’s showing is “believed to be” from the Carr Fire in Redding. In other words, he actually doesn’t know what he’s looking at; he just “believes” it’s from the Carr Fire.
      After that he points out some puzzling aspects of the picture without giving any consideration to any possible explanations, implying that there could be only one answer, his answer, whatever it might be — presumably DEW’s, but he doesn’t mention even DEW’s, though they’re in the video title.
      While I don’t know what the answers are, common sense tells me that a) I don’t know much about extreme fire behavior and I bet he doesn’t, either, so it’s impossible to conclude anything at all from this video; and b) while one should always be skeptical of authority (and stay curious) there’s no reason to believe anything non-natural has happened based upon this picture “believed to be” from the Carr Fire.

      • yesmeagain,

        i can’t get anything by you 😮 Laser-hot and /or microwave radiation-hot is the extreme temp. it took, is taking, to cause such annihilation in a short span of time.

        Mostly, i wanna know, WHERE IS THE GLOBAL SUPERTANKER BOEING 747? Guilty mother lovers.

  • Hi Kym – Thank you for all your updates re the fires. One FYI – the 1:32 evacuations update is for a change from mandatory evacuation to evacuation warning status, not new evacuations according to your posting.

  • Taurusballzhoff

    Another day, another great fire report! Beautiful photos!

    Thanks again to the RHBB team and Ms Kemp!

  • Best reporting in the area, thanks.

  • Does anybody notice the smoke here on the Humboldt Coast?

  • Does anyone know where they are evacuating people? I have an elderly, widowed aunt who is in direct line of the fire and can’t reach anyone. Thanks

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