[UPDATE: 12:33 p.m.: New Evacuations in Mendocino County] Mendocino Complex Grows to 290,000 Acres Making It the Largest Fire in Modern California History [Maps]

Smoke from the Complex at sunset.

Smoke from the Complex at sunset. [Photo from InciWeb]

Last night the Mendocino Complex received the dubious glory of being the largest fire in modern California history. Today it is over 290,000 acres with only 34% containment–most of that on the River Fire. The Complex is expected to continue growing.

According to the Northern California Geographic Coordination Center, “Seventy-four residences, 68 minor structures, and one multiple residence have been destroyed. Damage assessment is continuing. Approximately 13,000 civilians are under evacuation orders and 8,000 civilians are under evacuation advisory.”

For more information on evacuations, road closures, and general updates, click here.

The Plan:

The Ranch Fire continues to grow. Over the last day, it pushed mostly north and east with one section near Glenhaven to the south of the fire also growing. Firefighters will be struggling to keep flames west of the Leesville Lodoga Road/ Bear Valley Road today. The town of Williams is about 15 miles east of the Ranch Fire.

Containment on the River Fire grew to 78%. Firefighters are pushing this one to a close. Cal Fire will be working on “tieing in the remaining containment lines to Scotts Valley Road.”

The Weather: 

The Mount Konocti Camera shows smoke laying in over Clear Lake.

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

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

The Roads:
Smoke chokes Hwy 20.

Smoke chokes Hwy 20. [Photo from Caltrans District 1’s Facebook page]

Hwy 20 is still closed and, with the Ranch Fire creeping closer in the Glenhaven area, Caltrans is still saying no estimated time of reopening.

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


  • Fire Progression Maps: [NOTE: These only show until August 5 and 11:15 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.


WHEN: AUGUST 7, 2018 at 9:00 A.M.
WHERE: The following areas have been reduced to an Evacuation Advisory and may return to their
South of the Mendocino National Forest Boundary, west of SR 29, north of the Hendricks
Road/Scotts Valley Road intersection, and east of the Lake-Mendocino County Line. This
includes Blue Lakes, Bachelor Valley, Witter Springs, Saratoga Springs, and Scotts Valley

UPDATE: 12:33 p.m.: New evacuations in Mendocino County, according to the Sheriff’s Office:

Mandatory Evacuation Order south of Eel River, west of the Mendodcino/Lake county line, east of 10500 blk of Mid Mountain Road and north of Pine Ave.

UPDATE 2:33 p.m.: New information according to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.

AUGUST 7, 2018 at 2:00 P.M.
WHERE: All Areas of Mendocino County (Mandatory Evacuation Orders and Warnings) affected by
the Ranch and River Fires have been lifted in the following areas and may return home:
South of Pine Avenue in Potter Valley, west of the Mendocino/Lake County Line.
1. Mendocino County north of Pine Road, south of the Eel River, West of the Mendocino/Lake
County Line and east of 10500 block of Mid Mountain Road remains under a Mandatory
Evacuation Order.
2. Mendocino County north of Mid Mountain Road, south of the Eel River, west of the 10500
Block of Mid Mountain Road, and east of East Potters Valley/Eel River Roads remains in a
Evacuation Warning.
3. The Bureau of Land Management closure of the Cow Mountain Recreation Area remains in

Earlier Chapters:



  • Whoohoo- 78% containment of even one branch is worth celebrating. Well done firefighters. Please no winds to undo their good work.

  • If its two seperate fire(S) with two different origins, how can it be the largest fire in California history? Which one is the largest in Cal history, Ranch fire or River fire?

    • A complex is considered one fire especially since these are so close together their heat signatures look like one to some people.

      • Riiight, the fact that a “complex” is considered one fire (to some people) is obvious here. But they are literally and factually two separate fires, right? Have they grown together? Are the Carr, Ranch, and River fires part of the “Northern California fire complex”? Why not? Are the one fire? Why not?

        I understand the utility of referring to them as a complex, from a firefighting perspective, but utility does not trump reality. If I have a fireplace in my living room and a fireplace in my family room, is my complex of fires actually one fire? I suppose if I started one using flame from the other, I could see an argument, albeit a weak one. Did embers from one fire start the other?

        The heat signatures clearly show a separation. Some people need their eyes checked.

      • Why is it considered one fire is there is a clear separation and they do not share an origin? Utility does not trump truth.

      • Why is it consider one fire? They have separate origins and are very clear separate, even on the heat map.

  • North Coast Opportunities, Inc., the Community Action Agency for both Lake and Mendocino Counties, has once again opened up their Wildfire Relief Fund to support fire survivors of the Mendocino Complex. More info on their website, http://www.ncoinc.org

  • We have a small fire started at the dyerville loop/Whitlow rd. Intersection.

  • I’d like to clarify and further the discussion from yesterday’s comment section on how to manage forests to make them more fire resistant. As both the deadliest fires (last Octobers firestorms) and two largest fires in CA history have occurred in less than a year, it needs understanding. I have worked on forestry (especially reforestation) and water quality issues since the 70s.
    The first and most important thing to understand is that our western forests in no way compare to that which existed before timbering began. The original forests were comprised of trees that were hundreds (fir, pine etc) to thousands (redwood, juniper etc) of years old. These trees were tall and broad with thick bark and no branches close to the forest floor and little understory brush, so no ladder fuels, and able to survive forest fires. What exists now is a hodgepodge of 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation forests that are primarily young trees, 10 to 80 years old and growing too close together with brush and dead branches extending to ground level, and logging slash in the younger forests, all of which are ladder fuels that run the fire up into the trees, or kill them outright. This is why for many years prescribed burns weren’t utilized and forest fires were surpressed. They did too much damage to trees that were meant to survive. Even today with extensive site prep prescribed burns are hard to manage.
    We need to get our forests back to a more natural state so we can re-introduce fire without impacting the trees. To do this we need to thin from below, which means taking out a substantial amount of the smaller trees and cutting and masticating brush, removing fuel loading so larger trees will survive a burn. This, however, means managing the forests for non-economic reasons and there lies the rub. There isn’t enough money budgeted to do this and taking out the sellable larger trees is often done instead to pay for costs of so called fuel reduction projects. This is not proper fuel reduction, but a continuation of a vicious cycle, along with clear cutting. Until we allow the forests to begin to take on old growth characteristics, we will continue to have mega fires. There are many other ways to build homes. Stone, stucco, blocks, berming in, packed earth, hempcrete, etc and we need to adopt these for future building. We could also go back to log homes which would utilize the smaller trees removed from thinning operations in the older forests. The important thing is to change how we do things today, the wood frame/sided house, relying on 2x4s and other cut lumber. Conditions require new ideas, new ways of doing things which the building industry refuses to do, once again for economic reasons.
    Unfortunately it may be too late. As each year is hotter than any before we have entered into a whole new paradigm. Without a drastic reversal of forest policies, managing the forests for health and fire resistance reasons and not economic ones, and a boat load of money budgeted to accomplish that goal, I see little hope. Current and future fires will continue to burn hot and reset the clock for these forests, killing everything and frying the soil, eventually converting large areas of forest to brush fields. Global warming and fire prone forests are a two headed monster that have created a crisis we desperately need to deal with. Unfortunately our government and industries have put off dealing with these issues for a long time, long before Trump became president, and now under his leadership we are going in the exact opposite direction we need to be going.
    This is a simplistic overview of current conditions. I could go into detail about things like the importance of carbon sequestration, keeping carbon on earth and not the atmosphere, another reason for letting forests grow to old age. Each tree is over 50% carbon, and as long as it remains alive that carbon stays here while the tree takes in ever more carbon as it grows. Or habitat issues. Or water quality. The importance of healthy older forests cannot be overstated and this needs to be discussed at the highest levels of governments and corporations. But it won’t be. Sad.

    • What a well thought out informative post. Sounds like you are very experienced in the field and thanks for sharing.

    • Excellent post, thank you.

    • meanwhile one of our local timber giants is working on convincing the State that thinning large trees within the creek zone is beneficial. its a no brainer why, its the only remaining trees worth cutting over the next 80 years.

    • Wow. Probably the most informative and pertinent piece I have ever read in our comment section. Thank you for your expertise.

    • Well said. It’s amazing the powers even put out forest fires in the winter instead of letting nature run its course

    • I think wildman should be appointed to the EPA.

    • HI, I’m new to this site but will be back!. I love your informative and concise comment and wonder if it can’t be put under another heading… “articles” or? for easy to find future reference?

    • This Is My Name

      I agree with everything you said except for masticating. There are some benefits to that process, but only, IMO, under certain circumstances. There is no reason not to bring in burn crews to burn the slash, aside from the issue of carbon sequestering…which can be partially mitigated by spraying down/spreading the coal-beds before complete combustion, leaving a nice layer of what is essentially biologically active charcoal on the surface (grasses/forest plants love to grow up through the charcoal.)

      Leaving the masticated material on the ground increases the fuel-load. The masticator itself is a heavy piece of machinery, one which is also not going to be accessible in much of the terrain that needs thinning/burning.

      I worked part one of a project where we, the thinning crew, intentionally did NOT burn as per our usual routine, but instead stacked the brush up to/around the bases of larger, healthy trees, with the intention of the brush being burned at a later date (when much of the nitrogen had already been released slowly) so as to further fireproof the trunks of the targeted trees. There were many factors involved on this project including consideration of waterways, etc…Unfortunately I was not a part of the second phase and have no idea how well/if the remainder of the project went/turned out.

      edit: And to address the “non-economic” management issue: The millions, verging on billions of dollars that are spent on FIGHTING the fires, year after year (season is no longer an applicable term, as the rains come later and later), could be better put to use by hiring local men and women to work towards PREVENTION. So not only would acres upon acres of land be treated, but jobs would be created. So if the State/Feds would get their heads out of their asses and not be so inclined to support the Fire-Industrial-Complex after the fact, but support local (county/regional/state) PREEMPTIVE and PREVENTIVE/RESTORATIVE measures, the impact of the inevitable wildfires, whether caused by lightning or human-involved actions, everyone in the state would be far better off. I’ll end this rant before delving into the topic of the negative environmental/health aspects of the retardants used while fighting.

      • good comment This is my name… the regulations on private land owners are insane up here and are causing all types of problems

    • Spot on, Wildman.

    • Thank you for this insightful post. Another issue face the health of the forests, open meadows, chaparral and mixed oak woodlands is the over pumping of the groundwater and water diversions. Drought conditions have dried the surface soils for many years now, and I’m sure many of you are aware of how difficult it is to re hydrate soil after it is dry. Add to that multiple wells pumping groundwater that compounds the problem. All of the vegetation is over dry, the soil is over dry, there is no residual moisture to slow a spark or fire. Just as there is a need for carbon sequestration, there is an equal if not greater need to have groundwater sequestration. The net loss of water leaving the watersheds is in the trillions of gallons, never to be replaced. Water leaving the watershed for one bottle of wine, one pound of bud, when you multiply by tens of thousands of bottles of wine and tons of bud, impacts the health of the entire ecosystem. As well as forest management there needs to be agricultural practices that work with the environment. Dry farming, planting appropriate crops for the location, mulching, are just a few ways to save water. California is a dry Mediterranean climate that is being managed like a wetter northern climate, to the detriment of us all. It will take a major shift in land and water management strategies to make this a healthier, safer environment for our communities, but it would be foolish of us to ignore what is happening and accept catastrophic wildfires as the new normal without making any effort to change our ways.

    • Apparently sudden oak death is making old growth less fire resistant even in the redwoods. https://nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp?cntn_id=128879

    • very GOOD; thank you

    • Thank you wildman for saying this!
      NPR interviews people who blame the fire suppression in the past for these fires. And “someone” else is tweeting and blaming environmentalists for these fires.
      You speak the truth. But isn’t the cost of fighting these fires higher than sound management would be? Firefighting is now a big industry. And our summers get more and more frightening.

    • Yes! Good one. So, I have an idea. You mention the lack of funding to correct the problems. Perhaps we could ask to have a section, say a few acres, or even a few hundred, like the ones you described, second and third growth, on USFS land. Find an area that you could use to demonstrate the taking of smaller younger trees for log homes, and allowing the big ones to take in more carbon.
      Then, contact some log home builders, who are willing to come into this area and see if this thinning/carbon capture thing would work. I bet it would. I bet if we got the right builder people, it could work.
      Big firs take up hundreds of gallons of water a day. This denies the surrounding trees and shrubs water, making them weak, dry, and ready to burn. If all the small trees were removed, the remaining plants and trees would have more water, helping them stay healthy and moist.
      The biggest enemy of this project would be Denise Boggs, who runs the Center for Biological Diversity. They have stopped all logging on USFS, and threatened to sue at every harvest plan. She would not want this to happen, as sound as your science is, she will resist. If we could stop her from interfering, and be able to work with the USFS, I bet this would work. Yours is the most correct I have seen, and I agree with it. In fact, I am going to call some builders and see what is out there. Perhaps as part of the harvest plan, the local schools get 12.5%, and the roads get 12.5%. That’s how it was in Trinity county, until Red Emerson and Charles Hurowitz won in court, and all logging stopped on USFS land, doubling the price of timber on private land, which they owned. Duh.

      • Denise Boggs runs the Conservation Congress, not the Center for Biological Diversity. Learn about their position on things here:
        Some of this is laudable, of course. But in practice them and EPIC litigate just about any project that involves a chainsaw on USDA managed land, no matter how good it is. They act like no one should be in the forest. Denise has a hard-on for the Shasta- Trinity for some reason. She lives in Idaho. Probably in a wood frame house. Sure, some projects suck, and mismanagement happens in the name of getting the cut out, but their scorched earth policy (pun intended) against all projects is causing more harm than good in my opinion. And the opinion of many professionals who actually care deeply about the ecosystem they live in, these are rational folks who have skin in the game here. Excellent comments here.

        • This Is My Name

          Driving/hiking through the LBL recreational area in South-west Kentucky a few years back, my buddy wanted to take me to a recently executed “restoration thinning” project-site. It was disgusting. It basically looked like Southern Oregon does from the highways. Clear cutting of what was or was on the verge of old-growth Ash/Tulip Poplar/Oak. 2’+ diameter trees cut left and right (on the east coast, it takes a LONG time for most hardwoods to get up to 2’+ DBH.) Very little brush burnt or chipped/processed. Rootwads sticking up out of the ground (which means either they knocked trees over with other trees or had heavy machinery ripping them out.)

          And all this is on State land, and while I’m not sure if it is technically federal or not, the FEDS were involved (USDA, et. al) with the planning. It doesn’t even look like the timber was harvested. Everything was left in place, with minimal cutting of the canopy branches once felled, logs suspended off the ground in many situations. To top it off, they had a “completed” sign with a brief description of the project!

          Truly disgusting, and likely to reoccur.

        • Denise Boggs, is responsible for the millions of animals she has killed by her nazi policies. She should be sued and jailed. There is no reason someone in another state should hold us under a firestorm threat because she worships the earth. Fuck her, and her bitch Suckling, another econazi. Perhaps we could employ the Maxine Waters style of resistance, and push them around, let them know they are not welcome, go to Venezuela, see how your socialist bull shit really is. All private people can begin logging in their own land. I have, I have cut hundreds of trees around my place, making it safer. You can get a 300ft exemption around your home, clear cut it. With the exemption, you can sell your logs and be fire safe. Or, since we do not need permission to log our land, as long the logs stay on your property. Most portable mills will come and mill your logs, and then sell the lumber on the black market, and no taxes paid either. Lets take our lands back from these punks, who hurt people, who they think do not belong here, and the land, and animals. Cut baby cut!

          • This Is My Name

            We’re getting a little too political now, but fyi, Maxine Waters is or is about to be in some hot water for funneling over $750,000 in campaign funds to her daughter over the last 14 years. Don’t forget that most politicians are corrupt and on the take or shelling out the take. It’s not about D. vs. R. vs I. vs. G vs. L, it’s US, the citizens, vs. THEM, the politicians, the MIC, and the banks/IMF.

    • look for stuber down below in comments

    • Hey Wildman how bout we use all those tax dollars from logging to selling 2x4s to learn to use new technologies and techniques on fighting fires, problem solved in less than two paragraphs, quit fighting fires like we did in 1960 , let’s cut the bull and think ahead for once,we got drones, we got satellites, we got plenty of heat sensing equipment, let’s do this , how many people work for Calfire? Figure it out, and be done with wildfires, SIMPLE, no studies needed , no more bullshit about how forests burn , just need quicker response, the technology has been here.

    • Wildman.
      Look me up at: TreeCultureSanDiego.com

  • “The largest firefighting plane in the world is sitting in an airport in Colorado while the state burns. The forest service is not using it even though it carries twice as much as the next biggest plane. When asked why they were not using it, they answered “paperwork”. They are worse than useless.” June 13

    Wildfire Today
    Published on Aug 5, 2018
    A flyover virtual tour of the Ferguson Fire burning in and near Yosemite National Park in California. The red line was the perimeter at 12:15 a.m. PDT August 5, 2018. The red shaded areas were intense heat at that time. The blue line is the location of the huge Rim Fire of 2013. The green line is the boundary between Yosemite National Park and U.S. Forest Service managed land. Recorded by WildfireToday.com August 5, 2018.

    Wondering how Humboldt’s alleged U.S., or State forests are divied-up between the power drunk? Will she burn for days and days while California state’s Global Supertanker Boeing 747 sets in McClelland AFB because the State of CA -CalFire- can’t/won’t get it up? Because the U.S. INC., Forest Service Department claims, without evidence, the forest throne in California state? On a scale of one to two, how dumb are we?


  • Why doesn’t the US have a “National Firefighting Air Force” with 200 air tankers? This would be about $2B to purchase, a drop in the bucket for the US government… each tanker can drop a 1-mile stretch of retardant in just a few minutes, could be anywhere in the US in about 3 hours… and having a massive firefighting air force would prevent hundreds of billions of dollars of damage from forest and brush fires per year, plus save countless structures, lives, animals, wildlife, trees, etc.

    Please, everyone tweet something out about this… we need it… if we can increase defense spending by $700B this year alone, we can certainly make this part of that budget.

    • Because it will cost $500 billion to just service the debt this year. Expanding Empire is expensive business.

      • This Is My Name

        Ahem, up until recently it’s called “nation-building” not empirical expansionism. Although there was an article recently how Senators/Representatives were shying away from “nation-building” and pondering over a new term to fleece the already fleeced Television Men and Women (that middle part of Television Man always had me dancing in my car-seat; good times!)

      • And what is the cost of fighting california wildfires this year? Get the planes ,fire problem solved, not gonna happen, make up an excuse why not because Timmy over here needs his fire fighter supply company, cause this markets hot ,lol, just more government and nepotism at it’s finest

        • The cost will be less than $500 billion… by a long shot.

          The resources are there to fight fires and, more importantly, mitigate the damage with fuel reductions, but the fire fighting business is big and resistant to changes in the revenue generating model.

    • Well put, Bethel.

    • Because Eastern State would prefer sea walls, the Mid Westerners would prefer flood control infrastructure, cities prefer crime prevention.

      It is irritating that the seats of power in this country are mostly eastern, urban and self involved, including the corporate media centers, but it is the way of things that the populous East has the votes while the West has the government lands. Heck, even the western urban areas are riddled with imported people who rejected the set ways of the east, moved physically to the west but brought the same authorianism that created their rejection with them.

      California could fund this idea all by itself if it would prioritize the safety of its populace over its other wants. But then government always prefers “saving money”, by which the mean wanting to spend money elsewhere, by regulating the dang humans who dare to be a problem. Getting safety come with restrictions on freedom of action. You make your choice off the menu and no substitutions allowed.

      If Sacramento burns, you might get a change in attitude but if you’ve been to Sacramento, you know that is unlikely.

  • Here we go again: Mid Mountain (Potter Valley) back under evacuation orders. Be safe, everyone.

  • Thanks Kyme for reporting on and providing
    photographs of
    “what nobody else will.”

  • It’s an AP article, but just for shts and giggles, let’s say the 944 DID take flight last Friday and did unload on the Carr fire.

    Too little, too late.

    This indicates the corporation has gone rogue – has become an ultra vires corporation which makes the assets/wealth of the Board of Directors vulnerable, can be confiscated and redirected away from the dept of injustice.

    Limiting the amount the tanks can hold because of CONTRACT $$$ COMPETITION? When cos. go down that dark road, causing irreparable harm – it proves they are the EVIL EMPIRE, the DARK SIDE and MUST BE SHUT DOWN – as one cannot put a corporation in jail.

    • It is not private individuals fighting these fires. It is government. That they don’t do everything perfectly (as if “perfectly” could ever be a unanimous choice anyway) is sad but it would be a lot more sad if those individuals who owned the private resources to fight fires were busy protecting themselves and spent no effort on saving the rest of us. This is the epitome of why governments are always created, whether for good or not so good.

      • However, the plans for America rests on an experiment of self-governing individuals. Let us not cover government defined; Govern=control. Mente=mind in Latin. It’s foolish and dangerous to hold an overall belief that the created has more power than the creators.

  • Wildmtnhoney @ 1:19 am,

    You say, “Yes, it was used here at the Carr fire.” You boots-on-the-ground witnessed the 747 candy apple red, and white, Global Supertanker with the numbers 944 on the tail? I’ve heard it takes around 10 minutes for it to disperse atonimized (sp?) 19,200 gals.,/4 full tanks, a mile and a half long. Did it return after a 30 min. refill and an added 5 mins. @600 mph turn around time to get back from Sacramento area?

    Did it return? How many trips? Were the tanks full to capacity?

    ~not a scared to dance with the devil.

  • This Is My Name @5:49 am,

    The Matrix does not define you.

    The US is not a landmass, its a corporation.

    Nation is not a landmass, it’s you and me us/we. Cherokee nation, Cherokee tribe. Vax-a-nation.

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