The Mendocino Complex Slows it’s Rampage But Is Still Growing

Smoke plume towering above the Mendocino Complex yesterday evening.

Smoke plume towering above the Mendocino Complex seen yesterday evening from a plane. [Photo from a reader, Gail, and her granddaughter.]

The Mendocino Complex that has spread across parts of four counties since it started on July 27 continues to move northward but its progress has slowed somewhat. In the last 24 hours, the fire added “only” about 2000 more acres to reach 380,690. It is now 77% contained.

According to the Northern California Geographic Coordination Center, “There is still 59 miles of uncontrolled fireline threatening multiple communities. Threat to Lake Pillsbury Basin, FAA communication link control tower and powerline infrastructure.”

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

The Plan:

The 14th Brigade Engineer Battalion unloads hose in preparing to put in hose lays and pumps along the fireline by Eel River west of Lake Pillsbury on Aug. 15.

“The 14th Brigade Engineer Battalion unloads hose while preparing to put in hose lays and pumps along the fireline by Eel River west of Lake Pillsbury on Aug. 15.” [Photo and caption from InciWeb]

The Ranch Fire again moved to the north yesterday but containment lines around structures to the south of Lake Pillsbury are holding strong. A look at the operations map below shows that a large line created by dozers to the north of the fire is in place and ready to halt the flames.
According to Cal Fire,

Overnight, the fire grew slightly on the northern portion of the Ranch fire with some active areas experiencing creeping and backing fire behavior. Crews continue to make progress in the northern portion of the fire with mop up and construction of containment lines.

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

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

The Weather:  

A plume of smoke rises from Ranch Fire’s northern edge as seen from the Mount Konocti cam. [Image from here]

The smoke is lighter this morning over Clear Lake. [Image from here]

Firefighters are expecting temperatures in the high nineties and even the triple digits today. Smoke, of course, is expected, too.

The Roads:

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


  • Mendocino Complex Operations Map –to see details either zoom or click on the map and download a pdf.
    Mendocino Complex Operations Map August 18

    Mendocino Complex Operations Map August 18

    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 August 17

    Mendocino Complex Heat Map August 18


Earlier Chapters:



  • Thanks for your great coverage including today’s photo of the smoke from these fires.

  • Thank you Kim for the excellent fire incident reporting. So helpful to have a reliable news source with accurate information daily.

  • The Dozer lines on the North side probably won’t hold unless crews backfire from them and other crews hold the firing operations from slopping or spotting over the line there..

    • if they making dozer lines like they did for the fork fire years ago , the lines will be 200-300 feet wide .
      thats what finally stopped the fork fire .
      but , cant get the dozers on all those hillsides cause too steep . can still side hill it like making a road and hand crews do the rest

  • RHBB’s reporting of this fire is sure appreciated. My land is on the Southwest end and I finally got home yesterday after 17 days of mandatory evacuation. I didn’t realize how long I would be gone.
    I turned off the propane, shut the windows, stuffed my cat in his carrier, grabbed my E-vac Bag of papers and photos, and a change of clothes; then loaded up my ATV and was OUT of there. The road closed behind me. and now I’m dreading opening my refrigerator.
    I had NO time to empty it and take the contents out to the crows. I can just imagine the gross chore in front of me, but I’m so tickled to be home that it almost doesn’t matter. But I’m certainly too happy to open its door just yet.
    KMUD and RHBB kept me connected and I am so grateful for both. After 50 years in my humble hovel, I was reluctant to leave it but reconciled to losing it. My mantra was “Things are just things…”
    Thank you from the depths of my smokey old soul for your comprehensive reporting! And now, onward to the refrigerator…
    Stay safe and Blessings Be, Anon

    • Glad you are safely home. Get that nasty chore out of the way, and then relax.💚

    • Wow. Thank goodness.

    • Anon Forrest, I have always valued your insight and history. Your perspective from a long balanced view. Non judgmental but called it as you saw it way of communicating. Your Elder Wisdom being passed down. I am so happy to know after 17 days you have, the one gross job, but your humble hovel is still intact. May you sleep well .

  • Thanks for the great coverage Kym, you must be exhausted. Great air view photo too.

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