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Posts Tagged ‘Wildfires’

MendoCoastCurrent, July 19, 2008, 6:30 pm

Date/Time Started: June 20, 2008, 6:00 pm

Administrative Unit: CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit

County: Mendocino County

Location: Throughout Mendocino County

Acres Burned: 54,817 acres

Containment: 100% contained

Structures Threatened: No current threat

Structures Destroyed: 1 residence and 1 outbuilding

Injuries: 47

Evacuations: All Evacuations have been lifted

Road Closures: All roads are currently open

Evacuation Centers: All Evacuation Centers are on standby

Cause: Lightning

Cooperating Agencies: CAL FIRE, Marin County, CDCR, CHP, CCC, Mendocino County Sheriff, all local government FPD in Mendocino County, State OES, BLM, BIA, NWS, numerous county fire departments, National Guard, private timber companies and consulting foresters/representatives.

Total Fire Personnel: 1,922 (917 CAL FIRE)

Engines: 102

Fire crews: 60

Helicopters 8

Dozers: 12

Water tenders: 28

Costs to date: $48.5 million

Conditions: The Mendocino Lightning Complex consisted of 129 fires that burned in Mendocino County.

Significant mop-up and patrol operations continue on all fires throughout the incident.

Favorable weather conditions are expected to continue over the next several days.

Containment of all fires on the Mendocino Lightning Complex has been achieved.

Residents are reminded that smoke and flare-ups may continue within control lines.

Firefighters will continue to extinguish any remaining hot spots and will be patrolling all fires for several weeks.

Fixed wing and rotary aircraft will continue to operate in fire areas to ensure complete extinguishment of all fires.

The Governor has declared Mendocino County a State of Emergency due to redwood timber loss and significant threat to life, residential, commercial and resource loss.

CAL FIRE Incident Command Team #4 is assigned to this incident.

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CHRIS BOWMAN, Sacramento Bee, July 18, 2008

If every cloud has a silver lining, what good can be said of the big brown dome of wildfire smoke that capped much of California these past few weeks? Plenty, say ecologists who study the effects of fire on the landscape.

While the siege of lightning-sparked fires continues to inundate parts of Northern California with hazardously smoky air, the blazes also consumed more than 1,400 square miles of dangerously overgrown forests and oak woodlands – the size of nearly three Lake Tahoe basins – leaving that much less fuel for future, more catastrophic and expensive fires.

Federal land managers in California are retooling their firefighting strategies to capture more of the public safety, economic and environmental benefits of letting wildfires run their natural course without overwhelming the public with smoke and destroying homes.

That’s a tough balancing act in the nation’s most populous state, which already endures the smoggiest and grittiest air in the country. But in a select few remote national forests, parks and wilderness areas, ecologists say, the federal government has been weaning itself off Smokey Bear’s admonitions with measurable success.

“We didn’t have any injuries. We didn’t burn any houses, and we cleared out 15,000 acres of dense vegetation that hasn’t seen fire in decades and, in some places, a century – and that’s a good thing,” said Brent Skaggs, a U.S. Forest Service fire management officer who let nature take its course under close watch – and tricky weather – in the Clover fire that was recently contained in the Sequoia and Inyo national forests.

Federal officials call it “reintroducing fire” to the landscape. Historically, wildfire smoke filled the Central Valley and draped the mountains flanking much of the summer and fall. Extinguishing the fires became a federal mandate with the creation of the Forest Service at the turn of the 20th century.

The firefighting made it safer to extend development into the woods, but also made for more dangerous forests with the buildup of deadwood that would have otherwise gone up in smoke. As a result, modern blazes recur more frequently. And they often do more damage than good to the flora and fauna – humans included.

Backing off from total fire suppression and letting fire run more of its natural course effectively inoculates the forest from more virulent fires that denude large swaths of the landscape, which in turn invites mudslides.

“We could have suppressed it and had the thing out earlier, Skaggs said of the Clover fire, which was discovered May 31. “But by doing that we would be just prolonging the inevitable. We had an opportunity to manage fire or have it manage us.”

The practice, of course, could backfire. A sudden shift in wind direction or unexpected gusts in the unnaturally dense forests could turn such experiments into disasters – plastering communities with smoke or, worse, burning them down.

Fire managers have reduced the chances of a hands-off fire running awry by limiting the practice to the remote backcountry of the central Sierra and the desolate northern corners of the state.

Namely: Portions of the Mendocino, Klamath and Shasta-Trinity national forests that encompassed large wilderness areas; Lassen National Park and the neighboring Lava Beds National Monument and Modoc National Forest; and Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings Canyon national parks and surrounding Stanislaus and Sequoia national forests. Managers of these forests have plans in place for using the let-it-burn approach, known in firefighting parlance as “wildfire use” or “appropriate management response.”

Even then, the practice cannot be used without a series of approvals up the Forest Service line of command, from the ranger on the ground to the brass at headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Beyond that, forest officials in many cases need the permission of local air pollution control districts.

The Forest Service had a tough time getting the cooperation of pollution regulators when it began “wildfire use” about five years ago, said Trent Procter, air quality program manager for the agency’s Pacific Southwest region, which includes California.

Working against the agency were earlier “prescribed burns” – deliberately set to thin out fire-prone thickets – that went awry at Lake Tahoe and the Stanislaus forest.

Relations have since improved. “They realize that in the absence of (natural burns), we’ll end up with more catastrophic wildfires like those we have now, where the smoke will be worse, Procter said.

For its part, the Forest Service recently added at least a dozen portable air pollution samplers to the state Air Resources Board’s network for monitoring the smoke levels, which reached the hazardous level Thursday in the Trinity County seat of Weaverville, said Jeff Cook, an emergency response coordinator with the air board.

Starting today, the federal agency will be providing “smoke forecasts” enabling the air board to give the public more advance warning of unhealthful conditions.

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MendoCoastCurrent, July 18, 2008, 7:00 am

Date/Time Started: June 20, 2008, 6:00 pm

Administrative Unit: CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit

County: Mendocino County

Location: Throughout Mendocino County

Acres Burned: 53,300

Containment: 100% contained

Structures Threatened: No current threat

Structures Destroyed: 1 residence and 1 outbuilding

Injuries: 46

Fatalities: 1

Evacuations: All evacuations have been lifted

Road Closures: All roads are currently open

Evacuation Centers: All Evacuation Centers have been placed on standby

Cause: Lightning Cooperating Agencies: CAL FIRE, Marin County, CDCR, CHP, CCC, Mendocino County Sheriff, all local government FPD in Mendocino County, State OES, BLM, BIA, NWS, numerous county fire departments, National Guard, private timber companies and consulting foresters/representatives.

Total Fire Personnel: 2,088 (1,002 CAL FIRE)

Engines: 119

Fire crews: 63

Helicopters 10

Dozers: 18

Water tenders: 45

Costs to date: $45.8 million

Conditions: The Mendocino Lightning Complex consisted of 129 fires that burned in Mendocino County.

Significant mop-up and patrol operations continue on all fires throughout the incident. Favorable weather conditions are expected to continue over the next several days. Containment of all fires on the Mendocino Lightning Complex has been achieved.

The Governor has declared Mendocino County a State of Emergency due to redwood timber loss and significant threat to life, residential, commercial and resource loss.

CAL FIRE Incident Command Team #4 is assigned to this incident.

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MendoCoastCurrent, July 17, 2008, 6:30 am

Date/Time Started: June 20, 2008, 6 pm

Administrative Unit: CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit

County: Mendocino County

Location: Throughout Mendocino County

Acres Burned: 53,300

Containment: 95% contained

Expected Containment: July 17, 2008

Structures Threatened: No current threat

Structures Destroyed: 1 Residence and 1 Outbuilding

Injuries: 45

Fatalities: 1

Evacuations: All evacuations have been lifted

Road Closures: All roads are currently open

Evacuation Centers: All Evacuation Centers have been placed on standby

Cause: Lightning

Cooperating Agencies: CAL FIRE, Marin County, CDCR, CHP, CCC, Mendocino County Sheriff, all local government FPD in Mendocino County, State OES, BLM, BIA, NWS, numerous county fire departments, National Guard, private timber companies and consulting foresters/representatives.

Total Fire Personnel: 2,290 (1,033 CAL FIRE)

Engines: 141

Fire crews: 71

Helicopters 10

Dozers: 21

Water tenders: 52

Costs to date: $43.5 million

Conditions: The Mendocino Lightning Complex currently consists of 129 fires burning in Mendocino County. There are currently two active fires.

Significant mop-up and patrol operations continue on all fires throughout the incident. Favorable weather conditions continue to be predicted over the next several days. Firefighters are taking advantage of the favorable weather conditions and are making substantial progress on containment. Residents are reminded that they may see increased fire and smoke in the areas of planned firing operations.

The Governor has declared Mendocino County a State of Emergency due to redwood timber loss and significant threat to life, residential, commercial and resource loss.

CAL FIRE Incident Command Team #4 is assigned to this incident.

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MendoCoastCurrent, July 15, 2008, 10:30 am

Date/Time Started: June 20, 2008, 6:00 pm

Administrative Unit: CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit

County: Mendocino County

Location: Throughout Mendocino County

Acres Burned: 53,300

Containment: 90% contained

Expected Containment: July 16, 2008

Structures Threatened: No current threat

Structures Destroyed: 2 residences

Injuries: 43

Fatalities: 1

Evacuations: All Evacuations have been lifted

At 10 a.m. on 7/13 the evacuation warning for the community of Rockport was lifted.

At 6 p.m. on 7/14 the following evacuation warnings have been lifted:

  • Mountain View Road from Mile Post 15 to Mile Post 20
  • De Haven Creek and Howard Creek drainage, North of Westport

Road Closures: All roads are currently open

Evacuation Centers: All Evacuation Centers are on standby

Cause: Lightning

Cooperating Agencies: CAL FIRE, Marin County, CDCR, CHP, CCC, Mendocino County Sheriff, all local government FPD in Mendocino County, State OES, BLM, BIA, NWS, numerous county fire departments, National Guard, private timber companies and consulting foresters/representatives.

Total Fire Personnel: 2,173 (1,017 CAL FIRE)

Engines: 183

Fire crews: 58

Helicopters 15

Dozers: 25

Water tenders: 71

Costs to date: $39.1 million

Conditions: The Mendocino Lightning Complex currently consists of 130 fires burning in Mendocino County. There are currently 6 active fires.

Favorable weather conditions continue to be predicted over the next several days. Firefighters are taking advantage of the favorable weather conditions and are making good progress on containment. Residents are reminded that they may see increased fire and smoke in the areas of planned firing operations.

The Governor has declared Mendocino County a State of Emergency due to redwood timber loss and significant threat to life, residential, commercial and resource loss.

CAL FIRE Incident Command Team #4 is assigned to this incident.

Additional Notes: The Mendocino Lightning Complex has consumed 53,300 acres and is 90% contained. There are 6 active fires and 123 contained fires.

Significant mop-up and patrol operations continue on all fires throughout the incident. Residents are reminded that they may see increased fire and smoke in the areas of planned firing operations.

California Office of Emergency Services (OES) mutual aid engines are covering some Mendocino Unit fire stations. The MEU Lightning Complex is providing assistance to the Mill Fire/ Soda Complex in the Mendocino National Forest.

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MendoCoastCurrent: July 14, 2008, 6:00 pm

Date/Time Started: June 20, 2008, 6:00 pm

Administrative Unit: CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit

County: Mendocino County

Location: Throughout Mendocino County

Acres Burned: 53,300

Containment: 85% contained

Expected Containment: July 16, 2008

Structures Threatened: 30 residences

Structures Destroyed: 2 residences

Injuries: 43

Fatalities: 1

Evacuations: All evacuations have been lifted

At 6 p.m. on 7/14 the following evacuation warnings have been lifted:

  • Mountain View Road from Mile Post 15 to Mile Post 20
  • De Haven Creek and Howard Creek drainage, North of Westport

Road Closures: All roads are currently open

Evacuation Centers: All Evac Centers still on standby

Cause: Lightning

Cooperating Agencies: CAL FIRE, Marin County, CDCR, CHP, CCC, Mendocino County Sheriff, all local government FPD in Mendocino County, State OES, BLM, BIA, NWS, numerous county fire departments, National Guard, private timber companies and consulting foresters/representatives.

Total Fire Personnel: 2,173 (1,017 CAL FIRE)

Engines: 183

Fire crews: 58

Helicopters 15

Dozers: 25

Water tenders: 70

Costs to date: $37.9 million

Conditions: The Mendocino Lightning Complex has consumed 53,300 acres and is 85% contained. It currently consists of 130 fires burning in Mendocino County. There are now seven active fires.

Favorable weather conditions continue to be predicted over the next several days. Firefighters are taking advantage of the favorable weather conditions and are making good progress on containment. Residents are reminded that they may see increased fire and smoke in the areas of planned firing operations.

The Governor has declared Mendocino County a State of Emergency due to redwood timber loss and significant threat to life, residential, commercial and resource loss.

CAL FIRE Incident Command Team #4 is assigned to this incident.

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MendoCoastCurrent, July 11, 2008, 7:00 am

Date/Time Started: June 20, 2008, 6:00 pm

Administrative Unit: CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit

County: Mendocino County

Location: Throughout Mendocino County

Acres Burned: 52,290

Containment: 65% contained

Structures Threatened: 335 residences

Structures Destroyed: 2 residences

Injuries: 38 minor injuries

Fatalities: 1

Evacuation “Warnings” remain in effect for:

  • Community of Rockport
  • Red Mountain Road – From the intersection of Red Mountain Road and Bell Springs Road to 13600
  • Red Mountain Road and Bell Springs Road – From Hwy 101 to the intersection of Red Mountain Road and Bell Springs Road.
  • The Community of Cummings
  • Town of Leggett
  • De Haven Creek and Howard Creek drainage, North of Westport.

Evacuation Centers: All Evac Centers have been placed on standby

Cause: Lightning

Cooperating Agencies: CAL FIRE, Marin County, CDCR, CHP, CCC, Mendocino County Sherif, all local government FPD in Mendocino County, State OES, BLM, BIA, NWS, numerous county fire departments, National Guard, private timber companies and consulting foresters/representatives.

Total Fire Personnel: 2.092 (1,063 CAL FIRE)

Engines: 165

Fire crews: 57

Helicopters 14

Dozers: 26

Water tenders: 66

Costs to date: $30.6 million

Conditions: The Mendocino Lightning Complex currently consists of 127 fires burning in Mendocino County. There are currently 38 active fires.

The Governor has declared Mendocino County a State of Emergency due to redwood timber loss and significant threat to life, residential, commercial and resource loss.

Road Closures: Mountain View Road – Due to a firing operation, Mountain View Road between Signal Ridge and Mile Post 14.04 is closed to all traffic except Fire Department, Law Enforcement and critical incident resources (i.e. utility companies, CalTrans, County Roads, etc) until further notice. No new Evacuation Warnings are associated with this road closure.

CAL FIRE Incident Command Team #4 is assigned to this incident.

Current Summary: The Mendocino Lightning Complex has consumed 52,200 acres and is 65% contained. There are 38 active and 89 contained fires.

Continued threats remain a possibility to communities and critical infrastructure. Active burning is still present on several fires.

The planned firing operations of July 9th on the Sugarloaf fire were successful. Additional firing operations may be scheduled in that area. Planned firing operations have been successful and will continue to occur as needed to reduce the fuel between the fire and control lines. Residents are reminded that they may see increased fire and smoke in the areas of planned firing operations.

A “Red Flag Warning” has been extended through Friday evening at 10 p.m. for hot dry weather leading to extreme fire behavior conditions.

Additional evacuation “Warnings” and/ or “Orders” may be issued.

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