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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.

Read Full Post »

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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BEN BROWN, The Daily Journal, July 9, 2008

Among the 18 aircraft currently being used to fight fires in Mendocino County are two Blackhawk helicopters on loan from the military.

Cal Fire spokeswoman Tracy Boudreaux said the two helicopters have been outfitted with buckets and are being used like any other helitack helicopter for water drops and spotting on the 37 fires still burning in the county.

Boudreaux said each helicopter flies with a Cal Fire captain on board for operations and safety.

The two helicopters have been spray painted fluorescent pink on the body and rotors and had operations numbers painted on their tails. Boudreaux said the paint is for visibility.

“Normally they need to be invisible, but for this mission they need to be highly visible,” she said.

The Blackhawks are among 15 helicopters fighting fires throughout the county. Boudreaux said helicopters and other aircraft are important to wildland fire fighting because they can give firefighters a better idea of where the fire is and how it is moving as well as making it possible to deliver water and fire retardant to places too rough for firefighters to reach.

“We need all the helicopters we can get,” she said.

Each helicopter is only allowed to fly eight hours a day, and Boudreaux said some need to be held in reserve in case a fire jumps a containment line and starts heading toward homes.

Aircraft have been performing a variety of jobs since the Mendocino Lightning Complex Fire began June 20, including dropping water and retardant, spotting and mapping fire perimeters.

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MendoCoastCurrent, July 9, 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: 51,200

Containment: 60% contained

Structures Threatened: 335 residences

Structures Destroyed: 2 residences

Injuries: 34 minor injuries

Fatalities: 1

Evacuation Centers: All Evacuation Centers have been placed on standby

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. 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.

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: 1,744 (1,061 CAL FIRE)

Engines: 156

Fire crews: 40

Helicopters 15

Dozers: 35

Water tenders: 63

Costs to date: $25.1 million

Conditions:

The Mendocino Lightning Complex currently consists of 127 fires burning in Mendocino County. There are currently 37 active fires.

Remaining fires continue to slowly increase in size. Continued threats remain a possibility to communities and critical infrastructure. Firefighting resources continue to arrive daily and military resources are
expected to arrive in the next few days.

Hot and dry weather conditions are expected to persist through tonight, creating the potential for increased fire behavior.

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: None at this time.

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

Additional Notes: The Mendocino Lightning Complex has burned approximately 51,200 acres and is 60% contained. Progress is being made on the various fires throughout the County; there are currently 37 active fires and 90 contained fires. Remaining fires continue to slowly increase in size. Continued threats remain a possibility to communities and critical infrastructure. Hot and dry weather conditions are expected to persist through the week, creating the potential for increased fire behavior. Additional Evacuation “Warnings” and/ or “Orders” may be issued. Planned firing operations have been successful and will continue to occur as needed. Residents are reminded that they may see increased fire and smoke in the areas of planned firing operations.

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PAUL PAYNE, The Press Democrat, July 8, 2008

An army of firefighters in Mendocino County today continued their almost 3-week-old battle and braced for expected extreme temperatures.

“Our biggest concern now is the heat,” said Frank Kemper, a Cal Fire spokesman.

Temperatures in the Ukiah Valley are projected to reach 113 degrees, part of a heat wave sweeping through much of California today.

Many of the 1,686 firefighters spread around Mendocino County are from out of state, including Alaska, and aren’t used to working in this kind of heat, Kemper said.

Firefighters starting out the day shift have been warned to move more slowly and be aware of the double possibilities of dehydration and heat exhaustion — always a problem, but more so on days like this.

“It’s like when you cut the grass on a hot day. You don’t push the mower that fast,” said Steve Mairo, a Cal Fire spokesman.

As of this morning, the county’s series of fires were 60% contained. Of the original 127 fires, 39 remained active.

The county has lost 49,880 acres and two buildings. An Anderson Valley firefighter died from a possible heart attack after becoming short of breath while laying water hoses on a fire.

So far the cost of the huge efforts has cost an estimated $24.5 million.

Some of the larger ongoing fires include Red Mountain, near Leggett. That has burned 7,614 acres as of Tuesday morning.

The Sugarloaf fire, west of Boonville, is up to 5,416 acres.

And the series of Orr fires, near Orr Springs Road, west of Ukiah, are up to 3,715 acres.

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Bay City News Service, July 7, 2008

More than 200 California National Guard Soldiers from Operation Lightning Strike were deployed to Mendocino County to assist firefighting efforts on Monday morning, July 7, 2008.

The soldiers completed a four-day firefighter training course which mimics Cal Fire’s basic firefighter training course for new recruits.

This is the first time since 1977 that the California National Guard has been called on to join ground-based fire crews, according to the National Guard.

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MendoCoastCurrent, July 7, 2008, 7 am

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

Administrative Unit: CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit

County: Mendocino County

Location: Throughout Mendocino County

Acres Burned: 46,800

Containment: 45% contained

Structures Threatened: 335 residences

Structures Destroyed: 2 residences

Injuries: 27 minor injuries

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.
  • 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: 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: 1,721 (1,061 CAL FIRE)

Engines: 150

Fire crews: 40

Helicopters 15

Dozers: 40

Water tenders: 63

Costs to date: $22.3 million

Conditions: The Mendocino Lightning Complex currently consists of 127 fires burning in Mendocino County. There are currently 46 active fires.

Remaining fires continue to slowly increase in size. Firefighting resources continue to arrive daily and military resources are expected to arrive in the next few days.

GIS (Geographic Information System) mapping operations are being conducted throughout Mendocino County. Residents may see low flying rotary aircraft for the purposes of mapping fire perimeters. Fixed wing and rotary aircraft continue to operate on the fires.

A warming trend is expected over the next few days which may increase fire behavior.

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: None at this time.

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

Additional Notes:

The Mendocino Lightning Complex has burned approximately 41,215 acres and is 45% contained. Progress is being made on the various fires throughout the County; there are currently 46 active fires and 81 contained fires. Remaining fires continue to slowly increase in size. Continued threats remain a possibility to communities and critical infrastructure.

Firefighting resources continue to arrive daily and military resources are expected to arrive in the next few days.

Weather conditions are currently favorable, however a warming trend is expected which can increase fire behavior.

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

Planned firing operations have been successful and may occur in other areas of the County as necessary. Residents are reminded that they may see increased fire and smoke in the areas of planned firing operations.

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CAROL POGASH, The New York Times, July 7, 2008

Elk — When he spotted a small fire two weeks ago atop a steep hill outside this blocklong town, Charlie Acker, 57, the president of the local school board and a volunteer firefighter, jumped inside his stubby red 1965 fire truck and, with a skid and a prayer, drove up the nearly vertical incline to check out the situation.

Knowing that every other volunteer firefighter in this community of 100 residents was battling a larger blaze nearby, he used his cellphone to call his wife. She roused a crew of young kayakers who cater to tourists in this picturesque old logging town at the edge of the Pacific, some 140 miles north of San Francisco, and joined Mr. Acker on the line.

The state fire agency, CalFire, had promised to send a helicopter, but just as Mr. Acker was waiting for the whump-whump of the blades, it was diverted, he said, “to a higher rent district” in another county. When he radioed for more firefighters and an air tanker with fire retardant, he was sent 13 state prison inmates and told he was on his own.

For two weeks that has been the case here in Mendocino County, known for its majestic redwoods, prized grapevines and pungent marijuana plants. Resources have been stretched thin since lightning ignited about 1,100 fires throughout the drought-ridden region.

While the few cities in this county have paid firefighters, in the small communities that dot this region, fires are fought mostly by trained volunteers.

To fight the 123 fires that have been burning over 41,000 thickly wooded, mountainous acres, there was only one helicopter, no air tanker with fire retardant and no one tending to 17 of the fires. But help began arriving on Sunday: 15 helicopters, 3 air tankers and the promise of 200 National Guard soldiers. Tracy Boudreaux, the public information officer here for CalFire, said that with 1,700 personnel already working on the fire lines, the county could use twice that and more fire trucks and water tenders. The fires are 45 percent contained with only two fires unattended.

When the lightning fires struck in June, Mr. Acker said, “The entire governmental system broke down; we had to rely on ourselves and our neighbors.”

Residents ran tabs at local stations to pay for gasoline for fire engines. Merchants placed tall jars on counters seeking contributions. A restaurateur offered firefighters free meals.

The owner of a hardware store refused payment from volunteer firefighters for crucial supplies. When a local radio station called for money to help defray firefighting costs, people descended on the Redwood Drive-In, known for its malts, shakes and curly fries, and donated more than $4,000.

Landscapers whacked and carted away brush around houses free of charge. A caterer fed 150 volunteer firefighters daily. One market delivered submarine sandwiches to the weary workers, while residents baked gooey cakes and made quinoa salads. A fire chief’s wife grilled steak fajitas for a crew of inmates. Another woman delivered tinctures and balms to firefighters to soothe sore muscles and dry throats. On a map in the Boonville firehouse, a sign offered free massages.

When the blazes broke out, Leggett, population 300, had more fires than firefighters until an unsanctioned call went out on local radio and some 40 people with rakes and shovels began showing up at the firehouse every morning.

Residents expressed both pride and shock that they mostly had to fend for themselves. “This community of rugged individualists pulling together is part of the reason we love where we live,” said Deborah Cahn, who with her family owns Navarro Vineyards. “But isn’t this what government is supposed to do?”

On June 21, traffic on CalFire’s Web site was so heavy that Ms. Boudreaux, the public information officer, could not log on to order equipment. “You got what you got,” she said she was told when she called. “Nothing else is coming.”

Ms. Boudreaux said: “With the number of fires in Northern California, the resources were limited. It has been phenomenal that we have avoided potential catastrophic disasters to life and structures.” Just two homes have been destroyed in the fires.

“This is not a normal situation for CalFire, one of the largest fire organizations in the world,” she continued. The lack of resources has been “shocking across the board,” she said.

Ms. Cahn said that when she spotted smoke near her ridge, the 911 operator told her no resources were available. It took three days before firefighters were available to find and fight the blaze. Bob Roland, a 63-year-old retired aerospace executive and volunteer firefighter died Thursday, apparently of a heart attack, while folding hoses at that fire.

Colin Wilson, the fire chief in Boonville, described managing about seven fires with 30 firefighters working continuously for several days. “We knew we had no resources,” he said.

Throughout the siege, firefighters have had to attend to medical emergencies unrelated to the fires. When he was off the mountain, Mr. Acker said he helped a woman who thought she was suffering a stroke. Instead, he said, she was having a strong reaction to a birthday cake laced with marijuana.

Michael Maynard, a fire captain with CalFire who was checking on his parents’ home in a rural development built a few decades ago, said he jumped through flames to save four residents, one in capri pants and flip-flops, who were fighting a fire on their own.

“It was a little hairy,” Mr. Maynard said. “I wouldn’t do it again.”

Larry Tunzi, 49, a cattle rancher and volunteer fire chief in Comptche, a nook where everyone knows your name, stood on a ridge-top recently and counted 30 fires to be fought by his crew, which included a carpenter, a butcher, a nurse, computer programmers and Wally Stubbs, a 70-year-old retired chief operating officer of a manufacturing company. Many ended up working 60 hours on the line without going home.

With two other volunteer firefighters, Patty McCummings, 53, a real estate agent, spent one night with little water and only hand tools fighting back flames that jumped a line on a ridge that “was steeper than a cow’s face,” Ms. McCummings said. Mr. Tunzi called their efforts “the last stand at Tank 4 Gulch.”

During a break, Mr. Stubbs said, “I’ve never been prouder of working with any people than I was with this group.”

As David Severn, part of an all-volunteer ambulance crew in Boonville, said, “Fending for yourself in this community does not mean you’re standing alone.”

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ROB ROGERS, Redding.com, July 6, 2008
As of July 4, 2008, the north state’s firefighting effort has gone federal.

“When we moved in here three or four days ago, nothing was here,” said Frank Salomon, a public information officer for the Phoenix Fire Department.

Salomon and 11 of his colleagues from the Arizona capital are housed in the former 84 Lumber building on Old Forty-four Drive in Redding coordinating resources for the firefight in Northern California. They’re prepared to stay until November.

Over the past three days, they’ve been busy getting the power and water turned back on at the lumber warehouse, moving in office equipment and making sure they have plenty of phone lines and a fast Internet connection.

So far, so good, Salomon said. His team received its first out-of-state firefighting crew Friday and had them processed and assigned to a fire in 21⁄2 hours.

“Things are building up here now,” he said.

Officially, Salomon and his colleagues are a Type III incident management team operating under the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

When President Bush declared California a state of emergency a week ago, it opened the door to $30 million in FEMA funding. The management team from Phoenix, trained to coordinate and lead emergency operations like this one, was then called in.

The FEMA money is for fighting fires solely on state land, meaning Salomon’ steam is assisting only the fire fighting efforts of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. As Cal Fire officials call in their requests for crews and equipment, the FEMA team assigns the resources.

“A huge part of managing these critical incidents is managing the tremendous amount of resources needed,” said Kevin Kalkbrenner, the team’s commander.

The FEMA command center is responsible for fires burning in three main regions of Northern California— Butte, Mendocino and Shasta. Fires burning in the north state’s national forests are still under the direction of U.S. Forest Service officials.

As out-of-town and out of state fire crews are called into California to assist, their first stop after arriving will be the FEMA command center,where they physically check in, get their vehicles inspected and then wait for their assignment.

“Anything that needs to be utilized to fight a fire comes through here,” Salomon said.

Salomon acknowledged there’s plenty to coordinate. With thousands of acres burning across California on local, state and federal lands and agencies as diverse as city fire departments, Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service all working to battle the blazes, there’s a lot to keep straight.

But it’s not as convoluted as it may appear, he said. After the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 and, along with the formation of Homeland Security,the federal government created the National Incident Management System— universal training for first responders across the country on how to deal with a national-level catastrophe.

“All of us — regardless of where we come from—understand incident command,”Salomon said.

As a result, most agencies responding know what to do,how to do it and where to go for orders.

Salomon and his crew are bedding down for a long stay— he was told until November. There’s also a chance they could become a demobilization center to send crews home once the fires burnout. Either way, Salomon said they’re prepared.

“You’ve got to think big,”he said.

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MARILYN MOTHERBEAR SCOTT, The Ukiah Daily, July 6, 2008

Note: Marylyn Motherbear Scott, whose family home on Greenfield Ranch has been threatened by the Mendocino Lightning Complex fires, shared her family’s fire experiences with Daily Journal readers as she writes about her visit to the fire scene and more.

On July 3, 2008, the silence is palpable. Not a single phone call. Only a few days ago, the phone rang constantly, people giving the most recent news of the wildfires or wanting it. No matter how good one is at breathing, no matter how practiced one is at letting go, stress does its constrictive work, creates a single focus, a mental and emotional fixing, a window that frames all that is viewed through a single lens; in this case, the Jack Smith Fire on Greenfield. Our family home stood within a thousand feet of the fire’s edge.

During wildfire week, the threat to family members, to helpers, to land, to home, to the relics of personal history, each and all created the framework for all that we did, all that we thought, all that we felt. This is the only land I’ve ever owned, the only home I’ve ever built, the place where children and grandchildren were born, where my kids were raised and schooled, my back-to-the-land experience.

It was a relief when eyewitnesses on Radical Ridge saw helicopters dropping buckets of water. Cell phones confirmed water was being dropped on both ends of the fire, dampening both flickering tongue and lashing tail of the sleeping dragon. The water drops for which I looked, hoped, prayed all week came on Saturday. Helicopters took bucket after bucket of water out of our pond. Great falls of water streamed down out of the sky, rushing out of the bellies of those huge motorized dragonflies. This phenomenal wetting turned the course of the fire from its slow but steady crawl toward our home. The turning took only a minute compared to the agonizing hours and days of working, wondering, waiting.

I needed to see for myself so I drove from the Albion coast over Comptche-Ukiah Road. When I reached Comptche, a sign said that the road was open only to Fire Personnel and Residents. With thoughts of the Montgomery Woods fires and the Running Springs fires, it seemed prudent to go another way. The Flynn Creek Road to 128 was right there, another fire-ravaged area. I knew the evacuation had been lifted and there were no signs reading Road Closed.

Part way in, someone in a truck was stopped in the middle of the road, talking with a fireman. Between the two vehicles, one a fire engine, the road was blocked. Would I be turned around again? Just as I stopped, the truck driver drove off in the direction from which I had come. The driver and I exchanged a quick look and, then, a smile. It was Nick, the Potter; Nick, the Strong Man of the Flynn Creek Circus, a friend who lives in those parts. During the worst parts of the Flynn Creek fires and Immediate Threat Evacuation, I had asked friends about his safety but no one had heard. This moment of seeing him came serendipitously, the only individual I saw on that road, and I reflected on how we often receive our answers in these wondrous, coincidental moments.

Traveling on Flynn Creek Road, and on Route 128 in Navarro and Boonville, all of these fire-threatened hot spots in our county, the uninformed eye would not see that fire had consumed so much of this land and threatened so many homes. Except for smoke, there was nothing but beautiful California landscape, yellow grasses and green-leaved trees. In Boonville, tourists were taking in the sights and shops. I stopped at Boontberry for some lunch, talked to my dear friend, Bert, owner of Boontberry. We filled each other in on fire stories, exchanged hugs, and I went on, through Ukiah, to Greenfield.

Up the circuitous backwoods mountain road, it was the same. I expected to see charred spots, but, except for the smoke, it looked much as always for the time of year. The grassy hills were covered in summer’s gold, the wooded places leafed in green. The difference is in the mind’s eye. A whole new lexicon now forms and sorts what is seen. Golden grasses, timber, scrub and shrub, leafy beds, only a week or so ago, seen as summer’s perfection, were now viewed as Fuel. The places around homes, that once held wood-piles for the home furnace, stacks of building lumber, old cabins, now were being cleared for Defensible Space. This new lexicon became the password to fire protection.

As I approached the family land, I saw a good-sized crew encamped in a turnout. Just back from the day’s ground work, digging firebreaks and clearing fire-lines, they were cleaning off chain-saws and tools. Eager to thank these courageous, hardworking people, I stopped and jumped out of my van. “Thank you,” I said, several times, clasping my hands and bowing my head in prayerful salutation, “Namaste.” “May I take a photo?” They nodded, smiling,… seemed glad for the recognition. I took a few photos as they posed with their tools, looking proud and bright as sunshine.

“I’m the mom!,” I said, asking where they were from. One said, “We’re the Ishi Core.” I wasn’t sure I understood, so he spelled it out. I.S.H.I. I smiled in recognition, “Oh! Ishi, Last of His Tribe.” I’d spent many a day in Mill Creek and walked in Ishi’s countryside. They were delighted that I was familiar with the story and the land they knew as home. That familiarity seemed to bind us.

They were all in yellow fire suits, and then I saw, approaching, a man in orange. I walked forward to meet him, extending my hand, and introduced myself. He was one of the Captains. He grasped my hand very firmly, fixed me with his serious eyes. I thanked them all again and headed to the house where Emrys, Freyja and granddaughter Sophia awaited me. My family informed me that I had met the core of inmates. Speaking to them was not encouraged. The serious captain was also their guard. I felt glad that my innocence permitted me a few moments to let them feel my appreciation.

In the comfort of our home, where Emrys, Freyja and Sophia live, I heard more of the stories. Emrys never left the land once, but stayed to fight the fire should it make it to the break. He worked each day into the dark, making break after break with his excavator, a new-age mini-machine that lifted 30 foot logs away from the break. In the strong little Kabota, he drove crew to places that were hard to get to even on foot, in lots less time. I requested a ride up the Ridge to the fire-line.

This same dirt roadway used to be a favorite and frequent walk for me and the kids, up past a spring we named Sweetwater, to the water catch pond, through and around, up to the top of the Ridge where low growing manzanita brush crowned the top. It was one of the places where we used to dream together and play out fantasies of this great realm. We knew that dragons lived there, though we truly did not think to see them.

It was once all natural habitat. Now owned and occupied, houses are built, gardens are growing. The pond is smaller than I recall. All around, the ground is torn up by tractor’s till this is the tractor that made the breaks that saved the houses that sheltered the people that grow the gardens, that live on the land; and so the story goes on.

Smoke chimneys were still rising up, some fairly active; hot spots were still bright, embers alive in fallen timber, beds of ash wetted by water dropped from the helicopters and bomber planes. A tree trunk stood with smoke swirling out of its center. The day before the same tree trunk was aflame.

The dragon sits near the smolders, breathes smoke instead of fire, lets us know he’s there. Some call him Protector, purifying the earth for a better world, perhaps stopping the beetle of Sudden Oak Death. Some call him Destroyer, one who takes what he will in a fiery breath. He waits until called by the gods of lightning and thunder, or is beckoned by those who forget that freedom has its own limitations. A still lit cigarette butt thrown from the car window into dry grass, a campfire that burns high with sparks and hot ash or left to die out on its own, fireworks set off without regard for surroundings …. truly tinder in a hot, dry California summer.

On July 4th, I went to the Mendocino parade, a one-of-a-kind tradition for coastal folks. In this year’s parade, the volunteer fire departments were right up front – Albion-Little River, Elk and others. They received great applause, whistle, hoorahs. The air resounded with ovations for our fire fighters, for our kids who trooped their dreams through the streets, for the under-funded Mendocino Recreation Center, for same-sex marriage, and everything that said Peace not War, with signs saying Send the Troops Home, home to where we need them. Mendocino County may celebrate greatly, in mindful practice of and in gratitude for those ideals that are truly American birthrights: independence, resourcefulness, cooperation, peacefulness, living in freedom and with harm to none.

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MendoCoastCurrent, July 4, 2008

Last Updated: July 4, 2008, 7:30 am

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

County: Mendocino County

Location: Throughout Mendocino County

Acres Burned: 39,500

Injuries to Date: 15

Containment: 40% contained

Structures Threatened: 680 residences, 1 commercial

Structures Destroyed: 2 residences

Evacuation “Warnings” remain in effect:

  • Community of Rockport
  • Montgomery Woods/ Orr Springs Road to Running Springs Road
  • Red Mountain Road – From the intersection of Red Mountain Road and Bell Springs Road to 13600 Red Mountain Road.
  • 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: Placed on Standby

Cause: Lightning

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

Total Fire Personnel: 1,687 (1,002 CAL FIRE)

Fire crews: 33

Engines: 140

Helicopters: 17

Dozers: 50

Water tenders: 60

Overhead: 273

Total Personnel: 1,687

Fixed Wing Aircraft: 3

Costs to date: $14.55 million

Conditions: The Mendocino Lightning Complex currently consists of 123 fires burning in Mendocino County. There are currently 40 active fires.

Remaining fires continue to slowly increase in size. Continued threats remain a possibility to communities and critical infrastructure. Firefighting resources continue to arrive daily and military resources are expected to arrive in the next few days.

Weather conditions are currently favorable, however a warming trend is expected which can increase fire behavior.

GIS (Geographic Information System) mapping operations are being conducted throughout Mendocino County. Residents may see low flying rotary aircraft for the purposes of mapping fire perimeters. Fixed wing and rotary aircraft continue to operate on the 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: None.

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

Additional Notes: Planned firing operations have been successful and may occur in other areas of the county as necessary. For this reason, residents are reminded that they may see increased fire and smoke.

Anderson Valley Volunteer Firefighter, Bob Roland, was transported to Ukiah ValleyMedical Center on July 2, 2008, after suffering respiratory distress while working on the Oso fire. He passed away during the early morning hours of July 3, 2008. Air

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MendoCoastCurrent, CAL FIRE, morning of June 30, 2008

Mendocino Lightning Complex Incident Information:

Last Updated: June 30, 2008, 7:30 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: 37,200

Containment: 38% contained

Structures Threatened: 900 residences, 1 commercial

Structures Destroyed: 2 residences

Evacuation Warnings are in place for 10 different communities around Mendocino County.

Evacuation “Warnings” have been issued in:

  • Greenfield Subdivision: From Fred MacMurray Lane to Main Ranch Road. From Main Ranch Road to Orr Springs Road to the Singley Ranch (12000 Orr Springs Road) –Downgraded from “Order” at 12:00PM, June 28, 2008.
  • Community of Rockport
  • Montgomery Woods/ Orr Springs Road to Running Springs Road
  • Mountain View/ Mile Post 8 Area
  • Red Mountain Road – From the intersection of Red Mountain Road and Bell Springs Road to 13600 Red Mountain Road.
  • 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

Evacuations Lifted:

  • Chicken Ridge Webber Subdivision
  • Navarro/ Flynn Creek
  • Cherry Creek/ Intersection of Hwy 101 and Hwy 162

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MIKE GENIELLA & MARY CALLAHAN, The Press Democrat, June 29, 2008

A pause in the unrelenting onslaught of wildfires came to the North Coast’s fire country Saturday as thousands of exhausted firefighters and anxious rural residents waited for threats of thunderstorms and lightning strikes to pass.

Chances of storm-related fire danger appeared to be diminishing as weather patterns continued to shift across Northern California. “These are unprecedented fire conditions that we’re experiencing now,” said Tracy Boudreaux, a spokeswoman for Cal Fire.

Nearly 900 Mendocino County homes were still threatened as major fires in the Greenfield, Orr Springs, Rockport and Leggett areas continued to spread.

Of an estimated 130 fires that started last weekend in Mendocino County following severe lightning storms, about 60 had been contained Saturday.

“That’s progress,” said Bill Workman, another Cal Fire spokesman.

But the county’s worst fires were still burning out of control Saturday. Nearly 30,000 acres have gone up in smoke, including valuable stands of commercial timber valued at more than $10 million.

The firefight is costing an estimated $1 million a day, with no end in sight.

Exhausted firefighters, who now number more than 1,000, were instructed Saturday to focus on personal safety and situational awareness as they entered their second week.

While more crews and equipment from other areas continued to arrive, the resources to fight the Mendocino County fires remained stretched.

“We have not had this situation that any of us is aware of in the past, with the number of fires there are in Northern California and the lack of resources,” Boudreaux said.

On Saturday, President Bush issued an emergency declaration for California and ordered federal agencies to assist in firefighting efforts in Butte, Mendocino, Monterey, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta and Trinity counties.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had made the request Friday, saying that wildfires had burned more than 400 square miles.

But California officials said the federal declaration doesn’t go far enough. State and local governments also need federal financing to cover their “extraordinary costs in fighting these fires and helping the thousands of Californians who have suffered unimaginable loss and damages,” said Henry Renteria, director of the state Office of Emergency Services.

More than 17,000 firefighters, nearly 1,500 fire engines and bulldozers, and more than 80 helicopters and aircraft were fighting more than 1,000 active fires Saturday, said state emergency services spokesman Kelly Huston.

The lack of equipment has some county officials irritated, including Supervisor Mike Delbar of Potter Valley.

He acknowledged the benefits of state and federal disaster declarations, and the eventual possibility of financial aid for recovery efforts.

But Delbar ripped into state agencies for refusing to grant regulatory waivers so private equipment operators can join state crews in the fight.

“There was a time when timber companies, ranch owners and others were able to work alongside, but now state safety regulations are so excessive they’re being kept at bay,” Delbar said.

Cal Fire representatives said they expect more personnel and equipment to be diverted to Mendocino County as major fires in other areas are contained.

Lake County’s Walker fire, which burned nearly 15,000 acres, was 90 percent contained by Saturday, according to Cal Fire.

In the Mendocino National Forest, 312 firefighters were still working to contain fires near Lake Pillsbury and in two wilderness areas. Together, about 4,200 acres have burned there.

Battalion Chief Chris Avina, of the state air attack base at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport, said Saturday that nine helicopters are now available to fight the Mendocino County fires.

“But they could only work in the morning before we had to ground them because of the smoky conditions over the fires,” he said.

Avina said the copters and fixed-wing aircraft will be sent up at “every window of opportunity.”

Greenfield Ranch residents hailed the firefighting efforts.

Lynn Meadows, a community leader, stayed in her Greenfield home during evacuation hours with firefighters’ permission.

“I adore these guys. How can we ever thank them for leaving their families and homes, and coming here to help us?” she said.

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The Ukiah Daily Journal, June 29, 2008

Firefighters brought the Mendocino Lightning Complex fire further under control Saturday night with the help of additional resources, but the fire was continuing to spread.

As of Sunday morning, the complex was still burning in 60 uncontrolled fires and had consumed a total of 35,700 acres but was reported as 20% contained Sunday morning.

Additional firefighters and resources were added to the fire lines Saturday, bringing the total number to 1,127 firefighters backed by 93 fire engines, 33 water tenders, 31 bulldozers and seven helicopters.

President George Bush made an emergency declaration for Northern California due to the wildfires. The declaration clears the way for federal resources and money.

The declaration comes one day after California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger sent a letter to Bush requesting the designation. Schwarzenegger declared an emergency in Northern California earlier this week.

Evacuation warnings were still in place for eight communities Sunday but no areas had been added to the list. The Greenfield Ranch subdivision, which was under an evacuation order Friday night, was placed back on the warning list on Saturday.

On Sunday morning both emergency shelters in Mendocino County, at the Willits and Fort Bragg High Schools, were placed on standby. Red Cross officials have said the shelters have seen very little use.

Shelters on standby remain fully stocked and can be reopened if they are needed.

The current cost of fighting the fire is estimated at $7.09 million.

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LAURA NORTON, The Press Democrat, June 29, 2008

Mendocino County fire officials expect to make headway today in the 35,700 acres of fire still raging through the county.

Twenty percent of the fires burning Sunday morning were contained, Tracy Boudreaux, a spokeswoman for Cal Fire said, and officials hope to make more progress Sunday as temperatures cool, humidity increases.

The 1,127 firefighters on the fires were granted a further break when an anticipated lightening storm that officials had feared would strike more fires Saturday night never materialized, Boudreaux said.

“We’re ready to get down and dirty with the help of the weather,” Boudreaux said . “We’re ready to go after these smaller fires with more resources.”

Of an estimated 130 fires that started in Mendocino County last weekend, 60 are still burning.

On Sunday fire crews plan to aggressively attack the smaller blazes, then commit resources to the larger ones.

The homes of 900 residents, mostly scattered through rural areas, are still considered to be at risk from the fires.

The cost to-date of the firefighting effort is almost $8 million, Boudreaux said.

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MendoCoastCurrent, June 26, 2008

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today proclaimed a state of emergency in Mendocino and Shasta Counties as a result of lightning strikes that ignited more than 230 wildfires in these counties. The proclamation utilizes all resources consistent with the state’s authority under the California Disaster Assistance Act.

Yesterday, the Governor visited the command posts for the Basin Complex Fire in Monterey County and the BTU Lightning Complex Fire in Butte County. He also announced $20 million for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) to cover the costs of the Humboldt and Ophir Fires in Butte County earlier this month. Because the Governor declared a state of emergency for those fires on June 11, the state was able to immediately process the Executive Order and distribute the money. Also, to help the victims of the Ophir and Humboldt Fires in Butte County and the Martin Fire in Santa Cruz County, the Governor on Sunday signed an Executive Order to waive fees and assist with recovery efforts.

On Monday, Governor Schwarzenegger proclaimed a state of emergency in Monterey and Trinity Counties as a result of the Basin Complex Fire, Gallery Fire and Lime Complex Fire.

On May 9, 2008, the Governor issued Executive Order S-03-08, which boosted the state’s preparedness for wildfire season and directed CAL FIRE to immediately mobilize critical firefighting resources and personnel to save lives and homes statewide.

A PROCLAMATION
BY THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

WHEREAS lightning strikes starting on June 20, 2008, ignited over 100 wildfires within the County of Mendocino, and lightning strikes starting on June 21, 2008, ignited more than 130 wildfires in the County of Shasta; and

WHEREAS the fires in those counties continue to be driven by dry conditions and high winds, and these conditions are expected to continue; and

WHEREAS over 25,000 acres have already burned in Mendocino County, and over 20,000 acres have already burned in Shasta County; and

WHEREAS the fires in these counties have damaged property and caused injuries to people; and

WHEREAS the fires continue to threaten residential and commercial property and structures, and evacuations have been ordered at various locations within the counties of Mendocino and Shasta; and

WHEREAS on June 23, 2008, the Director of Emergency Services and the Board of Supervisors for the County of Shasta proclaimed a local emergency in the County of Shasta, finding that conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property exist within the County of Shasta caused by the fires; and

WHEREAS on June 24, 2008, the Board of Supervisors for the County of Mendocino proclaimed a local emergency in the County of Mendocino, finding that conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property exist within the County of Mendocino caused by the fires, and requesting that I proclaim a state of emergency in Mendocino County; and

WHEREAS the circumstances of these wildfires, by reason of their magnitude, are beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment and facilities of any single county, city and county, or city and require the combined forces of a mutual aid region or regions to combat; and

WHEREAS under the provisions of section 8558(b) of the California Government Code, I find that conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property exist due to the fires in the counties of Mendocino and Shasta.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of the State of California, in accordance with the authority vested in me by the California Constitution and statutes, including the California Emergency Services Act, and in particular, section 8625 of the California Government Code, HEREBY PROCLAIM A STATE OF EMERGENCY to exist within the counties of Mendocino and Shasta.

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that all agencies of the state government utilize and employ state personnel, equipment and facilities for the performance of any and all activities consistent with the direction of the Office of Emergency Services (OES) and the State Emergency Plan, and that OES provide local government assistance under the authority of the California Disaster Assistance Act.

I FURTHER DIRECT that as soon as hereafter possible, this proclamation be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given of this proclamation.

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AFP, June 28, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO — US President George W. Bush declared a state of emergency in California on Saturday and ordered federal aid to help authorities battle more than 1,000 wildfires burning out of control.

“We have over 1,000 fires burning in northern California alone, our resources are stretched extremely thin,” said Cheri Patterson, a spokeswoman for the state’s fire department, Calfire.

“Our biggest concern is we don’t have any of the fires under control,” she told AFP, and welcomed the federal resources ordered by Bush.

The state’s more than 12,000 firefighters have been battling the fires, many of which were sparked by lightning from dry thunderstorms, for more than a week now, stretched thin by the sheer number of blazes.

Patterson said that while they were making progress to contain some of the them, more thunderstorms were expected this weekend, including dry lightning later Saturday that risked provoking more fires.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had urged Bush Friday to call a federal emergency, saying the fires were “of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the state.”

Around 265,000 acres (107,000 hectares) of tinder-dry forest and parkland have burnt across northern California since the fires erupted on June 20, his office said.

Schwarzenegger warned that “federal assistance is necessary to save lives.”

“The president today declared an emergency exists in the State of California and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts in the area struck by wildfires beginning on June 20, 2008, and continuing,” the White House said in a statement.

California is frequently hit by scorching wildfires due to its dry climate, Santa Ana winds and recent housing booms which have seen housing spread rapidly into rural and densely forested areas.

Last October, devastating wildfires were among the worst in California history, leaving eight people dead, destroying 2,000 homes, displacing 640,000 people and causing one billion dollars in damage.

NASA Satellite View of California Fires

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