Mendocino Complex Information, Aug. 8, 10 am

Contact(s): Punky Moore

WILLOWS, Calif. —   A high pressure system continues to bring warmer weather, drying conditions, and light winds to the fire area. Most of the fire area was smoky Tuesday. The smoky conditions moderated fire activity which allowed good progress to be made in several areas of the fires. The use of aircraft was limited over most of the fire area because of the heavy smoke. Aircraft were used in the Potter Valley area and near the 2018 Pawnee Fire. Similar weather conditions are expected today.

Ranch Fire: The Ranch Fire spread to the north Tuesday toward the Snow Mountain Wilderness. The fire did not reach Letts Lake. The heavy smoke limited where aircraft could safely fly along this portion of the fire.

Firefighters made good progress holding a large spot fire west of Bear Valley Road that had spread into and east of the 2018 Pawnee Fire near Spring Valley. Engine crews put out hot areas around and near the communities along the Highway 20 corridor. Good progress was made on constructing a dozer line along McLeod Ridge from Lake Pillsbury towards Rice Valley.

Dozer line construction will continue along McLeod Ridge again today. Dozers are working to improve the Stonyford-Lodoga Road. Fire managers are looking for opportunities to construct dozer line through the middle of the 2012 Mill Fire to secure the fire’s northeast corner. The dozer line will extend from the southern edge of the Mill Fire north to Davis Flat. This is to keep the fire west of Stonyford and Century Ranch.

Firefighters will keep working around structures in the Lake Pillsbury area Wednesday, clearing and improving lines around the residences. Reinforcing the dozer line running from the Eel River northeast to south of the community will continue today.

Fire managers are looking for opportunities to build fireline along or near the fire’s edge and keep the fire south of the Snow Mountain Wilderness. Several ridges east of Rice Valley are being considered. This will allow firefighters to connect the dozer line along McLeod Ridge to the roads and dozer lines in and around the 2012 Mill Fire.

Firefighters are improving the roads around the northern and western edges of the Pine Mountain Project. This will allows firefighters to contain the fire spread north and west near Potter Valley. Beginning today a contingency dozer line is being constructed around Potter Valley as an extra precaution.  

The Ranch Fire grew approximately 10,000 acres in the last twenty-four hours and is currently 251,166 acres and 46 percent contained. The Ranch Fire is burning in the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument.

River Fire: Firefighters made good progress toward containment of the River Fire yesterday. Wednesday, crews will continue to suppress the remaining hot areas along the fire’s edge to secure the rest of the fireline. The River Fire had no growth in the last twenty-four hours and is currently 48,920 acres and 81 percent contained.

There are over 4,000 firefighters assigned to the Mendocino Complex. This includes around 40 firefighters from Australia and New Zealand.

FIRE AREA WEATHER: Weather is expected to be very similar to Tuesday. A warm and dry ridge of high pressure will continue over the fire areas today. Fuel moisture recovery continues to be poor overnight. A red flag warning is predicted from Thursday through Saturday.

SMOKE: Heavy smoke has settled into regional communities surrounding the fire overnight. The Southern Sacramento Valley is expected to remain in moderate smoke, which may worsen as the day progresses. The Northern Sacramento Valley should remain in thicker smoke along with areas west of the fire, such as Mendocino and Willits. These smoky conditions are expected to remain until Thursday when we may see some reprieve with increased winds.

Below is the link to the smoke forecast: