Mendocino Complex Information, Aug. 10

Contact(s): Punky Moore

WILLOWS, Calif. —   Smoky conditions moderated fire activity and limited aircraft use over the fire area Thursday. The smoke also prevented crews from working in some remote areas of the northern portion of the fire near Blue Slides Ridge. The crews could not observe the fire and did not feel safe working in the remote smoky areas with limited visibility. As smoke cleared late in the afternoon, the fire became more active and air tankers were used near Potter Valley.

Ranch Fire: Good progress was made Thursday on constructing a dozer line along McLeod Ridge from Lake Pillsbury towards Rice Valley. The dozers in the Goat Mountain Road area were able to construct line to the east and work north. Long Valley and Spring Valley residents were able to return to their homes and the Upper Lake ranger district office reopened.  

The Ranch Fire continued to spread to the north and into the Snow Mountain Wilderness Thursday. The fire is just south of Letts Lake. Firefighters conducted a small firing operation to secure the line near the Eel River in the northwest portion of the fire. Crews continued to cut fireline in the steep canyons near High Valley Ridge in the southern portion of the fire.

Crews will improve the dozer line along McLeod Ridge Friday. Dozer operators will continue constructing dozer line along Goat Mountain Road and north through the 2012 Mill Fire scar toward Davis Flat. This is to secure the fire’s northeast corner and keep the fire west of Stonyford and Century Ranch. Construction of a contingency dozer line along Noel Springs Ridge and Bushy Camp Ridge as an extra precaution will continue Friday.  

Firefighters will keep working around structures in the Lake Pillsbury area Friday, clearing and improving lines around the residences. Reinforcing the dozer line running from the Eel River northeast to south of the community will continue. The Ranch Fire is approximately three miles from the southern border of Lake Pillsbury.

Crews will improve fireline in the steep canyons near High Valley Ridge in the southern portion of the fire. Engines will mop-up and patrol the areas around Long Valley and Spring Valley.

Fire managers are looking for opportunities to build fireline north of the Blue Slides Ridge area. This will allow firefighters to connect the McLeod Ridge dozer line on the west side of the fire to the dozer line in the 2012 Mill Fire on the east side of the fire.

Firefighters are improving the roads around the northern and western edges of the Pine Mountain Project. This will allow firefighters to contain the fire spread to the north and west near Potter Valley. Construction of the contingency dozer line around Potter Valley as an extra precaution continues.

The Ranch Fire grew approximately 3,000 acres in the last twenty-four hours and is currently 258,527 acres and 53 percent contained. The Ranch Fire is burning in the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument.

River Fire: No smoke was visible on the fire Thursday. Crews will continue to patrol the fire’s edge looking for hot spots. They are also implementing suppression repair. The River Fire has had no growth in the last seventy-two hours and is currently 48,920 acres and 90 percent contained.

There are over 3,800 firefighters assigned to the Mendocino Complex. This includes 41 firefighters from Australia and New Zealand. An additional 200 active duty military firefighters from the 14th Brigade Engineer Battalion are scheduled to arrive Friday.

Fire Area Weather: A red flag warning is in effect for the fire area Friday and Saturday. High temperatures and low humidity are forecast along with an increase in winds.

Smoke: Smoke impacts will continue to be heavy in communities near and east of the Ranch Fire, such as Clearlake, Stonyford and east to Willows. A reprieve in heavy smoke has been seen and moderate impacts are expected west of the fires, such as Ukiah and Willits, as light westerly winds are transporting smoke east. The north and central Sacramento Valley will continue to have heavy smoke, while the southern end looks to improve Friday night.

Below is the link to the smoke forecast for today: