Crews battling deadly Northern California wildfires prepare for another day of hot and dry conditions that could drive the flames into new areas and threaten more homes.
According to Cal Fire, more than 15,000 personnel are on the lines of 18 large blazes across California on Saturday. So far, the fires since June have killed 8, burned more than 559,000 acres and damaged or destroyed over 1,800 structures. Roughly 17,000 homes continue to be threatened by these fires, and about 45,000 residents are under evacuation.
Here are updates on the major fires burning throughout the state:
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MENDOCINO COMPLEX FIRES: RANCH FIRE AND RIVER FIRE
As of 7 a.m. Sunday
Where: In Mendocino County, the Ranch Fire was burning near Highway 20 at mile post 39, Old Lake County Highway, and Blue Lake, 8 miles northeast of Ukiah. The River Fire was burning at Old River Road, 6 miles north of Hopland.
Size: The Ranch Fire was 218,319 acres (341 square miles) and the River Fire was 48,663 acres (76 square miles) as of 7 p.m. Sunday. Collectively, they’ve burned 266,982 acres (417 square miles), making them the sixth-largest wildfire in the state by area. They have not, however, merged as was reported on social media. A tweet sent out around 9 p.m. Friday by a federal-state cooperative of hotshots had erroneously said the fires had merged. Cal Fire spokeswoman Heather Williams said Friday night that the fires had not merged – and that the fires were 4 to 5 miles apart as of 10 p.m. Friday.
Containment: The Ranch Fire was 23 percent contained and the River Fire was 58 percent contained. No progress was made in containment levels Sunday, according to Cal Fire.
What’s happened: Throughout Saturday night, crews had success in increasing the containment of the River Fire, according to Cal Fire. The Ranch Fire grew over 20,000 acres overnight, branching out in a southeast direction. Firefighters are working to protect the houses near Lake Pillsbury and keep the fire from moving into the Pine Mountain Project. The fires had cumulatively destroyed 136 homes and 124 other structures and damaged 21 total structures by Sunday morning. Fire behavior was observed around the evacuated communities along the eastern shore of Clear Lake.
Evacuation updates: Evacuations remain in effect for communities in Mendocino County and Lake County. Cal Fire is releasing updates about the Mendocino Complex fire online. Orders to stay out include the Highway 20 area north of Clear Lake for the Ranch Fire, as well as the areas east of the lake for the River Fire. These include portions of the Scotts Valley, Blue Lakes, Upper Lake, Bachelor Valley and Nice, as well as Lucerne, Pepperwood Grove, Paradise Valley, Glenhaven and Clearlake Oaks.
New evacuations were ordered for north of Highway 20 in the Lake Pillsbury basin area and the communities of Bear Creek, Pine Mountain, Elk Mountain Road, Landrum Ranch and Double Eagle in Lake County, as well as areas north of Highway 20 in Colusa County. Advisories were also issued for southern parts of Glenn County.
New evacuation centers have been set up at Middletown Middle School, 15846 Wardlaw St.; Mountain Vista Middle School, 5081 Konocti Road, Kelseyville; and Colusa County Veterans Hall,108 E. Main St.
As of 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: Shasta and Trinity County, on Highway 299 and Carr Powerhouse Road in Whiskeytown
Size: 160,049 acres (250 square miles)
Containment: 43 percent
What’s happened: The sixth most destructive fire in California’s history killed at least seven people, razed 1,080 homes and 524 other structures and damaged 278 structures in total. Burning for 13 days, the Carr Fire still threatens 1,358 structures. A PG&E employee working in the fire area was confirmed dead, raising the fire’s death toll to seven. On Saturday, Gov. Jerry Brown announced in a statement that the White House approved a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for Shasta county, which will provide public assistance to those affected by the Carr Fire.
Evacuation updates: Cal Fire’s evacuations map shows portions of Shasta County and Trinity County still under mandatory evacuations, though the orders have been lifted for Redding. For up-to-date information, visit the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office page.
As of 6:40 p.m. Sunday
Where: Stanislaus National Forest, east of Donnell Lake along Highway 108 in Tuolumne County
Size: 5,800 acres
Containment: 0 percent
What’s happened: The blaze began at 1 p.m. Thursday as a vegetation fire near the Donnell Vista off of Highway 108, near Donnell Lake north of Pinecrest. Forest Service said hotshot crews have been working to try to get some containment. But they were hampered Friday by access to the very remote and rugged part of the forest with steep terrain and extremely dry conditions.
Evacuation updates: The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office issued mandatory orders for the following areas: Wagner Tract, Clark Fork Road, Clark Fork, Camp Liahona and Sands Flat.
As of 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: Mendocino County, east of Covelo and north of the Mendocino Complex Fires
Size: 972 acres
Containment: 60 percent
What’s happened: Cooler temperatures and lesser winds allowed for firefighters to make progress containing this fire Sunday. About 40 structures and a number of cultural sites near Anthony Peak Lookout were threatened, according to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. Firefighters completed the line around the perimeter of the fire Saturday.
Evacuation updates: Evacuations for M1 road from Eel River Station to Indian Dick Station were lifted Friday night.
As of 7 a.m. Sunday
Where: Del Norte and Siskiyou County, directly south of the Oregon border.
Size: 9,463 acres (15 square miles)
Containment: 30 percent
What’s happened: A lightning strike caused this inferno, which was burning through timber and chaparral southeast of Cave Junction, Oregon, Friday. Areas in the Rogue River-Ssikiyou and Klamath National Forests have been closed. On Sunday morning, the Northern Rockies Team 1 took over working to suppress the fire, focusing on protecting residences along Indian Creek. A community meeting regarding the fire is scheduled at 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Evacuation updates: The community of Sunstar has been placed in a Level 1 evacuation “Ready” status.
As of 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: Mariposa County, near Highway 140 and Hite Cove, adjacent to El Portal.
Size: 89,633 acres (140 square miles)
Containment: 38 percent
What’s happened: The conflagration had killed 2 people, injured 11, and destroyed 10 structures as of Sunday. Flames had moved back toward Sierra National Forest on Friday morning, the 22nd day of activity for the blaze. On Friday, the fire jumped Highway 41, fire officials confirmed, the same day Yosemite Valley evacuated all non-essential workers. The blaze claimed 3,548 more acres overnight and the fire’s containment fell 5 percent, according to Cal Fire. Ten structures have been destroyed.
Evacuation updates: Mandatory evacuations are in place for areas including Anderson Valley, Forest, Old El Portal, Old Yosemite Road, Wawona, Yosemite View Lodge, Yosemite West and River Road from Briceburg to the last BLM campground, according to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.
As of 7:42 p.m. Saturday
Where: Riverside County, near the community of Idyllwild in the San Jacino Mountains
Size: 13,139 acres (20.5 square miles)
Containment: 96 percent
What’s happened: The vegetation fire, a result of arson, had injured three firefighters as of Thursday. The fire began last Wednesday, according to the U.S. Forest Service. A number of recreation sites in the area were closed as of Thursday. Idyllwild Arts Academy canceled the remainder of its summer programs because of the blaze.
Evacuation updates: All evacuations orders had been lifted as of Friday.