Skip navigation

This is an informational email with lots of great tips from a Virologist.

Below is the most detailed description of the coronavirus I’ve read. James Robb, MD UC San Diego, is a virologist who’s worked with this virus for almost 50 years. COVID-19 has an affinity for pulmonary receptors that is extraordinary.

Feel free to copy and send to family & friends.

Subject: What I am doing for the upcoming COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic

Dear Colleagues, as some of you may recall, when I was a professor of pathology at the University of California San Diego, I was one of the first molecular virologists in the world to work on coronaviruses (the 1970s). I was the first to demonstrate the number of genes the virus contained. Since then, I have kept up with the coronavirus field and its multiple clinical transfers into the human population (e.g., SARS, MERS), from different animal sources.

The current projections for its expansion in the US are only probable, due to continued insufficient worldwide data, but it is most likely to be widespread in the US by mid to late March and April.

Here is what I have done and the precautions that I take and will take. These are the same precautions I currently use during our influenza seasons, except for the mask and gloves.:

1) NO HANDSHAKING! Use a fist bump, slight bow, elbow bump, etc.

2) Use ONLY your knuckle to touch light switches. elevator buttons, etc.. Lift the gasoline dispenser with a paper towel or use a disposable glove.

3) Open doors with your closed fist or hip – do not grasp the handle with your hand, unless there is no other way to open the door. Especially important on bathroom and post office/commercial doors.

4) Use disinfectant wipes at the stores when they are available, including wiping the handle and child seat in grocery carts.

5) Wash your hands with soap for 10-20 seconds and/or use a greater than 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer whenever you return home from ANY activity that involves locations where other people have been.

6) Keep a bottle of sanitizer available at each of your home’s entrances. AND in your car for use after getting gas or touching other contaminated objects when you can’t immediately wash your hands.

7) If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. Use your elbow only if you have to. The clothing on your elbow will contain infectious virus that can be passed on for up to a week or more!

What I have stocked in preparation for the pandemic spread to the US:

1) Latex or nitrile latex disposable gloves for use when going shopping, using the gasoline pump, and all other outside activity when you come in contact with contaminated areas.

Note: This virus is spread in large droplets by coughing and sneezing. This means that the air will not infect you! BUT all the surfaces where these droplets land are infectious for about a week on average – everything that is associated with infected people will be contaminated and potentially infectious. The virus is on surfaces and you will not be infected unless your unprotected face is directly coughed or sneezed upon. This virus only has cell receptors for lung cells (it only infects your lungs) The only way for the virus to infect you is through your nose or mouth via your hands or an infected cough or sneeze onto or into your nose or mouth.

2) Stock up now with disposable surgical masks and use them to prevent you from touching your nose and/or mouth (We touch our nose/mouth 90X/day without knowing it!). This is the only way this virus can infect you – it is lung-specific. The mask will not prevent the virus in a direct sneeze from getting into your nose or mouth – it is only to keep you from touching your nose or mouth.

3) Stock up now with hand sanitizers and latex/nitrile gloves (get the appropriate sizes for your family). The hand sanitizers must be alcohol-based and greater than 60% alcohol to be effective.

4) Stock up now with zinc lozenges. These lozenges have been proven to be effective in blocking coronavirus (and most other viruses) from multiplying in your throat and nasopharynx. Use as directed several times each day when you begin to feel ANY “cold-like” symptoms beginning. It is best to lie down and let the lozenge dissolve in the back of your throat and nasopharynx. Cold-Eeze lozenges is one brand available, but there are other brands available.

I, as many others do, hope that this pandemic will be reasonably contained, BUT I personally do not think it will be. Humans have never seen this snake-associated virus before and have no internal defense against it. Tremendous worldwide efforts are being made to understand the molecular and clinical virology of this virus. Unbelievable molecular knowledge about the genomics, structure, and virulence of this virus has already been achieved. BUT, there will be NO drugs or vaccines available this year to protect us or limit the infection within us. Only symptomatic support is available.

I hope these personal thoughts will be helpful during this potentially catastrophic pandemic. You are welcome to share this email. Good luck to all of us! Jim

James Robb, MD

No new unemployment claims will be accepted in California for 2 weeks. That’s so the backlog can be caught up on and to reduce fraud. The state’s Employment Development Department has a backlog of about 600,000 claims and one million claims need to somehow be modified. Outdated technology is apparently causing the logjam as the state receives mountains of claims amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The department says there are around 2.1 million people out of work, but the rate dropped to 11.4% in August from 13.5% in July. Currently if you have to file, you’ll have to wait until October 5th, the agency will only accept contact information, then will be in touch in two weeks to complete claims. Those already in the system should not have their claims interrupted.

Reports of an armed robbery at a home in Laytonville lead to several arrests. The Sheriff’s office reports getting a call to the Black Oak Ranch in the 49000 block of North Highway 101, last Thursday finding multiple victims and identifying even more suspects. Tyler Bagliere and his dad, Louis at the property with Lathiaro White and Anthony Watson armed with firearms Thursday. Deputies say they held several people at gunpoint and demanded money, shooting one weapon near one of the victims. They eventually left, with about 20 pounds of marijuana, and said they’d be back in two days. And Tyler came back with three others Christopher Stewert, Deangelo Villalona, and another unidentified man. Same thing, shooting a weapon, demanding money. Three of the suspects arrested right away after being found with several assault rifles, a handgun and ammo. They’re charged with several crimes including armed robbery in concert, assault with a deadly weapon, felony child endangerment, and criminal threats. All were held except Louis Bagliere who was released for medical reasons. One of those reported at the marijuana robbery was caught later and charged along with the others.

A vehicle stop in Willits leads to a trio of arrests. Deputies stopped a car on Sept. 10th on the 101 north, at the West Road off ramp in Redwood Valley. The driver Jerry DeGurse, the front passenger, Nathan DeGurse and a rear passenger, Vicki Sandage.  Jerry had 7 warrants so he was held, then it was found Nathan also had 2 warrants, all of them out of Siskiyou County.  So the two were arrested. Heroin was found on Nathan as well and the female passenger had meth. She was held to appear later, the others held in jail.

The sheriff has requested help from the state since they aren’t getting hand crews from prison populations on the August Complex. Sheriff Matt Kendall appealing to the state for National Guard members. The Sheriff says Guard troops are trained to help CALFIRE Type 1 Hand Crews in establishing and maintaining fire lines, and they will not be used for law enforcement purposes. Other hand crews have been sent to the North Zone building dozer lines. The August Complex North and South Zones have burned together.  

A gathering in Fort Bragg to show support for the police. Residents on Main Street yesterday supporting first responders with a rally after there was a recent complaint regarding the flag logo on patrol cars showing a thin blue line. The thin blue line was in remembrance of fallen Deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino, the first officer killed in the line of duty in Fort Bragg. Those rallying yesterday say they support all first responders, Law Enforcement, Fire, EMT’s, Dispatchers and others. The organizer says all of the attendees observed coronavirus outdoor gathering restrictions.

The North and South Zone of the August Complex have burned together. Some evacuation orders have however been lifted to warnings. There are still many orders and warnings in Mendocino County though. CAL FIRE’S unified team and the U.S. Forest Service are working in a coordinated response on the Complex, which was split into three zones for a more effective response. No word if there will only be two zones yet. But CAL FIRE’s Incident Management Team has ordered the National Guard to come help. The West Zone on its own has burned 91,800 acres and is 20% contained. Besides resources from across the state of California, firefighters from Montana, Idaho, Texas, and New Jersey have been assigned to help. There was increased fire behavior over the weekend due to higher humidity levels, increased temperatures and critically dry fuels near Lake Pillsbury. The entire Complex has burned 837,241 acres and is 34% contained. There’s been one death, the Complex 100% containment date has been projected for the middle of November.

An extension of the Public Health order and an update expected at the next Lake County Board of Supervisors meeting. The board is also expected to revisit issues with the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office. The board may take up a proposed no confidence vote for the Treasurer-Tax Collector Barbara Ringen after she reportedly told the board she wasn’t prepared to respond to several complaints and concerns by board members themselves, and the city of Clearlake on tax defaulted property sales. The board also taking up several proclamations for some retirees and honorees at the meeting tomorrow.

The Forest Service making progress on the South Zone of the August Complex even though it burned into the North Zone. The fire which has destroyed 35 structures is still threatening another 1,600. Crews were working over the weekend strengthening lines near Pillsbury Ranch and working to protect structures with burning operations. Soldiers from Washington were helping Calif. firefighters. There are many still under mandatory evacuation orders or warnings. Some were allowed to go home in the Mendocino National Forest in Glenn County. If residents have to get to their homes on a Forest Service road they have to have a Forest Service permit. The South Zone evacuation orders remain in effect for Mendocino and Lake counties. .

A woman from Lakeport being hailed a hero for helping save a toddler who looked to be drowning in a pool Labor Day weekend at a resort in Nice. 20 year old Lydia Meraz, a staff member at WorldMark Clear Lake Resort reportedly did CPR on the 3-year-old, Darius Apar after he was pulled out of the swimming pool by his mom. Lake Co News reports tomorrow morning the Board of Supervisors will recognize Meraz for her heroic actions. Meraz is the resort’s guest services manager. She says she heard screaming for help Sept. 6th and told others to call 911 and went to the pool. Mom was apparently swimming laps and found the 3 year old face down in the pool, so Meraz did CPR.

The new Public Health Officer in Mendocino County says we’re moving in the right direction related to Covid-19. Public Health Officer Andy Coren in a regular Friday meeting of his office for the public on the pandemic said containing the numbers is helping the county potentially move out of the purple tier, the most restrictive in the state. Dr. Coren says more businesses can reopen in the red tier. Another death was confirmed last week. Coren described the patient as an elderly Hispanic woman. He also announced that Ken Fowler Auto Center had an outbreak, and as of Friday, they had nine cases. There were 18 more cases this weekend for a total in the county of 851. Dr. Coren reminded about the upcoming flu season and is urging residents to get a flu vaccine, especially healthcare workers.

Two more deputies will be added to the Sheriff’s Dept. in Lake County. And the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved its final budget agreeing to take $200,000 from the cannabis program to give to the sheriff’s office for the two new officers. The Sheriff Brian Martin told the board his agency was “significantly understaffed” with a 19% vacancy rate and 29 open positions. He also said retaining deputies has been an issue due to lower salaries in his department. The $9.3 million budget was approved for the sheriff’s department, which was the same last year. The supervisors also talked about getting other departments in the county to also bring them proposals to use cannabis tax revenue. The board also noted sales tax revenue was projected to be as much as 80% less than last year due to the pandemic.  

There will still be a Dine Out with Hospice event in Lake County amidst the pandemic. The event is this Thursday to support Hospice Services of Lake County with either dining in, or out, or taking out. There are nearly 2 dozen restaurants taking part this year. They will all have donation envelopes with donations going to the Wings of Hope Bereavement program and special needs of Hospice patients. This is the fourth year for the event. Organizers say in years past some restaurants have donated up to 50% of their sales and included a large tip. But they say this year they hope to see full restaurants with businesses keeping their sales and having those donation envelopes separate. There are also several sponsors.

For more information, call Hospice Services of Lake County, (707) 263-6222. Visit the organization’s website at http://www.lakecountyhospice. org.

Distance learning to continue at Mendocino College thru the spring semester. The Superintendent/President Tim Karas announced earlier this week that after multiple discussions with staff, faculty, and administrative leadership, the evaluation of guidelines by local and state health agencies, and recommendations from the State Chancellor’s Office, they’ve decided that most classes would be remote next term. Karas says it’s to protect the health and safety of students, employees, and the community. There will however be some in person courses and others with hybrid instruction. Karas also says he hopes as spring nears that they can add more in person classes.  

The incident team working on the August Complex West Zone has updated the acreage for that portion of the fire, which does not include the massive Doe Fire. The West Zone has burned over 80,000 acres and is 7% contained. They have firefighters on the incident from Montana, Idaho, Texas, and New Jersey. The fire was active yesterday and fire officials reported they expected it to stay active through the night. The August Complex was split into 3 zones, the West, North and South. The entire Complex has burned 809,135 acres. There’s been one fatality and 18 structures destroyed.

Crime numbers in Sonoma County way off, but it has nothing to do with the pandemic. From 2010-2019, crime statistics showed a drop of 22% and the state of California also had its lowest crime level in recorded history last year. The info comes from the state and was published by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice in San Francisco. It shows 10 other counties with lower crime rates than Sonoma County, but 41 counties reported crime rates were down the last decade.

Due to the historic fires and erratic fire behavior Yosemite National Park is closing to all visitors. The smoke from the fires is closing the park. There are notices up at all of the park entrances and roads after they closed indefinitely yesterday afternoon. The park says there’s hazardous air quality and they’ll reopen when conditions are safe. It comes after Sequoia National Park closed earlier this week. But Kings Canyon National Park is staying open with poor air quality.

A preschooler in Kelseyville has reportedly contracted coronavirus. The Kelseyville Unified Superintendent says they were informed a student at Kelseyville Elementary School tested positive, but no school staff were in contact with the student. Lake Co News reports the Lake County Superintendent of Schools posted a message on the Office of Education website yesterday saying the school had sent notice to parents and guardians at the school, which is not named. The preschool will close for 2 weeks after the date of last known exposure and the building is being closed for deep cleaning and disinfecting. The student apparently had no symptoms. In the latest demographics from the Lake County Public Health Dept. it shows 40 children from birth to age 12 have tested positive for COVID-19.

A big thumbs up at a couple of school districts in the North Shore of Lake County. Lake Co News reports after just about a month in class, the superintendents of both school districts, Lucerne and Upper Lake – say there have been no issues. The schools have new restrictions in place, smaller classes, hand sanitizer stations around the schools, regular playground disinfection, more bus runs, shorter school days, plexiglass cubicles and teaching stations, mask wearing, staggered lunch hours and more outdoor learning. Upper Lake schools got a new HVAC system. There’s no sports happening in either district. All of the county’s other school districts are still doing online learning.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors has approved the latest budget. They had their final budget hearing Wednesday, going thru each county department, one by one over two days’ time. The county approved a temporary hiring freeze. The cannabis industry is making good money for the county. A staff report says the code enforcement division has been kept busy with new cannabis businesses after nine years of pretty stagnant business. The proposed budget was just over $210,300,000 the same as last year.  

A new fire in the Clearlake area. The Wolf incident burning northeast of the city and last night was pegged at 15-20 acres, burning at a moderate rate of speed in grass. There were reports of multiple explosions, power lines down and structures threatened. There were no evacuations ordered by last night. Dispatch reports say a resident reported a propane tank explosion around the start of the fire. So firefighters who reported to the fire had left soon after and were going back to work on the August Complex.

Scientists say smoke from the fires ravaging Calif. and other Western states are now reaching Northern Europe. The fires that started a month ago in California, Oregon and Washington billowing unhealthy smoke affecting millions. Now scientists from CAMS, part of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts says while using satellite observations to track wildfire activity around the world they could detect the smoke. They say fire activity this year in the US has been “tens to hundreds of times more intense” than on average from 2003 to 2019 across the country as a whole.

Several more cases of coronavirus in Mendocino County. The county had some good news though, that it reached the next tier of the new system on reopening businesses in the state. There were 5 new cases yesterday and 9 on Wednesday. But the state has Mendocino County in the Red Tier for daily positive cases. The Red Tier is several weeks in a row with less than 7 daily positive cases. The public health office reports getting to the Red Tier is because of the work residents in the county are doing, practicing social distancing and consistent mask wearing. As of yesterday there had been 822 positive cases and 18 deaths.

CAL FIRE and the Mendocino County Sheriff put out a statement to thank community members for donating items, but they’re asking for any more donations to be directed to charities. Due to safety precautions because of the pandemic, the Sheriff and the CAL FIRE August Complex West Zone team ask that any volunteer efforts or donations go to local charities instead to help people displaced due to the fire. They also warn to be careful if you use an online donation platform.

Fort Bragg schools offering free meals to all children under 18. 5 days of meals and snacks can be picked up each Wednesday between 2 and 3 pm at Redwood Elementary and Dana Gray Elementary. Children must be 18 years of age or younger regardless of which school they attend, or whether or not they are enrolled in school at all. The meals provided weekly until either December, or the meals run out.

A man from Covelo’s been found guilty of two burglaries in the spring. The jury convicted Neil Waldron yesterday afternoon for two counts of commercial burglary in downtown Covelo in April. The burglaries at The Village Hearth and Keith’s Market. The man had spent time in prison on a similar crime in 2019 at Mina Burger and had just gotten out of prison when he committed the two new crimes. The case has been sent now to the Adult Probation Department for a background investigation and sentencing recommendation. He’s set for sentencing October 9th and is in custody until that time.


In the West Zone of the August Complex Fire, an Evacuation order in Mendocino County has been downgraded to a Warning. These are Orders we told you about this week in 4 zones covering areas South of the County Line. And road closures are reopened on Hearst Willits Road at the Eel River Bridge and FH-7 at M1 – Eel River. We’ve been here before, but the sheriff’s office is reminding to stay vigilant during the current fire conditions.  

Zone S:  South of the County Line, East of Bell Springs Rd, North of Bell Springs Creek and West of the North Fork of the Eel River.

Zone Q:  South of the County Line, West and North of the North Fork of the Eel River, North and East of Bald Mountain Road.

Zone D:  South and East of the Eel River, North of Bentley Basin and West of the National Forest Boundary.

Zone N:  North of the Middle Fork of the Eel River including the Eel River Ranger Station and Black Butte Store, West and South of the National Forest Boundary, East of Williams Creek.

A US Forest Service firefighter has been killed on the El Dorado Fire. Now 26 people have died in the fire that was sparked by a device at a gender reveal party in Southern Calif.

The Forest Service reports almost all of the eastern section of the south zone of the August Complex is nearly fully contained. They say there are only a few locations of uncontained line remaining. They’re conducting mop up operations in some locations, but most of the eastern area is progressing to a patrol and monitor status. The evacuation for Glenn County in the Mendocino National Forest was lifted this morning. This area of the fire is active on the southwest perimeter and north of Lake Pillsbury. They report extremely dry fuels and fast winds are carrying the fire south. More humidity carried by a cold front onshore with more cloud cover and some showers should help firefighters on the August Complex. The fire as a whole has now burned 824,118 acres and is still only 30% contained.

The public health officer in Sonoma County has announced major outbreaks of Covid-19 at more than a dozen pre-school and home-based child cares. More than 60 people have become infected with coronavirus at 13 facilities, 25 kids who are mostly under 6, 27 of their family members and 10 staffers at the preschools. None of them ending up in the hospital. Dr. Sundari Mase’s office had closed an unidentified preschool two weeks ago after there were 16 infected children. 30 infections were linked to the site where one child was sick. There’s a planned demonstration in downtown Santa Rosa today to get in person learning back at county schools. Dr. Mase says it’s not surprising, but she thinks it could be good to rethink in person class right now.

A winery in Geyserville faces a massive fine for doing work without a permit. The Press Democrat reports Sonoma County agriculture officials fined Skipstone Ranch and its owner Fahri Diner over $172,280, the most ever in the county – for grading an acre of land. Skipstone is appealing the July fine which has 3 violations attached to it. The newspaper reports county agriculture officials found industrial grading on a steep hill at the property in the Anderson Valley. A spokesperson for the winery says the construction was for repairs after the Kincade fire last fall.

The state insurance commissioner is looking at some regulatory changes to offset higher prices for consumers related to wildfire risk. The Department of Insurance is having a hearing with homeowners, industry experts and insurance providers for an accelerated premium for some homeowners, but they would find out how their property might be affected by wildfires, then they’d be assisted with mitigation. Commissioner Ricardo Lara  says “climate change is going to continue to disrupt communities through extreme heat and weather and affect our insurance markets” so looking at different insurance models is critical for him as a regulator.

3 more deaths related to COVID-19 have been reported in Lake County. The Public Health Officer, Dr. Gary Pace sent out notice last night that the three were all residents of a skilled nursing facility in Lakeport. 7 patients from Lakeport Post Acute have now died due to the pandemic, for a total of 10 people in the county. Dr. Pace says the 3 new deaths were all people over 65 with chronic health conditions. So far 30 residents have become sick there. Dr. Pace didn’t name the facility, but Lake Co News reports the state did. There have been 433 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county. Right now 54 are active and three people are in the hospital. The state is getting close to 800,000 cases and nearly 15,000 deaths.

The latest on the August complex is just under 818,000 acres have burned and it’s still at 30% containment. The fire has destroyed 35 structures and one person has died, a Texas firefighter early on in the fight after the fire started a month ago.  The fire continues to burn across the Mendocino, Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests. There are three zones being managed by CAL FIRE and the US Forest Service. The South Zone includes the Doe Fire, the largest of the 3. It’s burned into northern Lake County, and has charred 531,471 acres. They’re having a virtual public meeting on this zone tonight on Facebook on the Mendocino National Forest’s Facebook page. Last night they did the same for the West Zone. There are still multiple evacuation warnings and orders in place.

A man accused of child molestation in Clearlake has his trial set. 70 year old Bert Tino Besio will have his Jury Trial next Wednesday, September 23rd. It’s expected to last about a week. At a preliminary hearing almost a year ago, enough evidence was brought in to bring the case to trial. Besio’s charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a minor, five counts of forcible lewd acts on a child and three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child after a yearlong investigation. He’s accused of acts against two victims under 13. He was arrested last summer and pleaded not guilty.  

Not a good idea to trick or tweet this year. The word from the state Health and Human Services Director Dr. Mark Ghaly. Dr. Ghaly says things are different this year than in the past. He says taking your kids door to door to get candy is ill-advised during the pandemic, but there’s been no official word from the state, straight out banning it. The Governor is reportedly clarifying that in days to come. But last week LA County is strictly banning some trick-or-treating and gatherings with non-household members even outdoors. Car parades, Halloween movie nights at drive-ins, Halloween-themed meals at outdoor restaurants, and Halloween decorations on homes are allowed.

Learning hubs are being created in Lake County to help students who aren’t in person in class. The Lake County Office of Education, the local school districts and partnering organizations working together for the hubs following all Public Health guidelines. The hubs will be open during certain hours, and include the Clearlake Youth Center, Lower Lake Museum, Spring Valley Community Center and Behavioral Health Offices. There, kids will have access to the Internet, a site and school district representative, and they may even have access to transportation and get some food.

The August Complex is the largest fire to ever burn in the state. It’s at almost 820,000 acres and remains 30% contained. There are three zones to the fire with acreage all updated today – South Zone 484,754 acres, 30% contained; North Zone 248,573 acres, 25% contained; West Zone 78,706 acres, 5% contained. The acreage has been decreased some after the Forest Service updated their mapping. The Complex includes the Elkhorn, Hopkins, Willow, Vinegar, and Doe fires, the Doe, the largest, over 500,000 in the history books itself. Both CAL FIRE and the Forest Service are working together on the massive Complex. There is no date of anticipated containment, but there is a possibility of some light rain tonight and tomorrow after weeks of record temperatures in severe drought conditions. The fire’s expected to continue moving toward Lake Pillsbury, and to the west beyond the Impassable Rock area.

The Governor has announced money going to counties in the first round of Homekey. With that Mendocino County got almost $9.7M from the $600 million program to purchase and rehabilitate housing, including hotels, motels, vacant apartment buildings and other properties, and convert them into permanent, long-term housing for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. The County is negotiating to buy a motel on Orchard Ave. in Ukiah which will be used for transitional housing. The Governor announced Homekey in June, and in July made $600 million in funding available. $550M of that is going to cities and counties from federal Coronavirus Aid Relief Funds. $50 million more comes from the state to supplement the acquisition and provide initial operating funds.

A case of Covid-19 has shown up at the Lake County Jail. The Lake County Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace reported to jail staff an inmate had tested positive for the virus three days before going into the jail. The case is the only one in the jail and the inmate is asymptomatic. The inmate’s in isolation for 14 days after first being in a dorm. The dorm reportedly holds up to 15 inmates, but for social distancing, they only had two others there. Those two have also been tested and isolated. So far none are showing any symptoms of being sick. They all get masks and have to wear them while around others. The inmate who tested positive had been assigned work to clean common areas, but was directed to wear a mask and gloves.

The CAL FIRE and US Forest Service team on the August Complex have mapped out the burn of the fire for the West Zone, which is burning in Mendocino, Humboldt-Del Norte and Trinity counties. It’s at 35,398 acres. There are firefighters from the state of California, Montana, Utah, Texas, and New Jersey. Firefighters report the fire was active yesterday with torching in some areas. There’s a low pressure weather system headed here with relative low humidity. Tonight the unified resources are having a Facebook Live town hall to update on the fire.

Because of the August Complex, there’s continued widespread haze and smoke throughout Mendocino County the next few days. It’s been hot, dry and smokey due to a high pressure which forecasters say is weakening. The AQMD says smoke from surrounding wildfires is also hovering over the county, but it could come lower into the county due to fluctuating wind directions, bringing “Unhealthy” to “Very Unhealthy” air to the area. Yesterday the air monitors showed particulate matter concentrations in the “Moderate” to “Unhealthy” range for most parts of the county. If we’re lucky, we could get some rain by the end of the week.

Closures of National Forests have been extended to properties managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Nearly 50 properties that are inside or near the Forests are closed through at least Monday due to historic fire conditions. The closures of wildlife areas or ecological reserves across the state along with the temporary closure of all national forests put into place about a week ago. So hunters or recreationalists are encouraged to check for closures before they head out. You can visit the Fish and Wildlife Dept website for tag return and preference point eligibility requirements and more. 

Info released from the Fort Bragg City Council after a letter was sent to the city regarding the Thin Blue Line Flag on police patrol cars. A city Councilmember brought the letter up to the full council that a concerned citizen wrote in regarding the Thin Blue Line American Flags on the City of Fort Bragg Police Department patrol vehicles. They remind the flag memorial was put onto patrol cars after Deputy Ricky Del Fiorentino died. He was the first officer killed in the line of duty in Fort Bragg. The flag was created to honor those who protect and serve, not those who abuse their power. The department says it does not take away from their oath to Protect and Serve all persons of Fort Bragg and that they’ll continue to do this with the utmost respect for every person they encounter.  

Another death in the North Complex Fire east of Chico, just outside the burn scar of the Camp Fire 2 years ago. Now 15 people have died due to that fire, a victim found in the ruins.  Also the Butte County Superintendent of Schools has confirmed two elementary schools have burned, Berry Creek and Feather Falls. Crews however were able to get a better foothold as the weather was in their favor, but yesterday winds picked up again. They worked mostly in the Willow Creek area, but say the fire is still mostly within its own footprint, but there have been some spot fires. It’s at 273,335 acres and it’s 34% contained. The fire has extended out towards Lake Oroville, but did not burn in Paradise.

A man from Santa Rosa reported missing from family in the Kelseyville area…  A woman on Facebook reports her brother Josh Fowler has been missing for at least 2 weeks. She says he has most recently lived in Santa Rosa and may be in either a red pickup truck or a Volvo wagon. He has not been seen for three weeks by neighbors and his employer hasn’t spoken to him for nearly a month. He’s described as 5’7 about 135-140 pounds with dirty blonde/brown hair, blue eyes in his mid 30’s. His sister describes him as mentally unstable. If you’ve seen him, you’re asked to call Santa Rosa Police.

The Ukiah City Council to take up its plan on homelessness. Tonight at their virtual meeting, the “Strategic Plan to Address Homelessness” will be considered which was put together by a Continuum of Care of 31 public agencies and private non-profits in the county working with the unsheltered population. City staff note that services for the homeless go thru the county and the Continuum of Care, but homeless is felt most by police, fire departments and the streets and parks departments. A list of ways to combat homelessness was put together by the city a couple of years ago working with an expert in the field. The county has four goals, making the problem of homelessness “rare, brief and onetime” coming up with a community understanding of the issue, form an Outreach and Public Relations team for public presentations and teams or groups in each region to come up with strategies. The meeting tonight online at 6.

The Clearlake City Council considering a city code amendment for commercial cannabis rules and they’ll award a roads repair project after damage from the 2017 Sulphur fire. PG&E will also give an update on potential public safety power shutoffs. The council’s considering the final reading for a new Municipal Code on commercial cannabis businesses that would amend how many businesses could be in Clearlake. That includes delivery-only dispensaries. Right now the Municipal Code allows 3 retail dispensaries, 2 delivery-only dispensaries to two and 12 other cannabis businesses like those for indoor growing, distribution, manufacturing and labs. All would be the same except delivery and the other businesses would no longer be limited by number, instead on where they’re located. The council will meet beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17.

Because of the county’s shelter in place order, Clearlake City Hall remains closed to the public, however, the virtual meeting will be broadcast live on the city’s YouTube channel or the Lake County PEG TV YouTube Channel. Community members also can participate via Zoom.

Sherwood Firewise going over the evacuations as they related to the Oak Fire. The fire that burned 1,100 acres in Willits led to mandatory evacuations for the Brooktrails neighborhood. Firewise had their meeting last Thursday with a local volunteer firefighter who says their emergency access route, FIRCO, was useful. And board supervisor John Hashak said it was one of the successes of the fire, creating a shaded fuel break that the fire departments used which was important in fighting the fire.  There was some confusion though as to the evacuation zones not being permanent zones. But apparently that is something that’s being worked on. They also discussed internet access so evacuation maps can be viewed because the Nixle alert instructions were vague. About 3 dozen people utilized the evacuation center at Willits High.

Firefighters working the August Complex have four teams on the three zones. And with that they apparently counted some of the acreage twice. So the West Zone of the fire is actually at 42,171 acres. The fire was active overnight with isolated torching around the perimeter of the fire. Officials say there was moderate fire behavior and uphill slope-driven runs. They say since there’s a low pressure weather system they probably won’t make much progress today. And similar weather is expected tomorrow with low humidity. 7 structures have been destroyed in this Zone of the fire and 1 structure has been damaged. 14,000 structures are threatened. Full containment on this Zone is expected in 2 weeks from today, 9/30.

The South Zone continues to grow in some areas, but it’s staying the same in others. Firefighters were able to put in more control and containment lines yesterday and are doing some burning operations near Salt Creek. The fire’s moving toward Lake Pillsbury where extreme dry conditions and heavy fuels mean the fire’s growing. Firefighters trying to construct lines and using old 2018 Ranch fire lines. The fire also growing in the Yuki and Sanhedrin Wilderness Areas. Firefighters using air tankers for retardant drops. There are many evacuation orders and warnings for Mendocino, Lake, Humboldt and Trinity Counties. The South Zone has burned more than 531,000 acres. The August Complex-South Zone has a Virtual Public Meeting tomorrow at 7pm on the Mendocino National Forest Facebook page.

Police in Ukiah reportedly arrested a man with a strange looking gun. A patrol officer saw 19 year old Jonathan Cervantes of Ukiah and saw an open bottle of booze in the back seat of his car so he was detained. Then the cop saw a loaded 9mm handgun with an attached 32 round magazine under the driver’s seat during a search. The officer said the gun looked like a Glock, but it wasn’t fully functional and had no serial number or unique markings, something commonly referred to as a “Ghost Gun” since it cannot be traced. The man reportedly got the gun from someone else. He was arrested for various weapons charges and taken to jail.

A fire put out, but a possible arsonist on the run in Ukiah. Police reported getting a call to the fire in an area north of Mason Street between Clara Avenue and Ford Street. When they got there, they saw a wooden railroad trestle and several trees in flames. They evacuated residents and businesses. After the fire was put out, it was determined it had been an arson fire, now police are looking for a person of interest in the case.

Public health experts say smoke from the wildfires choking California carries dangerous levels of particulate matter. Studies show firestorms drive a spike in visits to the emergency room – especially among the elderly. Dr. Janice Kirsch is a medical oncologist trained in public health. She says the toxins in the smoke can cause serious damage.

 :13  “Breathing these particulates can cause or exacerbate heart disease, respiratory disease, lung cancer and probably other cancers. Prolonged repeated exposure leads to dementia and other behavioral problems in children.”

Tag:  Kirsch says indoor air quality can be almost as bad as outdoors – so she advises people to use an air purifier and turn on your air conditioner if you have one, to improve circulation. And if you have to go outside, N-95 masks not cloth masks to protect against coronavirus will not stop particulate matter.


Second Cut: Groups that fight climate change say the extreme drought, heat and wildfires are symptoms of a bigger problem. Kathy Dervin, with the nonprofit 350 Bay Area, says climate change is a public health emergency that demands rapid and transformative solutions.

 :13  “We have great goals for clean electricity, for cleaner fuels, for cleaner transportation. But we really need to front load those changes and not wait until the goal of 2045. We don’t have any time to wait.”

Tag:  In 2018, California lawmakers passed Senate Bill 100, which set a goal of 100 percent clean electricity by 2045. Now advocates say the state has made so much progress that they’re calling for a new deadline of 2030.

New evacuation orders for Mendocino County due to the August Complex… West Zone.

• ZONE- AB – South of the Middle Fork of the Eel River, west of Eden Creek, north of Salt Flat and east of Salt Creek.

• ZONE- AC – East of Brushy Mountain, south of the fire road on Salt Flat, west of Eden Valley and north of Bald Mountain.

There are also more road closures:

• Private driveway near Williams Creek is closed to north bound traffic

• Bell Springs closed to north bound traffic at Lundblade Ranch Road

• Mina Road is closed to north bound traffic at the bridge over the North Fork of the Eel River

• Mendocino Pass Road closed to east bound traffic just east of the Williams Creek Bridge

• Hearst Willits Road at the bridge, closed to east bound traffic

Oak Fire 100% – 1100 acres, 56 structures destroyed, 1 damaged.

CAL FIRE working with the US Forest Service and the Mendocino County and Humboldt County Sheriff Offices. There are resources from across the state, Montana, Utah, Texas, and New Jersey on the August Complex West Zone. The overall acreage of the August Complex has decreased due to more accurate mapping, intel and rezoning of the incident. But the fire was active yesterday, spotting and making uphill runs out of control with torching which is all expected to continue for the next few days. Damage Inspections teams are actively assessing the area. Aerial firefighting resources are being used as smoke conditions allow.  5 structures have been destroyed and 14000 are threatened. The fire has burned over 755,600 acres and is 30% contained.

There’s a virtual meeting on Facebook for the August Complex. Tomorrow night at 6 pm CAL FIRE is hosting the meeting where the Unified Commanders will provide details on the fire. They will take questions at the end of their comments. CAL FIRE is reminding the public to stay vigilant, adhere to road closures and any evacuation orders or warnings. A reminder if you see electrical wires on the ground, to steer clear and call 911 immediately. Trees and poles with deep charring, especially if they’re still smoking, should be considered hazardous. Please drive slowly and yield to emergency personnel in the area.

The August Complex has been updated with less acreage than we have been reporting due to better mapping. But the fire is active and only 30% contained. So far, the entire Complex has burned over 755,600 acres. But firefighters reported improved weather conditions yesterday so they could head towards the fire and fly over it to build lines and work aggressively to contain it. There’s been one section pushing deeper into the Mendocino National Forest northwest at the back of Sanhedrin Mountain and towards Dos Rios on privately owned land, so that means there are new mandatory evacuations south east of Dos Rios, north of Willits and south of Covelo. There are also road closures. The fire, the largest ever in Calif. with a 100 mile front from Trinity County to Lake County. Cal Fire reported active work east of Covelo, east of Hearst, east of the Island Mountain area, and east of King Rock into Trinity County. They say they’re trying to keep flames out of Covelo and Willits, but there is a mix of perfect conditions for fires to burn.

The President in Sacramento to get briefed on the wildfires by the Governor. He also recognized the Calif. National Guard for their work airlifting some campers who were stranded during the historical fires. The President blaming poor forest management for the deadly fires, but a lot of the fires right now are not burning in forests. He was asked about Climate Change and said the science is wrong and it will cool down…

The yearly budget meeting is being held by the Lake County Board of Supervisors. The hearings begin tomorrow and may spill into Thursday in the board chambers and online due to the pandemic. The County Administrative Officer Carol Huchingson is recommending a budget of over $292M, an increase of $34M over last year. Huchingson told the board after the pandemic first surfaced in the state there would be changes to the budget hearings, to extend them for presentations and to hear from the county department heads ahead of a final approval. The county has received some federal stimulus money and other cash from the state due to Covid-19. They were looking at possible cuts, but Huchingson says the stimulus money has helped. But departments are being told to stick with their same net costs as last year.

Congressman Mike Thompson is having another of his virtual town halls to talk climate change. The meeting this Thursday from 7 to 8 p.m. with special guest Rep. Kathy Castor (FL-14), who’s the chair of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. The congressman has had more than a dozen of these virtual town halls this year. It’ll be over Zoom and limited to 500 people, but they also stream on Thompson’s Facebook page. Thompson represents California’s Fifth Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties.

The August Complex has been divided into three zones, the North, South and West for management purposes. CAL FIRE and the US Forest Service working together on the largest fire to ever burn in Calif. At 755,600 acres. It’s only 30% contained. Firefighters working with soldiers from Washington State’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord in the Mendocino Forest. They’ve built a dozer line around the Salt Creek Conservation Camp and another structure protection group is in the Pillsbury Lake Basin to help protect infrastructure there. Yesterday they reported that the fire had crossed containment lines in the Yuki Wilderness Sunday. It’s been a challenge due to winds, high temperatures and dry fuels.

An alleged arsonist in Ukiah has been arrested. Last week reports of a fire at the Redwood Tree Service Station. When firefighters got to the business in the 800 block of N. State St. they found a wooden gazebo on fire and part of the exterior of the building. There was major damage to the building as smoke got inside. Police detectives looked at video surveillance and saw someone on the property at the time the fire started. Enhanced video showed to patrol officers who matched the description to a man walking along that block of N. State St. A local homeless man David Zakedis was stopped and interviewed and he admitted he started the fire. Zakedis was arrested without incident for arson, committing arson during a state of emergency and a violation of probation and held in county jail.


More fighters keep being added to the state due to the historic fires. A month ago, lightning storms or as the state is calling it a siege, that ignited dozens of fires. Right now there are more than 16,600 firefighters still working on the front lines of 25 major wildfires. There was more activity yesterday on several wildfires, but others made progress toward full containment. The Oak Fire burned 1,100 acres near the Brooktrails neighborhood in Willits. It’s now 100% contained, but destroyed more than 50 structures. There us still a red flag warning in several areas of the state and temperatures were expected to warm too. But the weekend should be cooler, even as the state is dry and ripe for more fires. The August Complex has grown, it’s now burned nearly 803,500 acres, it’s 30% contained. The North/South Zone 754,480 acres, 30% contained, West Zone 49,009 acres, 0% contained. There’s been one fatality, early on in the fight. A firefighter from Texas.

That planned massive resort in Lake County is getting push back. The 16,000-acre project between Clear Lake and Napa Valley, the Guenoc Valley project by Lotusland Investment got the greenlight by the Board of Supervisors in July. It’s situated off Highway 29 outside Middletown and north of Calistoga. The proposal includes 400 hotel units in five “boutique” complexes and 450 resort units, 1,400 estate villas, 500 workforce units. The Press Democrat reports on the lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity to get the decision tossed out due to what they call an inadequate environmental document. Now the lawyer for the group has pointed to the Hennessey Fire as an example how fires could encroach upon the property. But project managers say there will be fire-safety elements and more staffing at the local fire protection district.

Part of the massive August Complex known as the South Zone, the largest part of the fire is just under 523,000 acres and 30% contained. Firefighters are focusing on that part of the fire which is in Lake County in the Lake Pillsbury Basin. CAL FIRE reports good progress in the northern area of the South Zone and mop up operations on the perimeter of the eastern side of the Crane Mills property. Wind gusts of up to 20 mph were expected, but some moisture is expected tomorrow, with higher humidity.  There are Evacuation Orders in effect for Mendocino, Lake, Glenn, Humboldt and Trinity Counties.

There are new evacuation warnings for Mendocino County in the West Zone southeast of Highway 162. They’re in what they’re calling Zone AN and Zone AQ, South of Highway 162 and the Eel River, west of Salt Creek, north of Brushy Creek and the Eel River, east of Highway 162; also North of the Eel River, south and east of Highway 162, west of Redwine Springs.

Areas of Mendocino County, Evacuation Order:
• ZONE- H- West of National Forest boundary, north of Thomas Creek and the Eel River, and east of Twin Bridges Creek, south of Bald Mountain
• ZONE- I- West of Elk Creek south of Deep Hole Creek, north of the National
Forest Boundary
• ZONE- W- West of the Eel River, north of Deep Hole Creek, east of Eden
Valley, including the entire valley floor, south of Eden Creek
Other Areas of Mendocino County, Evacuation Warning:
• South of the Middle Fork of the Eel River, west of Eden Creek, north of Salt Flat and east of Salt Creek, ZONE- AB
• East of Brushy Mountain, south of the fire road on Salt Flat, west of Eden Valley and north of Bald Mountain, ZONE- AC
• South and west of the Eel River, north of Foster Mountain Road, east of the
ridge west of Willits Road, ZONE- AD
• North of Twin Bridges Creek, east of the Eel River, south of Brushy Creek and west of Brushy Mountain, ZONE- AE

The US Forest Service and CAL FIRE working together on the biggest fire to ever burn in California. Their coordinated response to manage and suppress the August Complex which has three zones for management purposes, the North, South and West Zones. All together the fire has burned 755,603 acres with 30% containment. The fire size slightly down after more accurate mapping and establishing management zones. Firefighters are mopping up all along the fire’s perimeter with ground and aerial resources. Some of it being done by soldiers from Washington’s Joint Base Lewis-McChord. A dozer line is being completed around the Salt Creek Conservation Camp and a structure protection group has been established in the Pillsbury Lake Basin. Crews are monitoring and patrolling the fire area. The fire has also crossed containment lines in the Yuki Wilderness and made a run to the west. Greg Gonzalez one of the managers on the incident…  Firefighters are working in smoky conditions again today with low relative humidity and cooler temperatures in the the upper 70s to mid-80s. There is wind expected of 10-15 mph with gusts up to 20 mph. Fire activity will continue to remain high due to critically dry fuels.

Another day of critical fire weather due to dry conditions, low humidity and less smoke hovering over the fire zone. The joint handling of the massive August complex by the Forest Service and Cal Fire with priority in the North Zone for structure protection, line construction (away from the fire’s edge), direct line construction and tactical firing operations. The President met with the Governor today on the various fires burning across the state too.

A rare “fire tornado” hits the Central Valley near Huntington Lake in Fresno County. That from the Creek fire which spread fast last week. High flying flames mixed with fast moving wind caused trees to be uprooted. The Huntington Lake Volunteer Fire Department Chief and others in his department caught pictures and videos they were going to show evacuees. The fire tornado, aka fire whirl due to intense heat which causes hot air to surge up from the ground and form a whirl or tornado-like rotating column of air. The State Fire Marshall’s inspectors say the fire behavior is the worst they’ve seen in their careers. 

At a special meeting of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors they declared a local emergency due to wildfires. They also agreed to a local health emergency related to the fires, air quality and increased risk of spreading Covid-19. The new health officer Dr. Andy Coren says the fires are a hazard to human life.

He also commented on the threat of spreading COVID amongst evacuees…

The Oak Fire has stayed at 1,100 acres and is at 95% containment as of the last report last night. At the meeting Friday, the chief of Cal Fire’s Mendo Unit, George Gonzalez said firefighters were working in difficult terrain. He also spoke about the massive August Complex which triggered new evacuations this weekend outside Covelo. The fire has several zones since it’s so big, burning almost 756,000 acres with very low containment still. Thankfully there has been no loss of life due to this fire.

Sheriff Matt Kendall at the meeting with the supervisors explaining the zones and how they’re divided… 

The Emerald Triangle of Mendocino Trinity and Humboldt County inundated with smoke, but the sheriff says that’s actually helped slow forward movement of the fires.

For the first time in months there were no new cases of Covid-19 in Mendocino County, then the weekend arrived and there were several. The 11 new cases this weekend bring the county total to 789.

More evacuations ordered by the Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall due to the August Complex, West Zone.  The Eden Valley Area, Bennett Valley, and the West Face Of Sanhedrin Mountain. There are also warnings for several areas on the Sheriff’s Facebook page. There are also road closures near Williams Creek, Bell Springs, Mendocino Pass Road and Hearst Willits Road at the bridge. As far as the Oak Fire goes, all of the Evacuation Orders and Warnings have been lifted. There had been only one zone left under Evacuation Order, but several warnings were still in place, now that’s all over and all road closures were also lifted. There may be some slow going though as fire crews and utility workers are still working there while unburned areas continue to burn inside the containment lines.

The biggest fire to ever burn in Calif. the August Complex now at over 755,000 acres with only 30% containment. The fire’s front is one hundred miles long as it moves towards the Central Valley. It’s burned across the Mendocino National Forest, the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness, the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and Six Rivers National Forest. It’s burning towards the Emerald Triangle marijuana region at a time of harvest. The fire almost double the size of the state’s largest fire before this, the 2018 Mendocino Complex in Lake and Mendocino counties. The fire is burning outside Covelo now and toward Alder Point in Humboldt County. It’s also threatening critical communications where there were mandatory Evacuation Orders this weekend.

Sheriff Matt Kendall and others from his department hoping to educate and prepare people who migrate to the Emerald Triangle for the harvest. There are typically only 14-1,500 who regularly live in Covelo, but this time of year, there could be 10,000 or so. The Sheriff commented yesterday that the cooler weather and calmer winds helped firefighters into difficult to reach terrain to build breaks and protect communities, but windier days are coming. The Complex began due to lightning nearly a month ago along with the LNU Lightning Complex which is barely alive, but still burning.

There are no shelters set up in Lake County during high heat. The Record Bee reports the onsite manager of Elijah House for the homeless of Lake County told them they’ve seen more people lately who cannot deal with the smoke. He says there are more and more people coming in daily, trying to find shelter or who’ve been evacuated. PG&E says 29 counties have cooling centers. They’re just sending info out to tell you how to prepare for a power outage, if they turn your electric off.

Two teenagers from Ukiah have been arrested for having illegal weapons and running from police in Hopland. Ukiah police report seeing a sedan driving without headlights early Friday morning, so they stopped the car. Then the driver took off at unsafe speeds through the residential neighborhood and headed onto the 101 driving faster than 100 miles an hour and crossing into the opposite side of the highway. CHP joined the chase, but when they hit the Hopland area, they stopped, hitting a fence., Cops detained the two, one a 17 year old, the driver, who was arrested for felony evading, being an unlicensed driver and several other felonies. The passenger, 18 year old Christian Hernandez arrested on weapon and drug charges. The two booked into jail, the 17 year old, to juvenile hall.

Lake County Board of Supervisors to get an update on COVID. They’re due to get updates weekly from the Public Health Officer, Dr. Gary Pace. They’ll meet tomorrow morning for the in person and online meeting. No community members are allowed in person. They ask those interested to submit questions beforehand, you can see the agenda on the county’s website. The board’s considering a resolution for straight-time overtime pay for management employees who work over their regular 40 hours a week because of local emergencies due to the LNU Lightning Complex Fire and COVID-19.

Cal Fire and the US Forest Service are working together to manage the massive August Complex fire. It’s been separated into three zones: South, North and West. The South Zone mostly in the Mendocino National Forest, from the South Yolla Bolly Middle Eel Wilderness to about Lake Pillsbury at nearly 756,000 acres for the entire Complex. Now the largest ever in Calif. Firefighters working on the Doe Fire which is about half of the whole Complex, mopping up around the containment lines, reducing fuels and increasing fire breaks, lines and where hoses can be used.  They’re using airplanes for drops when they can and are patrolling and monitoring the fire. There are new evacuation Orders and Warnings.

Firefighters still working the LNU Lightning Complex, which is just barely 100% contained. The fire started in the middle of August with others ignited by dry lightning strikes. The fire has burned 363,220 acres. The part of the fire that burned into Lake County, the Hennessey burned just over 305,650 acres. It also blackened land in Colusa, Solano and Yolo counties and the Walbridge fire in Sonoma County has burned more than 55,200.

Most of the people evacuated in the Brooktrails neighborhood have been allowed to return home. One area, officials call Zone 1 has to stay out of the area, that’s the area of Third Gate Road, Skyview Road, Big John Road, Live Oak Drive, and Ryan Creek Road west of the 101. There will be law enforcement stationed in the area with new road closures so nobody can enter the area where there is active fire burning. So both access roads to Ryan Creek Road from the 101 (north and south) and Third Gate road near the Metzler Ridge Road intersection. Nobody can pass the road closures and get into Zone 1 because there is fire damage. There are still evacuation warnings for 3 other Zones. The fire has burned 1,100 acres and destroyed 20 structures. 20 others are damaged and 2,000 are threatened. It’s 40% contained.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors in a special meeting have ratified the Public Health officer’s health emergency declaration due to the LNU Lightning Complex Fire. The fire burned 85,000 acres and destroyed several homes in Lake County, and 363,220 total acres across Lake, Colusa, Napa, Solano, Sonoma and Yolo counties. The fire is 95% contained, but there’s no date certain for full containment yet. The Hennessey Fire, part of the Complex, is the fire that burned in Lake. It’s also 95 percent contained. Lake Co News reports there were thousands, possibly up to 7,000, residents told to evacuate because of the fire.  All evacuation orders and warnings have since been lifted. Hundreds of firefighters are still assigned to the Complex to get that final containment.  The county’s Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace told the board yesterday the emergency proclamation was “mainly to help us move through the cleanup process” which he estimated could begin today.

A lawsuit has been filed against Lake County after a major resort and residential project was approved. The Center for Biological Diversity is suing to get the approval of the Guenoc Valley Mixed Use Planned Development Project reversed. The so-called Maha Guenoc Valley development on 16,000 acres with nearly 1,400 residential estate villas, 400 hotel units and 450 resort residential units. There are also campsites, workforce units, a spa, sports fields, equestrian center, golf course and outdoor entertainment area. Only one Board Supervisor, Rob Brown voted against the project. The Center for Biological Diversity objecting to it being in a fire-prone area with one two-lane road in and out, and that it will bring pollution. They also claim the county’s environmental impact report had violated the state’s Environmental Quality Act.

A man killed in a head on crash near Middletown last week has been identified. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office reports 74 year old Robert Lewis Cromer was killed in the crash last Friday morning on Highway 29 after he was hit by a Kia Optima driven by Bryan Taber of Clearlake Oaks. The CHP reports Taber in the northbound on Highway 29 and drifted across the double yellow lines and crashed into Cromer. Cromer died at the scene of the crash and Taber had major injuries and was reportedly DUI of prescription meds.

A woman from Lake County has been arrested after a fire broke out along the railroad tracks near the Adventist Health Ukiah Valley hospital in Ukiah. Police say they got several calls Wednesday about the fire in the 200 block of Hospital Drive and that the person who may have been responsible was still parked nearby. Police reported to the area with Ukiah Valley Fire Authority, but the fire had been put out by community members. It burned vegetation and bark after someone says they saw the woman, now identified as Michele Gray toss a burning piece of paper. Gray, aka Michele Huey, of Lucerne also had a felony warrant for her arrest regarding four arsons in Willits on Christmas Eve last year. She’s now charged with suspicion of arson, and arson during a state of emergency and held on $25,000 bail.

The Humboldt County Health Officer says an outbreak of coronavirus led to more than 20 cases after a gathering of as many as 50 people. Health Officer Teresa Frankovich says it’s still against state rules to have gatherings of any size outside a household or living unit. She says now there are positive cases in others who were not at the party because they were exposed to others who were there. She says staying within your own household unit is safest but if you do socialize outside your household, to do it safely with less than 6 people; outdoors only; wear masks unless you are at least 6 feet apart; bring your own food and drinks; carry and use hand sanitizer and if possible, socialize only with this small group.

Fires that had been part of the August Complex and now part of a new one, called the North Zone. It’s made up of the Elkhorn, Hopkins, Vinegar Peak and Willow Basin and are being managed by a different US Forest Service team. The fire’s burning on the Mendocino, Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests. Crews working to protect structures in the Ruth Valley. They’re trying to push it to Horse Ridge and Soldier Basin.  The Hopkins just about 50,000 acres and is zero percent contained, the Elkhorn at 69,735 is 58% contained. But the August Complex which still includes these fires as of last night had burned an astounding 746,607 acres. It’s still only 25% contained. More than 2,000 homes have been destroyed in the North Complex, 10 people have been killed and 16 others are missing.

Fires in California this year have burned 26 times higher more acreage than in 2019 during the same time period. There have been 19 fatalities and more than 3,900 structures have been destroyed. The increase in the number of fatalities includes seven more confirmed in the newly named North Complex Fire in Butte County which had been part of the August Complex. The fire blew up yesterday due to the merging of the Elkhorn, Hopkins, Willow, and Vinegar fires. But the smoke layer over a lot of Northern California will help maintain cooler temperatures this weekend and next week increased humidity will also help. But actual expected fire weather is normally in September and October.  The Oak Fire has grown some to 1,100 acres from 863 a day before. Containment also grew to 40% and most evacuees have been allowed to go home in the Brooktrails neighborhood. One Zone is still evacuated and three are warned they could have to leave again.

The LNU Lightning Complex has burned 363,220 acres and firefighters are working to surround the last bit of the fire. It’s 95% contained and has destroyed almost 1,500 acres and killed 5 people, including a traveling firefighter from Texas.

The North Complex, mostly burning in Plumas County has burned 252,534 acres and is 23% contained with evacuations in place. The August Complex is now at almost 491,450 acres and is only 25% contained. It’s burning in the Mendocino National Forest and two others. It’s the largest ever in the state now, blowing past the Mendocino Complex. There will be a another Virtual Public Meeting, last night it was Cal Fire on the Oak Fire, tonight at 7 for the August and North Zone Complex Fires. It’ll be on the Mendocino National Forest @MendocinoNF Facebook page.

FEMA has approved a one week extension on the deadline for those needing help after the LNU Complex. You then have until tomorrow instead of last Saturday to apply with FEMA for critical needs if you’ve lost your home. The Critical Needs Assistance program for life-saving and life-sustaining items like water, food, first aid, prescriptions, infant formula, diapers, consumable medical supplies, durable medical equipment, personal hygiene items, and fuel for transportation. It’s a onetime $500 payment per household. Your pre-disaster primary residence has to be in Lake, Monterey, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, or Yolo County.

The August Complex has now become the deadliest of the year with reports this morning of ten deaths, in Butte County. The Sheriff there announced seven deaths yesterday and 16 more are missing. And more bodies may be found the Sheriff says as teams are sifting thru burned ground.  A team of anthropologists from Chico State University are helping. More than 2,000 homes and other buildings have been destroyed in the part of the fire, now dubbed the North Complex. Burning in some parts that were devastated by the Camp Fire, not even two years ago. There was an evacuation warning for Paradise lifted yesterday. The town was mostly destroyed by the Camp Fire. There are still about 20,000 people under evacuation orders or warnings in three counties from the fire.

Most of Brooktrails can go home, except “Zone 1” – and includes the areas Third Gate Road, Skyview Road, Big John Road, Live Oak Drive, and Ryan Creek Road west of Highway 101.

WHAT: Fire officials will provide an operational update on the current status of the Oak fire in the Willits area of Mendocino County and be available to answer questions submitted online via Facebook.
WHEN: 6:00 p.m. Thursday September 10, 2020
WHERE: Facebook Live –
CAL FIRE is committed to providing the public with regular incident updates and information. This meeting will be a virtual event to ensure we are keeping the public informed while providing for proper Covid procedures for social distancing. We are committed to answering your online questions and will field some questions at the conclusion of the virtual meeting, all others will be answered online via Facebook.
SAFETY MESSAGE – The public is reminded to stay vigilant on current fire conditions. Please continue to adhere to road closures and any evacuation orders or warnings. If you see electrical wires on the ground, stay clear and contact 911 immediately. Trees and poles with deep charring, particularly if still smoking, should be considered hazardous. Please drive slowly and yield to emergency personnel in the area.

The 101 is opened again near the Oak Fire outside Willits. Cal Trans announced the reopening last night as the fire’s containment grew. The fire is still at 863 acres and is now 25% contained. The fire burning north of Brooktrails into a canyon along the highway. Cal Fire had announced the highway would be closed indefinitely, but lower temperatures and smoke hovering in the area due to other fires helped firefighters get a foothold on the fire. 2 structures are known to have burned, but Cal Fire’s damage inspection teams are going to survey the area to see if there are more. 

There are new evacuations in Humboldt County due to fires in the Shasta Trinity and Mendocino Forests. Garberville is also under an evacuation warning. What was part of the August Complex and now part of a new Complex instead. The two fires burning in Glenn, Lake, Mendocino, Tehama, Trinity and Humboldt counties. The Mendocino County Sheriff ordered evacuations yesterday. The August Complex has jumped the Black Butte River and M1 Forest Road. It’s also burning in the Yuki Wilderness, and possibly into the Middle Fork Eel River Canyon.  Aircraft has not been able to assess the area due to heavy smoke and wind. The Elkhorn and Hopkins are part of the new Rock Complex. The Hopkins Fire had zero percent containment and burned almost 50,000 acres and the Elkhorn has burned 69,735 acres and is 58% contained.

A badly decomposed body’s been found in the Mendocino National Forest, it had nothing to do with the fires. It was last month, August 9th, that deputies got a call that possible human remains were found. So detectives from the Department’s Major Crimes Unit responded and determined the remains were human and badly decomposed. There was an autopsy that week revealing it was 48 year old John Dickerson of Nice who was a murder victim. Detectives have not released how he died and are still investigating. They ask anyone who may have known him to call.

Still thousands evacuated near the Brooktrails neighborhood and more warned to be ready. Several others told to leave their home near Covelo due to the August Complex which started almost 3 weeks ago. The August Complex which has now been split into two Complex’s has burned nearly 422,000 acres, the second most acreage in the state. It’s only 24% contained. As we reported yesterday all US Forests are now closed in the state. There were 8 closed Monday, then yesterday another 10, including the Mendocino National Forest due to explosive growth of fires throughout the state.

Another fire is threatening thousands of homes in 3 counties, Butte, Plumas and Yuba. The North Complex has killed three people and several others have been critically burned. Several structures have burned and at least 20,000 people have been evacuated or warned they may have to leave their homes. The fire has burned more than 252,000 acres and is only 24% contained. Part of the town of Paradise, which was mostly destroyed by the Camp Fire in 2018, is under an evacuation warning. 85 people died in that fire. The 3 deaths announced by the Butte County sheriff this time, but no further details were released. Several homes have been destroyed in the county.

The oldest state park in California is closed after damage brought by another fire, the CZU August Lightning Complex fires. The State Parks department says there was damage to Big Basin Redwoods State Park and the surrounding community in Santa Cruz. The redwoods in the park are unstable, so they have to be stress tested ahead of winter storms before the public can return. One of the scientists at the park says no prescribed burns, along with vegetation buildup were contributing factors for the worst fire in Big Basin park in recorded history. The park’s headquarters burned along with the main lodge, ranger station, nature museum and campground facilities.

PG&E says nearly 100% of those who lost power in the latest public safety power shutoff are back online. The utility activated the power down Monday night for 22 counties including some in Lake County, but not Mendo due to red flag weather conditions. Yesterday PG&E went about inspecting their equipment by air and the ground, on more than 10,750 miles of transmission and distribution power lines, but had to stop for a time because of unsafe flying conditions. They say they found no wind-related damage to their equipment. Only 24 residents of Lake County were affected and none were medical baseline customers. There are still some 5,000 customers in Butte, Humboldt, Napa, Plumas, Sierra, Trinity and Yuba counties without power, but it’s expected to be back on by noon today.

There’s been another death from COVID-19 in Mendocino County. The Public Health Dept. also announced only one new case yesterday, for a total of 778. The new death happened outside the county, but the health department did include it on the latest coronavirus dashboard data.

A big rig rollover closed Highway 1 about three miles from the 101 in Leggett.  The California Highway Patrol reported the rig was totally blocking the highway so there was no way to get through as the 101 was still closed at the time due to the Oak Fire. Neither is the case now, as the 101 was reopened around 830 or so last night and the big rig accident on the 1 was cleaned up about an hour later.

A local health emergency has been declared in Lake County due to smoke from the LNU Lightning Complex. The Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace declared the local health emergency yesterday saying it’s the first step in recovery for those who’ve been impacted by this fire. It will help the county get more resource. In the county 85,000 acres have burned and 9 structures were destroyed. The Board of Supervisors will also have to ratify the declaration, that happens at a special meeting today. Dr. Pace says cleanup of the destroyed homes could start as soon as tomorrow. Residents seeking more information related to community disaster resources should access the website

Even though the August Complex has been split into two Complexes, the Forest Service is reporting together, they’ve burned 471,185 acres. The massive fire is only 24 percent contained. They report wind continued yesterday causing significant spread due to more fire activity on the west side of the fire and heavy smoke across the area. The official split of the August and the new Rock Complex happens tomorrow morning with the Great Basin Incident Management Team assuming command. Crews found the fire had gone into the Yuki Wilderness and private lands to the north and west of the wilderness. Firefighters were trying to protect structures there, but some burned due to the rapid growth over two days, nearly 200,000 acres. Right now it’s not known how many structures have burned. Evacuation orders are in effect for multiple counties.  There is a virtual community meeting tonight at 7 pm on the Mendocino National Forest Facebook page, located at:

A harmful algae has been detected in the Navarro River. The California Department of Parks and Recreation says high levels of cyanotoxins can be unhealthy for pets and humans. They warn not to touch the water or let pets drink the water or go into the river. And not to eat fish or shellfish from the river or use river water for drinking or cooling. And the Parks and Rec Dept. warns even boiling or filtering the water, won’t make it safe.  If you happen to come into contact with infected water, you should get out and rinse off immediately and quickly seek medical attention if there are adverse effects.

The Oak Fire has not moved more thankfully, with the containment up a bit too. Firefighters kept the Willits fire from growing thanks to lower winds than expected. The fire started Monday afternoon near the Brooktrails neighborhood. The fire quickly jumped to 700-acres by nighttime Monday. Yesterday it grew to 863 acres and went from 5-10% contained thanks to cooler temperatures. There was also smoke hovering over the fire from the August Complex fires burning in the Mendocino National Forest. Cal Fire reported the smoke cover, lower temperatures and calmer wind assisted firefighters. There are more than 4,300 people evacuated and another 2,275 were warned they may also have to leave.  13 miles of the 101 north of Willits has been closed indefinitely until trees can be cleared. Also air pollution is bad in the area, hitting the top of the six tier scale last night according to the EPA. Some said it seemed like the middle of the night, in the middle of the day, calling it apocalyptic. 2 structures have been destroyed.

The August Complex grew last night to 421,899 acres leading to more evacuation orders east of Covelo yesterday.  It’s only 24% contained. That fire was the reason for the evening like skies above Willits.  State Senator Mike McGuire says Cal Fire has been monitoring the August Complex Fire. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook the fire was just four miles from the Eel River Work Center, the boundary of the National Forest. The Press Democrat reports McGuire saying firefighters, engines and dozers will hopefully be able to leave the Oak fire as soon as containment is higher to help on the August Complex. More firefighters are expected in Mendocino County this afternoon.

A fire in Clearlake had police door knocking telling people they had to evacuate. The fire yesterday afternoon triggered mandatory evacuations for a four block area. Roads were also closed as nearby structures were threatened and one burned. A couple helicopters were above the fire last night dropping water on the flames. Lake Co News reports one structure and multiple cars burned, but forward progress on the fire was stopped within a couple hours.

A flare-up reported on the massive LNU Lighting Complex in Sonoma County. The Walbridge fire has been mostly burning within its own containment lines. It’s 90% contained, but it’s burned 20 more acres about four miles west of downtown Windsor.  They had the flare-up corralled in a few hours, but there were new mandatory evacuations for people who had just been allowed to go home again after another round of evacuations. Some of the new orders were lifted again yesterday morning. But others were in place still last night.

A student from Sonoma State University reportedly contracted coronavirus and is isolating on campus. The school announced the student is in a dorm designated for infected students and is being monitored. Also word that three school employees are also being monitored for symptoms due to exposure. The university also announcing a staff member had the virus, testing positive August 24th but it’s unrelated to the student. The employee also was not on campus when she was symptomatic, but didn’t tell the school about her positive test until after she was considered recovered. All staff and students have to do daily health assessments and immediately tell the school if they have tested positive.

Mendocino County has a new health order regarding Covid-19. The order was released last night and became effective immediately. It follows the new State tiered system, and remains in the purple, Widespread risk category. But there are some modifications for transient lodging and certain State-permitted outdoor gatherings.  The 24 hour vacancy restriction between reservations is no longer. Also the cap on outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people are removed.  But there is a restriction that it be limited to accommodate people and still maintain a minimum of six feet social distancing between attendees from different households or living units. Also outdoor venues for gatherings and church services can reopen too. Worship services are required to have contact sign in sheets for two weeks after their events for possible contact tracing.

Another death has been reported in Lake County due to coronavirus. The Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace announced the death yesterday of another resident of a senior care facility where there had been an outbreak. Dr. Pace says the patient was older than 65 and had underlying chronic medical issues. They had tested positive before becoming ill.

A change in regulations says any child in the Ukiah area under 18 years old is eligible for free food from the Ukiah Unified School District. The School District out with the information that Ukiah High will have food distribution on Wednesdays from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm regardless of weather. There will be no bus deliveries though. It’s breakfast and lunch, thanks to a state program that covers the meals. There’s also a free drive thru BBQ today for all children in the district and in the community from 3:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Ukiah High.

A warning about air quality due to the smoke coming from the August Complex, Red Salmon and Oak Fires. The Air Quality Management District says to expect widespread haze and smoke in most of Mendocino County. Right now there’s dense smoke over the county, but the changing wind directions and high pressure can move the smoke down to the surface bringing “Very Unhealthy” to “Hazardous” air to the area. Air monitors show particulate matter concentrations in the “Moderate” to “Unhealthy” range for most parts of the County and “Hazardous” to Willits and its surrounding area. Inland communities may experience episodes of “Very Unhealthy” air quality. Coastal areas can have “Good” air quality conditions in the morning and “Moderate” and “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” later in the day.

Nurse practitioners in Calif can have their own practices. Thanks to a bill by North Coast Assemblyman Jim Wood, now awaiting the Governor’s signature. Wood says working for the last 2 years on the bill was challenging and sometimes unpleasant because of the opposition. He says there were more than a dozen organizations representing doctors from outside of the state launching attacks that were full of misinformation and they made uncivilized personal attacks. But the California Association for Nurse Practitioners was behind him. Wood says 11 million residents don’t live near a health care provider, and his bill will allow nurse practitioners to provide care without a doctor supervising. He says the pandemic has shown we have a serious shortage of primary care doctors in California.

As they have many times in the past, the Redwood Credit Union Community Fund has started a Fire Relief Fund. The 2020 Fire Relief Fund for those who’ve lost their homes to recent fires and ahead of any other fires that may cause others to lose their home. The president and CEO says every year there are new wildfires, “taking a toll on our communities’ emotional and financial wellness”. He says putting the relief fund together for survivors “simply feels like the right thing to do.” 100% of the tax-deductible donations are given directly to fire survivors who have lost their primary residence in Sonoma, Marin, Napa, and Lake counties. For more info,

Since lawmakers had two months off because of the pandemic, a slew of bills await the governor’s signature. If he doesn’t sign, it passes, unless he vetoes it first. Legislators back in May passed a smaller state budget due to coronavirus. There were also several hundred bills that had to be tabled because of the new budget deficit, instead of surplus. Some included allowing police to get involved if they see other officers using excessive force, allow homeowners to get a forbearance on mortgages during the pandemic, and a “Green New Deal” like package to fight climate change.

Growth on the LNU Lightning Complex has not moved, and in fact Cal Fire has adjusted the acreage, down about 12,000 acres the last couple of days. The fire is at 363,220 acres and is 92% contained. The largest in the complex the Hennessey itself has burned just under 318,000 and is 92% contained. The Walbridge fire has been active near Windsor, with fresh evacuations, but the containment was not broken, it’s at 54,940 acres and is 95% contained. The Complex has destroyed almost 1,500 structures. There have been 5 deaths and 5 people injured.

The Community Foundation of Mendocino County has granted several thousand dollars to Mendocino College. A $10,000 check was donated to support the Mendocino College Food Pantry from the Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund. The president of the College accepted the money last Friday. The Foundation started the relief fund in March after the pandemic first surfaced. It was put together to help individuals, non-profits, and small businesses in the county. SO far they’ve awarded over $700,000 countywide to support those impacted by the pandemic.

The fire in the Mendocino Forest is not stopping and the containment is not growing. The August Complex exploded in size yesterday, but now one of the fires in the Complex has been removed from the acreage count and will be managed as part of another Complex. The August Complex has burned more than 372,000 acres and is 24 percent contained. But the Hopkins Fire which has burned nearly 50,000 acres in the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness. Windy conditions continued today and structure protection is in place with new evacuations by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office for the Island Mountain and Mina areas north of Bell Springs and north of Covelo. The August Complex is burning where Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties meet. The Doe Fire is the biggest fire burning in the August Complex and stays as part of that Complex. But the Hopkins and Elkhorn, and Willow Basin fires, which are mostly burning in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, will become part of the new complex, the Rock Complex.

All National Forests in Calif. have been closed due to the historical fires across the state. The Pacific Southwest Region of the US Forest Service announced they are closing ten more National Forests, so the entire National Forest system in the state is closed. The addition to earlier closures now includes the Eldorado National Forest, Klamath National Forest, Lassen National Forest, Mendocino National Forest, Modoc National Forest, Six Rivers National Forest, Plumas National Forest, Shasta-Trinity
National Forest, Tahoe National Forest, and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.

PG&E says nearly 100% of those who lost power in the latest public safety power shutoff are back online. The utility activated the power down Monday night for 22 counties including some in Lake County, but not Mendo due to red flag weather conditions. Yesterday PG&E went about inspecting their equipment by air and the ground, on more than 10,750 miles of transmission and distribution power lines, but had to stop for a time because of unsafe flying conditions. They say they found no wind-related damage to their equipment. Only 24 residents of Lake County were affected and none were medical baseline customers. There are still some 5,000 customers in Butte, Humboldt, Napa, Plumas, Sierra, Trinity and Yuba counties without power, but it’s expected to be back on by noon today.

There’s been another death from COVID-19 in Mendocino County. The Public Health Dept. also announced only one new case yesterday, for a total of 778. The new death happened outside the county, but the health department did include it on the latest coronavirus dashboard data. A big rig rollover closed Highway 1 about three miles from the 101 in Leggett.  The California Highway Patrol reported the rig was totally blocking the highway so there was no way to get through as the 101 was still closed at the time due to the Oak Fire. Neither is the case now, as the 101 was reopened around 830 or so last night and the big rig accident on the 1 was cleaned up about an hour later.

The August Complex is continuing to burn as a Red Flag Warning continues. The fire has charred 349,565 acres and is 24 percent contained. The Hull, Doe, Tatham, and Glade fires burned into one giant fire. Over the weekend the winds shifted directions and today we could see strong gusts of up to 30-40 mph. The Red Flag Warning issued Sunday for last night starting at 10 pm until tomorrow morning at 8 am. With that comes the possibility of more fire activity and spread with heavy smoke. Mendocino National Forest officials have also updated the closure area due to the August Complex.

The new closure will be in place until the end of October. The Snow Mountain Wilderness is open to recreation, but most of the southern area is closed so firefighters have better access and the public is kept safe from fire behavior and hazards because of the fire. Smoke from the fire’s in the unhealthy range at times. Plus there’s still a Fire Weather Warning in effect until tomorrow.

There’s an evacuation Order for the Mendocino National Forest in Glenn County still in place due to the fire. It’s from the Forest Boundary west to the Mendocino County line due to the active fire burning on west side. More areas have also been added to the Pillsbury Ranch evacuation order to include the entire Lake Pillsbury Basin. So all areas and residents north of Pack Saddle Creek, south of the Lake County line, west of the Lake County Line and east of the Lake County Line have to leave their homes due to an immediate threat. If you need a temporary shelter, go to the Upper Lake County Park at 575 East Hwy. 20. You must stay in your vehicle and wear masks when you get there.

A new fire over the weekend in Mendocino County has triggered evacuations. The Oak Fire has burned 1,000 acres West of Highway 101 at Big John Road & Skyview Road, in the Brooktrails area of Willits. The Evacuation Order is right there, for Big John Rd, Skyview Rd, First Gate Road, Schow Road to Ryan Creek, and north and east of Big John Road. Crews say the fire’s burning in grass, brush, oak and pine trees in extreme conditions with high heat, low humidity, and a potential for erratic winds.  

Due to the LNU Complex which is more than 90% contained now, Lake County and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services have opened a Local Assistance Center. They say it’ll be like a ‘one-stop’ shop, where individuals and businesses with disaster-related loss or damage can get help and access services. This is the 6th year in a row Lake County has had major wildfire disasters. Due to the pandemic, the Local Assistance Center will be online. There you can connect to the SBA for a business loan and other local and state services. If you’ve lost your home or had damage, there will be links to sign up for information on debris removal, hazardous materials clean-up, property tax evaluation and relief a lot more.  Phone assistance will be available for clients without the ability to access the website for a limited period of time only, September 7 – 11, 2020at (707) 995-4335Monday through Friday, 8:00am – 5:00pm.  The Lake County Disaster 2-1-1 information line has also been activated for disaster and recovery information. 

A couple from Clearlake have been arrested in Redwood Valley for drug sales. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reports a deputy on routine patrol seeing a Jeep in Redwood Valley with expired registration tabs. The driver, Joseph Fitzgerald and his passenger Allison Strout. She had some outstanding Humboldt County arrest warrants with search terms, deputies found a bunch of heroin and some meth. They say Fitzgerald was going to sell the heroin so he was arrested for possession of narcotics for sale and Strout for the outstanding warrants.

Solar arrays have been put up on three schools in the Ukiah Unified School District. Calpella Elementary, Eagle Peak Middle School, and Grace Hudson Elementary. The school district working with a company in Santa Rosa to be more energy efficient. The solar panels are supposed to save the district money along with new LED lighting. The school district says with all of the savings, they can then upgrade heating, ventilation, and air conditioning at Grace Hudson. The three ground-mounted systems are reportedly saving the district nearly $208,000 a year.

Because the August Complex keeps growing and the containment is still only 24% the evacuation orders have grown with the fire. The Lake Pillsbury Ranch area in Lake County has been ordered to leave and the United States Forest Service has ordered a temporary closure of all of the day use and campsites in the Forest. There’s been no update from the Forest Service so far this morning on the fire. The last update was about 24 hours ago. The fire’s now the fourth largest wildfire in modern California history, burning on part of the scar from the largest fire ever recorded in the state, the Mendocino Complex. This fire is expected to keep burning even as it slows in the fire scar.  The August Complex has burned more than 356,350 acres.

There’s a red flag warning for the eastern areas of Mendocino County and a large swath of Lake County above 1500 feet. Also in Sonoma County due to powerful winds expected today. Meteorologists have forecasted wind gusts of up to 25 to 30 mph in the valleys and stronger gusts up to 50 mph on hilltops and ridge lines.  

There are a couple of evacuation centers set up for the Oak Fire as 3,400 structures are reportedly threatened. One center at Willits High, and the other at Baechtel Grove Middle School. Large animals can be taken to Willits High also. In Laytonville, evacuees and large animals can also head to Harwood Park. If you’ve tested positive for coronavirus or are under isolation orders or quarantine and have to evacuate, there is another location set up. There is no school for the Willits and Laytonville school districts today due to the fire.

As of last night the Oak Fire had crossed the 101 north of Oil Well Hill. The highway is closed between the north end of the Willits Bypass, and the intersection with State Route 162 to the north. You cannot get into the Brooktrails area at all and there’s no estimated time of reopening. All of the area is under a mandatory evacuation order and more in the Willits area today, but no residential areas as of last night. The fire has burned 1,000 acres and is 0% contained. The fire being fought on the ground and in the air by Cal Fire with local departments and prisoner hand crews. Additional resources have been called.

Flare-ups have been reported on the LNU Lightning Complex fire’s Walbridge fire in Sonoma County. That has caused a new evacuation order and evacuation warning. The fire has not moved as far as acreage, it’s burning more actively, but within containment lines. It’s burned just under 55,000 acres and was 95% contained. The entire complex has charred 375,209 acres and 91-percent contained. On Saturday the Sheriff lifted evacuation orders, then last night the Sheriff’s office issued new mandatory orders and a warning for another area. For Lake County, the Hennessey fire has remained in its containment lines. The fire has also burned in Colusa, Napa, Solano and Yolo counties and is still at 317,909 acres and 91-percent contained.

PG&E has started to turn power off across Northern Calif because of the extreme fire weather. 22 counties in Northern California could have outages thru tomorrow morning, but only two dozen Lake County residents and no Mendocino County residents were expected to be affected.  The latest public safety power shutoff due to the forecast of extreme heat, low humidity and gusty winds, a mixture that can create critical fire weather with high ignition risk.  None of those affected in Lake County were medical baseline customers. Those who do lose their power were expected to go dark between 3 and 6 a.m. this morning and have it restored tomorrow night by 7 p.m.  PG&E is using temporary generation and islanding so 69,000 customers and several medical facilities stay online.

The Oak Fire’s growth downgraded by Cal Fire from 1,000 acres to 863. The fire which blew up yesterday was expected to expand overnight because of windy weather, but it thankfully did not happen and instead, the acreage shrunk. It was also zero percent contained last night, and this morning the fire agency said they had it 5% surrounded. So fat one structure has burned. The 101 is still closed north of Willits in Mendocino County from the North Willits on-ramp to the 101’s intersection with State Route 162 at Longvale. There is no estimated time for reopening. Winds are unfortunately supposed to pick up this afternoon. There are also mandatory evacuations for the entire Brooktrails area and nobody is allowed to come into the area. The route out is very narrow, and no large rigs will be allowed thru. Mandatory Evacuation Orders — West of the 101 and Main St in Willits to Sherwood Rd, North East of Sherwood Rd to near 2nd Gate rd, south of Schow Road to the 101, East of the 101 extending 1 mile East of Hwy 101. All homes accessed off of Shimmons Ridge Rd., west of Sherwood Rd from Main St in Willits, up to Timber Rd, South of and including homes accessed off of Timber Rd, East of Blue Lake Rd and Ridge Rd including all homes on those roads, and North of Willits City Limits. Evacuation Order, West side of Hwy 101, North of and including homes accessed off Schow Rd., to East of Scherwood Rd near 2nd Gate Rd, and South of and including all houses off of 3rd Gate Rd.

Evacuation centers are open at Willits High School and Baechtel Grove Middle School. Animals are also being evacuated to the high school.  

There was no school in Willits and Laytonville today. Unfortunately, if you need to do banking at the Savings Bank Laytonville Banking Center, it’s also closed. Another fire breaks out in Ukiah… Mendo Fever reporting Ukiah Valley Fire Authority got a call early this morning to a fire in the 850 block of North State Street, to the Redwood Tree Service Station. Police say there was “significant damage” to the building. When firefighters arrived they found fire outside the building and possibly extending inside. Firefighters controlled the exterior fire and went inside, finding flames on the second floor of the building, extinguishing that. The fire is under investigation, no word how it may have started.

Several miles of the 101 north of Willits are still closed due to the Oak fire. The fire started along the west side of the highway yesterday afternoon and exploded in size within hours to 700 acres. Cal Fire had estimated the fire hit 1,000 acres last night, but downgraded it this morning to 863 acres burned. 3,700 people have been ordered to leave their homes and there is no way for them to get back as there’s only one road in. The township of Brooktrails is where the homes are threatened and firefighters are building fire lines with an existing road and a recent vegetation management program. Firefighters took advantage of cooler weather this morning, but winds were expected to kick up later this afternoon into the evening in deep ravines and wooded areas. Drivers cannot get thru the area unless they use long, curvy bypasses. Instead they’re told to use Highway 1 between Leggett and Fort Bragg, then connect to the 101 via Highway 20.

Mendocino County Animal Care has established a site on the south side of the Willits High School for domestic animals. Utilizing the disaster preparedness trailer donated by the Savings Bank of Mendocino County, Animal Care has the capacity to lodge approximately 100 domestic dogs and cats.

Animal Care has resources for larger domestic animals, horses, and livestock at the Willits Junior Horseman’s Association. Larger livestock can be delivered to 901 East Commercial Street in Willits for lodging. 

The entrance to the Animal Care disaster rescue station is marked with signs on North Main Street in Willits, just south of the entrance to the Willits High School.

Smaller domestic animals can be taken to the south end of the Willits High School or can be coordinated through Animal Care to meet with citizens who have domestic animals from the evacuation area. To coordinate a pickup of a domestic animal with Animal Care, please contact the Call Center at 707-234-6052.

Animal Care is also requesting donations of blankets, towels, and sheets for the disaster rescue station. These items can be donated at the Willits High School Agriculture Building. Other monetary donations for animal food can be made at JD Redhouse at 212 S. Main Street in Willits, California.