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Recent dry weather has sped up normal drying in the summer leading to perfect conditions for wildfires. That according to the director of the Fire Weather Research Lab at San Jose State University. The professor saying it’s really dry, closer to what would normally be seen at the end of the summer or early fall. Temperatures have been above normal, about three degrees higher than it usually is. The National Weather Service says if it’s warmer overnight, then it’ll probably be hotter the next day. Some places are as high as eight degrees more than usual. And scientists say we could be in for worse heat waves, droughts and fire risks in the future because of increasingly volatile weather patterns.

Yosemite National Park and surrounding destinations are staying closed thru the weekend because of the Ferguson Fire. The National Park Service released a statement that the valley, Wawona Road, the Mariposa and Merced groves of giant sequoias, Hetch Hetchy and other areas because of continued smoke and firefighting operations. There are some areas staying open though, but they’re warning visitors to be cautious. The fire has burned nearly 63,000 acres and is about 40% contained. 2 firefighters were killed fighting the fire, one in a bulldozer that went down a ravine, and another was hit by a dead tree.

A community meeting’s set for tonight on the Mendocino Complex fire. The Unified Commanders, CAL FIRE, and U.S. Forest Service having the community meeting with an overview of how they’re fighting to contain the fire, current maps will be available and other handouts too. They’ll also take questions. Tonight at 6 PM at Kelseyville High.

North Coast Opportunities says it’ll be accepting gift card donations for anyone who wants to help fire victims. They’re especially looking for gas and grocery store gift cards which can be taken to the administrative office in Ukiah or donated online at ncoinc.org. They’re also looking for items to be taken to the MendoLake Complex Fire Relief Unit in Redwood Valley (across from Redwood Valley Market) like bottled water, baby wipes, non-perishable food items, towels, diapers, toiletries, socks and underwear and cleaning supplies, garbage bags and disposable plates and utensils.

The chief justice in Calif. has said yes to the closure of the Lake County Superior Court’s Lakeport office due to the Mendocino Complex fire. Since law enforcement are needed to patrol evacuated areas and with several people who work at or have to be in court displaced from their homes, the presiding judge requested an emergency order from the chief justice of the state Monday night. It then deemed Monday, July, 30th to Friday, Aug. 3rd, as court holidays. So no hearings are being held and no filings accepted at the Lakeport courthouse. In Clearlake, offices and courtroom calendars are going on as scheduled though.

Another several thousand acres tacked onto the Mendocino Complex fire in the official report this morning. Add on to it properties in the Scotts Valley area outside Lakeport. No official numbers on what was lost overnight, but we do have numbers on acreage. Cal Fire’s reporting the fire at nearly 91,000 acres burned and 24% contained. The complex is made up of the Ranch and River fires. The Ranch fire is larger, having blackened just over 59,000 acres with 15-percent containment. And the River fire is just under 32,000 acres with 38-percent contained. The city of Lakeport is evacuated due to the River Fire. Cal Fire reports they think they can totally surround the fire by next Tuesday, August 7th. Some mandatory evacuations were lifted yesterday in Kelseyville, Finley and the Big Valley Rancheria, but they’re all still under warnings. And those in Potter Valley have been allowed to return. The fire has destroyed 11 structures, including 10 homes. Two other homes and one more structure were also damaged.

More fires have also started in Mendocino and Lassen Counties. The Eel Fire in Covelo has burned 865 acres with some mandatory evacuations called for last night. That also meant some firefighters on the Mendocino Complex had to be moved to the Eel Fire. And in Lassen County, the Whaleback fire started yesterday, burning more than 18,000 acres. It’s 40% contained.

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