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Wildfire survivors from last October’s firestorm at the Capitol trying to catch lawmakers attention as they tackle legislation to deal with wildfire response and the potential liability of electric utilities for billions of dollars in damages. The Press Democrat reports Up from the Ashes, a group from Santa Rosa were the organizers of the event. They report about 85 people signed up to attend the rally and visit lawmakers officers. They called it “Fire Victims Day at the Capitol” for those who lost homes to lobby lawmakers looking at changing laws that could change how utility companies are held liable for future disasters and for PG&E’s potential liability or payments to customers for the October fires. Fire response legislation has to be drafted by the end of the month. But first there’s a third public hearing tomorrow on inverse condemnation, which utility companies want changed, but fire survivors want to stay in place.

Thousands of residents are allowed to go back home in communities around Clearlake. Mandatory evacuation orders are now advisory for Upper Lake, Nice, Lucerne, Pepperwood Grove, Paradise Valey, Glenhaven and Clearlake Oaks. And Highway 20 is open in both directions and all lanes, east and west off the highway are also open. The communities that get to come home had to leave when the Mendocino Complex fires first broke out. The Ranch fire, the bigger of the two got close to some of the towns. There had been as many as 12,000 people evacuated in shoreline communities and up to 19,000 in the beginning. The towns still evacuated include Spring Valley, Bear Valley and Double Eagle. The fires have charred just over 300,000 acres, and have destroyed 116 homes. There are more than 10,000 homes still threatened. One firefighter has been injured. There is a red flag warning in effect for the Mendocino Complex fire area this afternoon into Saturday night.

There’s a reported norvirus at Lower Lake High where they’re holding an evacuation shelter. Lake County Public Health, the Red Cross, and the Konocti Unified School District trying to control the virus, which is of course, commonly known as the stomach flu. It’s extremely contagious and can spread fast when there are a lot of people in close contact with each other. They’re reminding folks not to be in too close of contact with sick people, to wash their hands and keep any surfaces near them clean. They say those affected should avoid caring for or preparing food for other people until at least 48 hours after symptoms have ended.

Smokey Bear turns 74 this year and the celebration had been set for tomorrow, but now the Mendocino National Forest Supervisor’s Office announcing they’re canceling the festivities due to the Mendocino Complex Fire. They apologized to the public but said there was too much firefighting activity in the forest.

An evacuation advisory instead of mandatory for certain areas. So folks in Upper Lake, Nice, Lucerne, Pepperwood Grove, Paradise Valley, Glenhaven, and Clearlake Oaks can go home. Additionally all of the lanes, both east and westbound on SR-20 are now open, but there are still road closures: Elk Mountain Road at Middle Creek Clover Valley Road at Clover Drive (Upper Lake Cemetery) Bartlett Springs Road at SR 20 Old Long Valley Road at SR 20 New Old Long Valley Road at SR 20 High Valley Road ½ mile north of High Valley Ranch Road

A weather system moving in is brining continued hot weather with drying conditions and light wind. Smokey conditions continue, but firefighters said to be making progress even with only limited use of aircraft due to heavy smoke. The Ranch Fire spread to the north toward the Snow Mountain Wilderness, but firefighters were able to hold a large spot fire west of Bear Valley Road that was spreading into and east of the 2018 Pawnee Fire area near Spring Valley. There were also hot spots in and around the communities along the Highway 20 corridor. Firefighters were busy around structures in the Lake Pillsbury area today. They’re clearing and improving lines around homes and using dozers to build more fire lines. There’s one now around Potter Valley as a precaution. The Ranch Fire grew about 10,000 acres from yesterday, it’s now burned 251,166 acres and is 46 percent contained. The River Fire is much smaller, just under 49,000 acres. It’s 81 percent contained.

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