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A wildfire in Butte County is spreading fast as conditions are ideal for fire, including low humidity and strong winds fueling the blaze that has charred 70,000 acres so far and destroyed over 2,000 structures. Just as over 20,000 people were forced out of their homes, local students have been forced out of class due to poor air quality. Lake County and Ukiah Unified school district schools closed today, while Ukiah Unified also reminded parents that Monday is Veteran’s day, so schools will be closed on Monday as well. Meanwhile a request for A Presidential Emergency Declaration was requested by Governor Elect Gavin Newsom in order to secure FEMA assistance for communities affected by wildfires. A Fire Management Assistant Grant has been approved.

Economic conditions in Mendocino County are good. That ‘s the conclusion reached by the Economic Development and Finance Corporation, which studied industries important to the county. There were some worries about agriculture, which lost 70 jobs over the last year, and Ukiah wine grape producers were having problems with smoke taint affecting sales as hundreds of tons of grapes were lost due to fires. Job growth was seen in the construction, healthcare and education sectors.

The process of counting votes continues. There are over 17,00 vote by mail and provisional ballots left to count in Mendocino County. For Lake County, there are just over 11,000 to count including vote by mail, provisional ballots cast at the polls on election day and conditional voter registration ballots cast at the elections office. California State Law allows for 30 days to count all the votes.

Members of the public interested in supporting local behavioral health services are invited to the Mendocino County Behavioral health Advisory Board monthly meeting on the 14th from 10am to 2pm in the Mendocino County Museum at 400 E Commercial Street in Willits. Those attending will have a chance to ask questions and provide feedback.

The Army Corps of Engineers announced this week that more water will be stored in Lake Mendocino over the winter to help improve water supply reliability and environmental conditions in the Russian River. This according to a press release put out the by the Corps that says about 3.8 billion gallons of extra water, or enough to supply over 90,000 people for a year could be stored through the end of February.

Authorities responding to a call about a possible marijuana grow operation in a Ukiah neighborhood found equipment used to make Butane Honey Oil while searching the home. The labs are highly combustible and have been known to explode homes. Ukiah Police also found evidence that the marijuana was being sold, along with $5,000 cash and assault weapons. 26 year old Trevor Cooper was booked into Mendocino County Jail on suspicion of manufacturing a controlled substance, possessing marijuana for sale and probation violations.

After being in Mendocino County for years, The National Alliance on Mental Illness opened their first office, with a mission to educate, provide support and advocate for residents of Mendocino County suffering from mental health issues. The services will be free, and include meeting spaces, support groups. The site will also be staffed. There is a library with books and DVD to help educate the community. In the future, the organization hopes to launch a helpline for residents.

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