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Another death from coronavirus reported in Lake County. The Public Health Officer, Dr. Gary Pace reports the fifth death related to COVID-19 was the second death after a cluster of cases at a local residential facility, which he has not named. He says this second death from the outbreak at the facility was someone who was over 65 years old and had chronic medical issues.  They tested positive last week and passed away early this morning. Dr. Pace says the public can be sure the facility is following guidelines from his office and the state Department of Public Health who’s also consulting.  

A young man from Ukiah’s been killed after his car went down an embankment along Highway 20. The CHP reports the driver, 19 year old Christobal Calderon, was in an SUV headed west on the highway early Monday morning when he veered off onto the right shoulder, then went down the steep embankment. He reportedly died at the scene.  

The state’s newspaper industry getting a hand from lawmakers, giving them a year more to meet new labor laws for freelancers. The Assembly Bill called the “Save Local Journalism Act” passed unanimously in the Senate on Sunday night and goes to the Assembly. It was amended so the newspaper industry has another 12 months before a new law takes effect which looks to change how some employees are classified.

A new fire reported in Lake County triggers evacuations. The CHP’s traffic incident page says the fire jumped Highway 20 on the east side of Clear Lake. So the Lake County Sheriff ordered evacuations for the area of Morine Ranch Rd in Clearlake Oaks last night. The Sheriff said on Facebook the fire looked like firefighters were dumping enough water on it that it might be contained quickly, but we have no new info as of first thing this morning. The fire had charred about 15 acres and was 70% contained. It’s burning near Highway 20 and Catholic Church Rd. and has been dubbed the Catholic Fire.

The Mendocino County Air Quality District reports smokey skies sticking around due to active wildfires in Northern California. The District says fluctuating wind could change how thick the smoke is as there’s a strong high pressure ridge developing over the state. That they say can bring “Very Unhealthy” air to the area. Right now the District’s air monitors show particulate matter concentrations in the “Moderate” to “Unhealthy” range, but inland communities and surrounding areas could have times of “Very Unhealthy” air quality. Higher air temperatures could bring that Very Unhealthy air and smoke to valley areas. Another reminder too to stay indoors if possible and if you’re outdoors to limit activity.

More info on the death of a firefighter in the August Complex Fire. Three firefighters working on the Tatham Fire in the Complex Monday when the vehicle they were in rolled. One firefighter died, other reports, not from the Forest Service say it was a female, working on the fire with her son. The Forest Service says one other firefighter in the vehicle was treated for burns on a hand and arm, and a third firefighter was not injured. The CHP is investigating and the Forest Service says they’ll release more information as they can.

Damage information has been released in Napa County on the lightning-ignited Hennessey fire, part of the LNU Complex. Cal Fire reports the fire destroyed 254 single-family homes, so it’s now noted as one of the most destructive in county history. The most damage since the October 2017 wildfires that destroyed 655 homes in Napa County. 35 other homes were damaged in the Hennessey Fire, about a third or so in Lake County. There were also five commercial buildings and 96 other minor structures destroyed. The Hennessey Fire, the largest in the LNU comples had burned just under 318,000 acres. It’s 70% contained. It killed three people near Lake Berryessa and two residents of Solano County.

A post on social media identifies the firefighter on the August Complex fire who died. A local newspaper in Cresson, Texas identified the firefighter as Diana Jones and say she died while working on her son’s contracting team in the Mendocino National Forest east of Covelo. A social media post ended up in the town’s local paper, the Hood County News. It reports that the Fire Chief got a call from Jones’ son about her death working on the Tatham fire. The report that their vehicle crashed, she died and a second firefighter was injured and a third had no injuries. On the Facebook page, the Cresson fire department announced the death with Jones profile picture showing the terrain of the fire where she had been working. The chief called her a classy lady and said the department was numbed by the news.

Damage assessments being done on the Walbridge Fire, part of the enormous LNU Lightning Complex in Sonoma County. Damage assessment teams surveying west Sonoma County’s 86 square mile burn zone. Cal Fire reports 157 homes were destroyed on the stretch of land and 135 other structures were also destroyed. 10 homes were damaged. They continue today and tomorrow surveying even though the fire is not fully contained. The Cal Fire Incident Team says the damage assessment probably won’t change much. Cal Fire staff had a moment of silence in Calistoga yesterday to honor firefighter Diana Jones. The Press Democrat reports she was the contract firefighter working on the Federally Managed August Complex. They were on the Tatham fire northeast of Lake Pillsbury.

The Walbridge Fire part of the massive LNU Complex, now 75% contained. The fire has burned almost 55,000 acres and has not expanded much in several days. Cal Fire reports they’re in the homestretch of this one and working to reinforce control lines around the rest of the fire that was not surrounded yesterday. They hoped to announce it completely contained soon but are working in steep terrain with what they referred to as razorback ridges and deep canyons. The 2,360 acre Meyers fire near Jenner is 100% contained finally. It sat at 99% contained for days.

Another response to the local Grand Jury report in Clearlake. The City Council meeting tomorrow night can be seen on the city’s YouTube channel or local cable. It’s on Zoom too.  The city manager asking the council to respond to the Grand Jury’s report on the PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoffs last year. It is referred to as “PSPS – 5 Days in October.” The city’s response is required. Apparently the report spent a lot of time talking about the county and the city wasn’t even interviewed, so the city manager says the city’s preparedness and response would be brief. But the city’s ok with more detailed planning in the future. The council is also looking at a change in the way it permits commercial cannabis businesses, to allow for more businesses in the city.

After the Governor reached out of the state for help fighting fires, a group of Israeli firefighters has arrived in Calif. The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services got a team of 10 Israeli firefighters. They got to Sacramento last weekend and will work in Northern Calif. In the past, like on the Mendocino Complex, firefighters from out of the country also deployed to California. That time from Australia and New Zealand, but this is reported to be the first time Israelis were assigned to fight fires in the United States. They’re expected to be here for two weeks.

Less firefighters now, but it’s because many of the large fires that broke out two weeks ago in lightning storms have calmed some. There are still more than 14,200 firefighters on more than 20 major fires and lightning complexes in California. More than 18,200 people are still under evacuation orders. Some of the fires have made it into the record books as some of the biggest ever in the state including the LNU Lightning Complex – the 3rd largest ever and 10th most destructive, and the August Lightning Complex in the Mendocino National Forest is the 9th most destructive.  The LNU complex has burned over 375,200 acres and is 76% contained. The fire has destroyed almost 1,450 structures in 5 counties and killed 5 people. The August Complex has destroyed more than 261,200 acres and is 20% contained. The Forest Service is hosting a community meeting on the fire tonight at 7 on the Forest Service Facebook page.

8 search warrants on 11 pieces of land across the Emerald Triangle finds thousands of illegal marijuana plants and hundreds of pounds of processed marijuana. Last week the state Department of Fish and Wildlife along with the Sheriff’s Offices of Humboldt, Trinity and Mendocino Counties served the search warrant in the Island Mountain area where the three counties converge. More than 28,000 illegal pot plants were taken along with over 4,900 lbs of processed cannabis, six firearms and about $100,000 in cash. There were also more than 75 environmental crimes. Two people with rifles at a nearby cattle ranch were seen and detained. But no arrests were made. The Trinity County and Mendocino County District Attorney’s Offices will consider the cases for possible prosecution.

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