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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, redwoodcu.org/2020-fire-assistance.

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.

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