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The Lake County Registrar of Voters speaking to the Board of Supervisors saying her office is ready for the Nov. 3rd presidential election. Maria Valadez spoke in front of the Board at their meeting yesterday saying she’s prepared to open her office on weekends too. Valadez appeared with her new deputy registrar, Lourdes Pantaleon. Valadez says they’ve been preparing for the election since the primary election in March. She says sample ballot booklets and official ballot booklets have been mailed out via a San Francisco mail distribution center. The Registrar of Voters Office is also open daily thru the election and on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 31st and Sunday, Nov. 1st for residents to vote in person if they want.

Distracted driving is reportedly the reason five cars piled up in a crash and 3 people have been seriously injured, including two children. The CHP in Clear Lake reported to the crash Monday night on Highway 20 near Nice. A man in one of the cars says he was eating and noticed traffic ahead and tried to stop but couldn’t avoid the crash. Joshua Murray of Lucerne crashed into a Kia Sol with his Ram pickup. He rear-ended Elizabeth Ambriz of Redwood Valley, who had two girls, 3 and 6 years old with her. Her car slammed into another car which was pushed into the path of yet another. The children and Ambriz all had major injuries and another drive had a hand injury.

The Glass Fire has grown some but so has the containment. CAL FIRE reported last night that the Grass Fire burning in Sonoma and Napa counties at 67,050 acres, adding only 210 acres since Monday night. The fire is now 54-percent contained. The firefighting team says they expect to have the fire totally contained by October 20th, in two weeks. They’ve also reportedly reduced resources on the fire. There are still evacuation orders and warnings in place on the fire.  884 structures have been destroyed in Napa and 146 were damaged. In Sonoma County, 600 structures have been destroyed and 132 were damaged.  More than a dozen firefighters were also being evaluated by medics yesterday for possible carbon monoxide exposure off-site out of the fire area. One was taken to a hospital for further evaluation.

The August Complex Fire again grows another couple thousand acres. The fire continues actively burning on the Mendocino, Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests. The fire’s been scorching land and structures since Aug. 17th and reached 1,008,590 acres last night. It’s now 60% contained. Some evacuation orders in Mendocino County have been reduced to warnings. And the Forest Service reports they should have the entire complex, which is being managed in four zones, contained by November 15th. In about 5 ½ weeks.   The West Zone which has triggered evacuations in both Mendocino and Lake Counties has burned almost 135,000 acres and is 65% contained.  

Willits High School is being used as a command center for the Northern Calif. fires. The Willits News reports the School District Superintendent Mark Westerburg got a call from officials with the National Forest Service and he didn’t hesitate. A day later there were already supplies being hauled in and as many as 300 firefighters moved right in. Westerburg says he’s opened access to the entire space except a few classrooms and the cafeteria, but fire personnel do have access to restrooms and locker rooms.

The Glass Fire has blackened the land in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. The fire first made its way thru Hood Mountain Regional Park and about 90% of Sugarloaf. The Press Democrat reports those who care for the land say there will be urgent work there now so there’s no massive erosion on the land in rainy weather. The deputy director of Sonoma County Regional Parks told the newspaper “it’s not a tragedy when a park burns”. But the Calif. State Parks superintendent for the area says she hopes to be able to reopen the Sugarloaf in a matter of weeks after the fire is fully contained or only active nowhere near there.  The same parks were impacted by the 2017 Nuns Fire.

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors has agreed to spend several million dollars from the PG&E settlement on the 2017 wildfire storm. The $35 million will go to affordable housing and wildfire protection. The county received $149 million, with 86 mil left over. The board last week decided to use almost $27 million for a budget hole.  $25 million of the $35 million agreed to will go to brush management. The board had wanted to use some of the money on damaged county roads from the 2017 fires too.

Shasta County is getting slapped with tighter restrictions due to an outbreak of Covid-19 at an evangelical college. Health officials say more than 120 students and staff have tested positive in the last two weeks at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. The Health Dept. says that put the entire county into new regulations on restaurants, bars, theaters and businesses. The school is located in Redding. It describes itself as a  “ministry training center”. The county has had more than 500 new coronavirus cases the last two weeks.

11 more cases and one more death from coronavirus have been confirmed in Mendocino County. The public health office confirms there have now been 1021 positive cases and 21 deaths. The health office reports the person who died last was a 79-year-old Caucasian man from Ukiah.

PM UPDATE

State Senator Mike McGuire’s bill to protect journalists covering protests and demonstrations has been veto’d. The senator told the Times-Standard newspaper he would like to speak to the Governor and his staff because he doesn’t understand the reasoning behind the veto. The bill passed the Legislature a couple of months ago. It would have meant that journalists could enter areas closed to the public by law enforcement, same as in a natural disaster. But the Governor says the bill, as written, would allow anyone who appeared to be a reporter or journalist access, including those who could be a security risk, like white nationalists, extreme anarchists or other fringe groups with an online presence.

The air in Mendocino County is getting better per the Air Quality Management District. They sent out a report last night that the smoke from nearby wildfires, the Glass and August Complex Fires, have declined. The fires are still active and degrading the air quality through for most of the county. They say there can be widespread haze at times and smoke for the next few days and that due to fluctuating wind directions, the smoke is hanging around, bringing “Unhealthy” air to the area. Air monitors show particulate matter concentrations in the “Moderate” to “Unhealthy” range for most parts of the county. Inland communities are more likely to experience “Unhealthy” air quality. Covelo and the surrounding area may experience “Very Unhealthy” because of strategic firing operations on the August fire. The coast may experience episodes of “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” air quality too, but it should be at “Good” air quality towards the end of the week.

The August Complex continues it’s massive growth across Colusa, Glenn, Lake, Mendocino, Tehama and Trinity Counties. The fire has now burned several thousand more acres and inches its containment up to 60%. The fire has scorched 1,011,493 acres, the South Zone 545,241 acres, North East Zone 264,775 acres, the North West Zone 65,611 acres, West Zone 135,866 acres. So far 210 structures have been destroyed on the Elkhorn, Hopkins, Willow, Vinegar, and Doe fires. The fire is the first ever in Calif. to be known as a gigafire, one that’s burned over one million acres. There have only been a handful worldwide over the last half century, the 1988 Yellowstone Fire in Montana and Idaho, the 2004 Taylor Complex in Alaska, another one this year, in Australia. Climate scientists say it’s due to higher temperatures and more extreme weather.

A fire burning near Ukiah at about an acre, in the 23000 block of Vichy Springs Road near the Ukiah Gun Club. Mendo Fever reports the fire was headed towards the Vichy Springs Resort but fire personnel were getting a foothold on the blaze and quickly reported they were mopping up.

One of Governor Gavin Newsom’s staffers has reportedly tested positive for coronavirus. The office put out a statement earlier that they’ve begun contact tracing and the staff member had not been in contact with the Governor or any other staff who routinely meet with Newsom. Also, another state employee working in a space shared with some of the governor’s staff also tested positive, but they too had no contact with the governor or his close staff. They say they’re following protocols for when there’s a positive case in a work place, including deep cleaning of shared spaces and having anyone who was in contact with the infected person or a shared work place to isolate and get tested.

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