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Like years past, the largest wildfire in the state merges with another that has destroyed homes in hard to reach areas for firefighters. The Dixie Fire which started about a week and a half ago has reportedly destroyed over ten homes and other buildings. The Fly Fire was the small fire that left a path of destruction in Indian Falls over the weekend. Cal Fire officials reported the Dixie fire which is burning in Plumas and Butte counties is 21% contained. Extreme fire behavior was expected today and moist air, that could bring the potential for fire induced weather systems. There were evacuation orders and warnings across several counties. As many as 10,000 homes are threatened and the fire has burned nearly 193,000 acres.

Another meeting’s planned at the Jackson Demonstration State Forest. The Forest Advisory Group is meeting August 3rd, that’s next Tuesday at 6:00 pm in Fort Bragg. They will update on previous meetings, the government to government consultation that was requested, review public comments and responses after the forest community outreach. The public is invited to submit comments by email which have to get to them before August 1st.

The Mendocino County Public Health Officer, Dr. Andy Coren is asking for everyone to put their masks back on indoors, vaccinated or not. Dr. Coren put a personal note out over the weekend saying he’s getting more and more concerned about the surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations which have gone to nearly 4/day to 11 a day. Also, the amount of people in the hospital has nearly tripled from 5 to 14. He says the Delta Variant is now in the county, is twice as contagious, is spreading to more people faster than we’ve seen before, mostly in those who are unvaccinated and it’s targeting younger adults. He asks for everyone to wear masks indoors and outside if you’re in a crowd containing unvaccinated people. He also reminds the vaccines are extremely effective and unvaccinated people get COVID 8 times more than vaccinated. Those who’ve been vaccinated and get COVID have milder disease, rarely need the hospital and almost never die.

The petition circulating against a recent referendum by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors on zoning for cannabis farms has turned up more than 6,000 signatures. Organizers say there was interference by paid harassers, but they had more than 115 volunteers for The People’s Referendum to Save Our Water, Wildlife, and Way of Life. The petitions were turned over last week to the clerk-recorder’s office. If there are enough valid signatures counted, Mendocino supervisors can either repeal the cannabis ordinance adopted last month or put it on a ballot. The initiative was supposed to take effect last Friday, but has been placed on hold until the petitions can be considered.

A woman hiking in Fort Bragg had to be rescued after disappearing for more than a day. Deputies got a call over the weekend that Joyce Smith, of Fort Bragg had gone hiking and wasn’t seen for a whole day. She was reported in the Seaside Beach area, running in the Russian Gulch area Friday morning. Deputies searched the area, finding Smith’s car on Caspar Little Lake Road, in Mendocino then sent out search and rescue personnel along with Chase, the Bloodhound. They found her in the Russian Gulch area alive, but exposed to the elements, so she was taken to the hospital.

A man accused of murder, assault and firing a rifle had his case extended to next year. Matthew Mora is accused of DUI and violating probation too after a call to Upper Lake to reports of a gunshot victim in January. Deputies found a dead woman, Christine Mora, who witnesses say was the suspects stepmother. Witnesses also told deputies he was drunk and arguing with family members when he allegedly shot her. He was found after at a local motel and arrested and held on one million dollars bail. He was arraigned in March and held over for the murder and pleaded not guilty.

Last year when the Oak Fire burned in Mendocino County a couple dozen or so homeowners applied to have the state take out their debris. The Daily Journal reports 28 properties enrolled in California’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program had all debris taken out so they can now apply for reconstruction. The soil samples are taken to see if they meet state health and environmental standards; then hazardous trees are removed and state debris officials do a walk through. The newspaper reports there are nearly 470 more properties in five other counties in the Bay Area that are also ready to start construction permitting.

Sonoma County like Mendocino and Lake are recommending masks indoors for all. The Sonoma County health officer Dr. Sundari Mase along with other Bay Area health officers recommended masks again to slow the spread after the recent surge of the delta variant, which officials say is at least 50% more transmissible than the original strain of COVID-19. The county’s case count has doubled from about 4 new cases/day to 9.5, mostly in those who have not taken the vaccination. The Press Democrat reports the indoor mask wearing recommendation, not a mandate, has received many reactions, including that we are all going backwards. In Sonoma County, health officials say they’re watching trends and they have not said whether or not it will become mandatory, but didn’t say it wouldn’t either.

A man who grew up in Mendocino County who’d been living in Salem, OR has been reported missing. Steven Van Pelt was reportedly climbing Mt. Jefferson, and on the way down that state’s second-tallest peak, disappeared. Rescuers are looking for him, but so far, there’s been no sign of him. He was reported to be in “extreme mountainous terrain.” A witness said he fell, and they couldn’t see him anymore. And that it had to have been several hundred feet down.  The Linn County Sheriff’s Office says the rescue was made more difficult by the extremely dangerous terrain which requires technical mountaineers to traverse the mountainside.

Reports of a water theft near Willits. Mendo Fever reports hearing on the scanner that the state Fish and Wildlife dept was asking for help from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. They say the suspects are described as two men who had several water tanks in an unmarked truck with no license plates and that they were seen pumping water out of Bechtel Creek near the intersection of Williams Ranch Road and Deer Mill Road.

Several firefighters from Mendocino County are working on California’s largest fire, the Dixie Fire. The nearly 200-000 acre inferno burning in Butte and Plumas counties has merged with a smaller fire and burned homes and is threatening thousands more. Five rural fire agencies are stationed on the Dixie Fire, joining a team from Cal Fire’s Humboldt-Del Norte unit who also just joined the fight. The Hopland Fire Chief says he’s leading a strike team consisting of members from his station, the Anderson Valley Fire Department, Mendocino Volunteer Fire Department, Redwood Coast Fire Department from Point Arena and a South Coast Volunteer Fire team out of Gualala.

A man had to be airlifted to the hospital after a crash in Clearlake Oaks. The CHP says 37 year old Stephen Williams of Pacifica got into the crash Saturday, then was arrested for DUI after the four car crash on Highway 20. The CHP says he rear ended a Toyota Prius and both cars veered into oncoming traffic. Three women in a Jeep Grand Cherokee had to be flown to UC Davis Medical Center after they were hit, one of them had severe injuries, the other two were minor. And the driver of the Prius, a man from Oakland, also had minor injuries. There was a 4th car, but the driver was uninjured.

The Governor is reporting all state employees and health care workers need to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or be tested weekly to slow the spread of new infections, that have mostly been reported in those who are unvaccinated. It starts next month, but the Governor made the announcement today regarding the more than 200,000 state employees…

Separately the state is reporting around 62% of all eligible Californians have been fully vaccinated, and they’re sort of at a standstill, getting those without the vaccination to step up. It comes as the more contagious delta variant is surging with more hospitalizations than in weeks past.

More info on a murder in Leggett last week has been released by the Sheriff’s Office, including the arrest of a suspect. The Sheriff’s office reports one of two people they detained Friday, Oscar Alvarez Ruiz was arrested and held on no bail. They say they’re still investigating a possible motive and they’re still not releasing the name of the victim, but an autopsy is set for Wednesday.

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