Wildfires Ravage Northern California National Forest
As federal and state firefighters worked on a fire inside the Colusa County area of the Mendocino National Forest in northern California on Sunday, resources were sent to several more fires reported around the region.
The Mill Fire – near the Mill Creek Campground in the national forest – was sparked on Saturday afternoon (July 7), and remained the focus of an aggressive firefighting effort on Sunday, the Lake County News, Lakeport, reported
Air resources continued to hit the fire from above due to the steep terrain, according to reports from the scene.
Mendocino National Forest officials reported Sunday evening that the Mill Fire had reached approximately 1,200 acres, more than tripling in size since the morning. There was no containment estimate given.
In the midst of that effort, on Sunday afternoon the Sites Complex along Sites Lodoga Road west of Maxwell was reported.
On Sunday night, Cal Fire reported that the Sites Complex’s five fires had blown up to an estimated 2,500 acres over the course of about five hours. A report on that incident can be found at http://bit.ly/ONjOS7.
Smoke from the fires – all in Colusa County – mushroomed up over the Lake County horizon, casting a reddish-brown cloud along the hilltops.
On Saturday officials had set a Friday containment date for the Mill Fire, but forest spokesperson Tamara Schmidt said Sunday night that there was no current estimate for a containment time on the incident, the cause of which remains under investigation.
Schmidt reported that the Mill Fire on Sunday continued to move to the north and east toward the Fouts Springs area in Colusa County.
She said terrain and wind dominated the active fire behavior exhibited on Sunday, with spotting a half mile ahead of the fire and running crown fire. The fire is burning in heavy mixed brush and timber.
The incident is expected to transition to a Type 2 Incident Team on Monday at 6 a.m., with the team’s operations to be based in Stonyford, Schmidt said.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, a Type 2 team includes members from a wide variety of federal, state, county and local agencies. The team manages large wildland fire incidents and addresses safety, fiscal, planning, operational and logistical issues.
As of Sunday night, Schmidt said evacuations were in effect for the Fouts Springs Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Area, as well as in the Happy Valley area.
Mill Valley, Mill Creek and Letts Lake campgrounds and the Board Camp summer home tract were evacuated on Saturday, she said.
Approximately 25 structures are threatened, including the campgrounds, according to Schmidt.
She said the M10 Road between Letts Lake and Fouts Springs, leading to Stonyford, is currently inaccessible.
The Mendocino National Forest is preparing a formal closure order restricting access to the entire area, including roads and the OHV trail system, she said.
Also on Sunday, Cal Fire sent air and ground resources to the Jelly Fire, a small incident near Jellystone Park Campground, located at 14117 Bottle Rock Road in Cobb.
The fire, reported shortly before 3 p.m., was contained at approximately 3:38 p.m., reports from the scene indicated.
Burn piles were located in the middle of the fire, and heavy mop up was required, according to radio reports.
Cal Fire said the Jelly Fire burned a total of nine acres. No cause was immediately reported.
In other fire news around the state, Cal Fire reported that the Oregon Fire, west of Lake Oroville in Butte County, was fully contained at 60 acres Sunday night.
The Fish Fire, located in Inyo County, had reached 1,103 acres Sunday night, and was 85 percent contained, Cal Fire said.