Crews Race to Protect Lake County Homes from River Fire

LAKE COUNTY -- It was an all-out war in Lake County against a raging, all-consuming predator -- the River Fire branch of the Mendocino Complex.

Burning into its fifth night, the fire attacked what folks who live nearby call Cow Mountain, chewing up everything growing in its path.

Tuesday started with a few structures burned but no homes listed as destroyed by Cal Fire.  By 10 p.m., Cal Fire reported seven homes were gone.

In unincorporated Lakeport along Scott's Valley and Hendricks roads, firefighters held the line on a house, ready to work as this fire raced down the hill.

See our Live Blog for up-to-date information on the Mendocino Complex.

"We've been having wind coming from the west blowing to the east. Today it's a little more north, northwesterly," said Amy Head with Cal Fire.

The shift was not at all a help to crews battling steep terrain for good access to the flames and a frighteningly complicating factor for anyone trying to get away from them.

At one point the fire jumped Hendricks Road. It was throwing spot fires to the other side of the road but after around 20 minutes crews had that spot under control.

A man, armed with his shovel and ready to help firefighters, was less than two miles away from the raging flames. He still was not planning to evacuate.

"A lot of ash falling out of the air," said Jim, a nearby resident. "Whole leaves with the center burned out of them. Could spot fire real easy but that's the only thing I can do is defend against that maybe but now the power's out."

Jim was hopeful and was up to the challenge. But as the evening wore on, it seemed others were out of hope and time. What appeared to be nearby homes burned.