Lake County Residents Join Evacuees as Mendocino Complex Fires Rage On

California Connection
This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

LAKE COUNTY -- In Lake County, the River and Ranch fires are burning in close proximity to one other.

Together known as the Mendocino Complex, roughly 50,000 acres have burned between them both. On Monday night, the Mendocino Complex tore across Western Lake County from nearby Mendocino.

The fire on the hills east and north of Lakeport was massive, stoked by strong afternoon winds. It chewed through full grown trees like kindling.

Evacuations are in effect for Lakeport, which is on the western coast of Clearlake.

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

In the mountains between Hopland and Lakeport along Highway 175, the River Fire is burning ever closer to homes in Lake County.

"Yeah, everything is packed in the trucks and ready to go," said Juan Soria.

Soria stayed behind in the evacuation zone only because he did not have enough trailers to move all of his cattle.

"I had some of them loaded up and then I had some friends on standby with some trailers to come get the cows," Soria said. "Other than that, the only thing we can do is open the gates and let them roam so they can run."

Also running were the residents of Lakeport, Kelseyville, Nice and Upper Lake. Cal Fire was evacuating them all as the River and Ranch fires threatened more than 10,000 structures.

"It’s the safest thing for all the residents here," said Amy Head of Cal Fire. "If the fire is going to make a big push into town we needed to make sure that they were out."

Data pix.

As the fire line burned closer, the line of cars driving to get away was growing Monday.

This is another in a series of wildfires and evacuations for some residents of Kelseyville, now fire weary after a long summer of flames.

Both the Ranch and River fires started on Friday. While their causes are still under investigation, Cal Fire says steep, dry terrain and western winds were making the flames spread fast and the fires' movement often unpredictable.

"We’re not out of the woods, by any means," Head said. "There’s a lot of really dry fuel out there."

"There was five helicopters, I don’t know how many tankers, two bulldozers," Soria said.

Soria says, with all the firefighters and aircraft around Monday, he felt much better about his ranch’s chances of survival.

"All this in front of us is burnt up," Soria said. "The only thing that would be a danger is if it crossed the highway."

Looting has become a serious concern in the now empty towns. Along with a lot of firefighters, FOX40 has seen an army of law enforcement from all over California patrolling the streets.


Don't miss

More Featured

Latest News

More News