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More Lake County Residents Ordered To Evacuate In Mendocino Complex Fires

AP Photo / Noah Berger

A firefighter runs while trying to save a home as a wildfire tears through Lakeport, Calif. on Tuesday, July 31, 2018.

AP Photo / Noah Berger

Updated Thursday, August 2, 10:49 a.m.

(AP) — CalFire has issued a mandatory evacuation notice for some communities in western Lake County due to the Mendocino Complex fires burning there.

They issued the order for residents who live "west of Lucerne at Bartlett Springs Road and Highway CA-20, south of the fire, east of the fire, north of Clear Lake including the communities of Blue Lakes, Upper Lake, Nice, Lakeport, Witter Springs, Bachelor Valley, Scotts Valley, Saratoga Springs."

Some of the communities listed in the order, like Lakeport, have already been under mandatory evacuation.

A fourth fire in Mendocino County — the Western Fire — broke out Wednesday off Highway 101 south of Hopland, prompting evacuation warnings.

A fire near Covelo started late Tuesday, threatening homes in an old ranching and farming area. About 60 homes were ordered evacuated as winds whipped flames through brush, grass, oak, pine and fir near the Mendocino National Forest, officials said.

The Eel Fire was only about 40 miles north of where twin fires in Mendocino and Lake counties known collectively as the Mendocino Complex have burned 110,168 acres — an area nearly three times the size of San Francisco.

Together the Mendocino Complex fires have destroyed 14 homes and threatened 12,200 more.

The Lake County seat of Lakeport remains under evacuation orders and was a virtual ghost town, although people were allowed back home in several smaller communities as firefighters shored up containment lines. Containment grew overnight to 39 percent.

Jessyca Lytle fled a fast-moving wildfire in 2015 that spared her property but destroyed her mother's memorabilia-filled Lake County home.

Lytle found herself listening to scanner traffic Tuesday and fire-proofing her mother's new home as another wildfire advanced.

"Honestly, what I'm thinking right now is I just want this to end," Lytle said, adding that she was "exhausted in every way possible — physically, emotionally, all of that."

Paul Lew and his two boys, ages 13 and 16, evacuated Saturday from their Lakeport home.

"I told them to throw everything they care about in the back of the car," said Lew, 45. "I grabbed computers, cellphones, papers. I just started bagging all my paperwork up, clothes, my guitars."

Lew, who is divorced from Lytle, is camped out at the house in the nearby community of Cobb that she fled in 2015. He is watching over her chickens, sheep and other animals. With a laugh, he said repeated fire alerts have made him an emergency preparation expert.

"It's like three a year," he said. "It's kind of crazy."

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