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Crews Make Progress On Mendocino Fires

Noah Berger / AP Photo

Cal Fire Division Chief Mark Higgins directs helicopters dropping water as the River Fire burns in Lakeport, Calif., Tuesday, July 31, 2018.

Noah Berger / AP Photo

Updated 8:29 p.m.

Cal Fire reports progress in containing near twin fires burning in Mendocino and Lake counties across wilderness on both sides of Clear Lake.

The agency says Sunday night that the Ranch Fire is now 23 percent contained, and the River Fire is now 58 percent contained. The entire so-called Mendocino Complex Fire is now one of the largest on record in the state, officials said, at 266,982 acres.

The agency reports that a total of 9,300 structures are threatened, 68 homes have been destroyed and 12 other homes have been damaged.

The fires have caused evacuation orders or warnings in four counties: Colusa, Glenn, Lake, and Mendocino.See the latest evacuation orders here.

At noon Sunday Cal Fire announced that some residents in North Lakeport could return to their homes.


Cal Fire says flame lengths from the Ranch Fire reached 300 feet Saturday and that a smoke column, also called a pyrocumulus cloud, collapsed and created unstable conditions.

The fires are burning north and west of Clear Lake. They remained several miles from the evacuated communities along the eastern shore of the lake, but "it looks like there's dicey weather on the way," California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokeswoman Jane LaBoa said.

Ash from the fires drifted east, covering the ground with a thin layer as far away as Yuba County on Saturday.

The National Weather Service forecasts hot and windy conditions to persist in Northern California.

Meteorologist Steve Anderson said temperatures will remain in the 90s in the region throughout the week with wind gusts reaching 25 mph during the day Sunday.

"It's not good firefighting weather," Anderson said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Bob Moffitt

Sacramento Region Reporter

Bob reports on all things northern California and Nevada. His coverage of police technology, local athletes, and the environment has won a regional Associated Press and several Edward R. Murrow awards.   Read Full Bio 

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