Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Six Fires Burn in the Ukiah Valley; Law Enforcement Seeks Arsonist


Multiple fires (at least four) have broken out around Ukiah. Law enforcement is searching for a Hispanic or Indian male with a ponytail wearing all black clothing on a bicycle as a possible suspect in starting the fires, according to the scanner.

Thank you to our sister site Redheaded Blackbelt for writing updates while we were out in the field taking pictures.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office has issued evacuation warning for Jefferson Lane to Oak Knoll Road.

Please remember that information gathered from initial reports is subject to revision as more facts become available.

UPDATE 5:38 p.m.: The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office tweeted the evacuation warning above and the following photo at 5:23 p.m. They tweeted, “Fire Evacuation WARNING for Jefferson Lane to Oak Knoll Road in the Ukiah area. If you live on any of the streets in this area, be prepared to evacuate.”

Smoke rising from the South Dora Fire.

Smoke rising from the South Dora Fire. [Photo shared by the MCSO]UPDATE 5:45 p.m.: Message from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department on Facebook:

We currently have active fires on
1) South Dora at Fircrest, another
2) at the end of Plant Road, another
3) between Gobelet and Hwy 253, another
4) at Norgard Land, another
5) one unconfirmed behind Walmart
We are looking for a person of interest, described as an Indian or Hispanic adult male, dressed in all black clothing with a pony tail on a bicycle last seen in the south end of Ukiah. If you see someone fitting this description please call 911 immediately.

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UPDATE 6:17 p.m.: A first responder says there are new fire starts at Talmage and Babcock east of Hwy 101. He reported seeing the suspect walking north on Babcock towards Gobi.

UPDATE 6:31 p.m.: Smoke blowing across Babcock. Photo from Matt LaFever

=UPDATE 6:37 p.m.: There is no longer any traffic going east to west on Talmage Road. First responders are directing cars to turn around.

UPDATE 6:39 p.m.: The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office tweeted at 6:39 p.m. that the evacuation warning for the South Dora area has been lifted.

UPDATE 6:56 p.m.: The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook, “We have detained the person of interest. Thank you everyone for your help. There was also another fire set near the Talmage Bridge but it has been contained.”

UPDATE 7:13 p.m.: The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook, “Person detained on Talmage Road is not a suspect and is being released. The search is still ongoing.”

UPDATE 7:52 p.m.: The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook, “6th fire started and extinguished about 30 minutes ago at the end of Airport Park. Several people have been stopped but so far there have been no positives matches. Still looking for an adult male, possibly Native American or Hispanic, wearing all black clothing, ponytail on a bike. We’ve stopped several people but all have been determined not to be involved.” 

FlightRadar24 indicates upwards of seven air resources being utilized to fight the fires. 

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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