Saturday, July 20, 2024

“This Could Have Been Much Worse”: Cal Fire Holds a Virtual Community Meeting on the Status of the Oak Fire


On the evening of September, Cal Fire personnel hosted a virtual community meeting on Facebook, updating the Mendocino County public on Willit’s Oak Fire’s current status. MendoFever watched the meeting composed a summation of the information given.

Cal Fire Public Information Officer Jeff LaRusso

  • Cal Fire has chosen to hold a virtual community meeting. We’re doing it virtual to respect the COVID restrictions currently in place and protect firefighters and the community. The community meeting’s objective is to provide accurate information and to answer general questions on Facebook.

Cal Fire Incident Management Team 5’s Operation Section Chief Jared Clinkenbeard 

  • Today’s operation has been going well. The fire is looking good. We’re continuing to establish control lines and reinforce those. Our primary focus has been on infrastructure. Making sure there are no power lines down. All fire-weakened trees are downed right now. We’re looking pretty good

Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall

  • Thank you, Cal Fire, and all local fire agencies. We had many responses in a rapid manner where we were battling wind, weather, fire, terrain, and dry fuels. 
  • We had to pull the trigger on the evacuations to save lives quickly.
  • The Sheriff’s Office works with the Cal Fire team to build these evacuation maps and rapidly decide what needs to be evacuated.
  •  We made good progress today reopening.
  • The following roads have reopened: Sherwood Road is opened up on the East and West side of Brooktrails and all the way through to Highway 101. Shimmins Ridge Road is open at this point.
  • The following roads are still closed: Third Gate Road, Skyview Road, Big John Road, Live Oak Drive, and Ryan Creek Road West of Highway 101.

Cal Fire Mendocino Unit Cheif George Gonzalez

  • Over the past several years, Mendocino County has suffered many tragedies.
  • This year, based on training, experience, and personnel, we could contain this incident to 1000 acres and protect thousands of homes in Brooktrails. 
  • Thank you to our community for training, reacting to our alerts, and being proactive in containing and avoiding wildfires.

Incident Management Team 5 Incident Commander Mike Parks

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  • We were brought in to assist the Cal Fire Mendocino Unit.
  • The Oak Fire could have been a much worse disaster had citizens not heeded the evacuations. We cannot thank citizens enough for their quick response. 
  • Fire season is not over. Please continue to heed the warnings.
  • We are very aware of the stress of evacuations. We need to make sure it is safe before allowing the public back home. Sometimes it takes a little bit longer than we’d hope but we want to assure your safety.

Due to technical difficulties, questions that were submitted via Facebook were not seen and thus remained unanswered.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
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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