Wednesday, May 31, 2023

200 Structures Threatened But Hopkins Fire Now 20% Contained After Burning 257 Acres and Destroying a Number of Homes

Firefighters working the Hopkins Fire on East Calpella Road [Photographs provided by Matt LaFever]

As per a morning update from CAL FIRE regarding the status of the Hopkins Fire, approximately 200 structures were threatened by the blaze that ripped through oak woodland yesterday afternoon filling Ukiah Valley skies with an ominous smoke column and causing mandatory evacuations in the area. CAL FIRE states that the latest information indicates the fire burned 257 acres and is now 20% contained.

As of 7:00 a.m. this morning, the cause of the fire is under investigation and the approximate start of the incident was identified as the area near the cross street of East Hopkins and North State Street in Calpella.

As per an interview with CAL FIRE Battalion Chief and the Hopkins Fire Incident Commander Drew Rhodes last night, the fire reportedly began in the riverbed 100 yards south of the Moore Street Bridge.

The rubble of a home on East Calpella Road

During the night, firefighters made “good progress” on controlling the Hopkins Fire assisted by “lower temperatures and higher humidity.” Today, ground and air resources will continue fire suppression efforts. CAL FIRE states a damage assessment team will also be in the area surveying to “determine how many structures have been damaged or destroyed.”

Mandatory evacuation orders are still in place for large swaths of land affected by the Hopkins Fire. The general description of the area still under evacuation orders provided on MendoReady.org, the county’s emergency information dissemination mechanism, states the evacuation order is south of Highway 20, west of Lake Mendocino, north of Okie Flats, and east of East Calpella Road.

 Be sure to bookmark MendoReady.org and refer to it for future emergency information.

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CAL FIRE provided a list of the road closures that are still in effect:

  1. East Side Calpella Road @ Deghi Lane (Ukiah)
  2. South Side entrance of Lake Ridge Road @ the Lake Mendocino South Boat Ramp Overlook (Ukiah)
  3. Moore Street @ the bridge/railroad tracks just west of East Side Calpella Road (Calpella)
  4. Eastside Calpella Road @ Road 144 (on-ramp/off ramp from Highway 20 to Redwood Valley
  5. Marina Drive at Highway 20 (access road to Lake Mendocino North Boat Ramp in Redwood Valley
Vegetation flares up as the Hopkins Fire works eastward up the ridge towards Lake Mendocino

Multiple evacuation centers have been established for evacuees and their animals displaced by the Hopkins Fire. Evacuees are being provided shelter at Mendocino County Office of Education, 2240 Old River Road, Ukiah. Two options exist for animals:  Redwood Empire Fair Grounds at 1055 State Street in Ukiah or the Mendocino County Animal Shelter on Plant Road in Ukiah.

Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office is collaborating with the Mendocino County Office of Emergency Services to repopulate the area. If you or your loved ones are currently displaced by the fire, refer to the Nixle website for Mendocino County or our article regarding repopulation efforts for the latest information.

Ukiah Unified Schools will remain open today, as per an announcement from Ukiah Unified School District. 

According to the CAL FIRE morning update, 22 fire engines were assigned to the incident, 6 water tenders, 2 helicopters 6 hand crews, and 7 dozers. Regarding air attack, CAL FIRE states, numerous firefighting air tankers from throughout the State are used when available for fire suppression missions as needed and conditions allow.”

CAL FIRE provided a comprehensive of the numerous agencies that converged on the Hopkins Fire yesterday to combat the flames: Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol, Caltrans, California Conservation Corp, Hopland Fire Department, Ukiah Valley Fire Authority, Redwood Valley-Calpella Fire Department, Redwood Coast Fire Department, Brooktrails Fire Department, Potter Valley Fire Department, Little Lake Valley Fire Department, MedStar Ambulance, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, California National Guard, Brooktrails Fire Department, Laytonville Fire Department.

For a moment, we want to recognize the pain and panic our community experienced yesterday. The Hopkins Fire proved the be the most destructive fire in Mendocino County of the season thus far and the loss of property and the trauma of a disaster will be felt for years. Please, do what you can to support those directly affected by the Hopkins Fire and remember our collective power to assist those in need

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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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