Fire

Parts of  Lake Mendocino Burned as the Hopkins Fire Spread Eastward

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Rubble of a burned down home on East Calpella Road [All pictures by Matt LaFever]

This morning’s Hopkins Fire update from CAL FIRE indicates the fire is now considered 30% contained as both ground and air resources worked overnight to suppress the fire with the assistance of lower temperatures and higher humidity.

CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit’s Public Information Officer Patricia Austin told us the Hopkins Fire spread eastward on Sunday was somewhat inhibited by Lake Mendocino, but also expressed concern that there were spots into the lake bed where “even the muddy area was dry enough vegetation to start a fire.” 

PIO Austin said these flare-ups in a muddy lake bed demonstrate “how dry the vegetation is. She added, “In the past, there was protection near bodies of water.” In the context of the current drought, she said, “The lake and the water aren’t necessarily going to stop these fires because the vegetation is so dry. I have lived near or in Mendocino County most of my life and I have never seen it this low.”

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A CAL FIRE hand crew marching into the Hopkins Fire

As fire suppression efforts continue, the current acreage of the Hopkins Fire stands at 257 acres and in the fire area, approximately 200 structures were threatened. This morning’s CAL FIRE Incident update said the “Damage Assessment Team” would be on-site today working to determine the number of structures damaged or destroyed as a result of the Hopkins Fire. 

Reporting from the scene the day of the Hopkins FIre, this reporter counted at least 20 burned-down structures.

This morning’s update indicates that the Hopkins Fire cause is still under investigation and confirmed that there are no fatalities as a result of the blaze.

Yesterday, in a video update to Mendocino County residents affected by the Hopkins Fire, Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall and 1st District Supervisor Glenn Mcgourty celebrated the community for their patience and understanding as fire crews work to make the area safe before broad repopulation efforts. 

Sheriff Kendall said much of the work required before repopulation includes falling trees burned by the fire and securing downed powerlines.

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A PG&E Lineman dousing a burned utility pole

To those desperate to assess the status of their homes, Mcgourty offered “We know your hearts are broken, in some cases, but life will return to normal, and the more you cooperate the sooner that is going to happen.”

Large swaths of the areas initially under mandatory evacuation have since been downgraded to an evacuation warning. As per a Nixle Alert issued by MCSO last night, the following areas are still under mandatory evacuation:

  • Eastside Calpella Rd from 4800 block north to Cortina Place
  • Moore Street east of North State Street
  • Marina Drive
  • Black Oak Drive
  • Rubicon Court
  • North end of Lake Ridge Road (north of the gate at 5780 Lake Ridge Road).

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.

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Firefighters working to suppress structure fires on East Calpella Road

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 regarding repopulation efforts.

There are several road closures still in effect surrounding the Hopkins FIre including:

  1. Lake Ridge Road (near the gate at 5780 Lake Ridge Road)
  2. 4801 East Side Calpella Road.
  3. Moore Street at North State Street.
  4. East Side Calpella Road at Cortina Place.
  5. Highway 20 at Marina Drive.

Several GoFundMe donation drives have emerged for families that have lost their homes in the Hopkins Fire. A friend of Adam and Melidy Lane, a pair of beloved Ukiah Valley educators, who lost their homes established a GoFundMe for them. Also, a friend of the Jenney Family, who also lost their home, is hoping the community will consider supporting them. Please, if you know of an active GoFundMe ongoing for a victim of the Hopkins fire, please email us at matthewplafever@gmail.com, and will gladly share.

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