Friday, December 1, 2023

Early Morning Fire near McNab Ranch Destroys Outbuilding—Evacuation Warnings Briefly Issued

Firefighters next to the last night’s structure fire [Picture provided by Hopland Chief Mitch Franklin]

Early this morning, Mendocino County residents living in the McNab Ranch area between Ukiah and Hopland awoke to alerts sent to their phones informing them fire was near and they should “Be ready to evacuate at any moment, gather your belongings, check on your neighbors and leave early if possible.”

Hopland Fire Protection District Chief Mitch Franklin told us firefighters were dispatched to the McNab Ranch after a resident reported a structure was on fire across the street from their home. Crews located the fully-involved building on the 7000 block of Feliz Road finding an outbuilding consumed in flames.

Chief Franklin described the structure as an outbuilding, more specifically a large shop filled with ranching equipment. Crews were able to contain the flames to the structure with no spread into the wildland.

The structure was destroyed as a result of the fire and the cause is actively under investigation, Chief Franklin said. With today’s temperatures expected to swell past 100°F, crews will be checking the burn site to make sure no flare-ups occur.

Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall told us one of his deputies was the second responder on the scene and watched embers drifting south towards an open field and nearby homes. The deputy contacted dispatch and requested an evacuation warning be issued to the specific area. The fire was brought quickly brought under control and the evacuation warning was lifted.

As our systems of disseminating emergency information have evolved, each incident that requires them tests our understanding of them. Last night, evacuation warnings were sent via text message to residents of zone 2UKV29, the designation of the McNab Ranch area. MCSO also shared the warnings more widely on the agency’s Facebook and Twitter pages. 

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Sheriff Kendall explained emergency notifications sent to cellphones are directed at residents directly threatened by an ongoing incident.

Also, take time and review MendoReady.org, the county’s primary hub of emergency communication. The website has been and continues to be a centralized space of information during fires, law enforcement incidents, weather events, and any other circumstances affecting residents.

Each resident needs to “Know Your Zone”. Mendocino County was carved into “zones” by the Office of Emergency Services. Each “zone” is referred to as a series of six alphanumeric characters, not necessarily easy to remember. Emergency notifications will be issued to specific zones affected by each incident. Residents would do themselves well to write down the code and put it on their refrigerator or somewhere easy to access. Use the map below, zoom in on the area of the county you reside, and get to “Know Your Zone”:

As residents of a fire-prone region, it serves us to remember the difference between evacuation warnings and orders. These are the definitions provided by California’s Office of Emergency Services:

Evacuation Order: Immediate threat to life. This is a lawful order to leave now. The area is lawfully closed to public access.

Evacuation Warning: Potential threat to life and/or property. Those who require additional time to evacuate, and those with pets and livestock should leave now.
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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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