Wednesday, October 4, 2023

[UPDATE: 40% Contained]Significant Wildfire Ignites on Bell Springs Road

The fire as seen from the Black Oak Alert Wildfire Camera

A full wildland fire dispatch was ordered around 4:36 p.m. to the area of Bell Springs Road, between Laytonville and Leggett, for a vegetation fire reportedly located six miles up near Blue Rock

The fire can be seen from the Alert Wildfire Black Oak Camera and there is a significant smoke column rising from the area.

Firefighters at the scene are requesting Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office issue evacuations in the area.

UPDATE 5:01 p.m.: A firefighter at the scene reported the Bell Fire has grown to 20 acres with the potential to become 80 acres. Multiple structures are threatened.

A resident nearby provided the following image of the fire, being referred to as the #BellFire:

A picture of the Bell Fire provided by a nearby resident

UPDATE 5:06 p.m.: The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office issued a situational awareness alert for the area:

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UPDATE 5:11 p.m.: At least six firefighting aircraft are converging on the Bell Fire at this moment, as seen on FlightRadar24.com.

[Screenshot from FlightRadar24.com]

The latest images from the Black Oak Alert Wildfire camera show the column is still significant, white in color, and a charred hillside in the burn area.

The fire as seen from the Black Oak Alert Wildfire Camera

UPDATE 5:28 p.m.: Reports from the scene characterized the fire now growing at a “slow rate of spread” with no evacuations needed at this time.

The Alert Wildfire Camera does show the column diminishing in size.

California Highway Patrol will be positioned at the intersection of Highway 101 and Bell Springs Road allowing only fire personnel up the rural roadway. A CHP officer will also be stationed one-half mile north of the fire on Bell Springs for the same reason.

UPDATE 5:46 p.m.: Reports from the Bell Fire indicate that air resources are making good progress on the fire. Air tankers are being released and other aircraft will be orbiting for the next 15 minutes searching for spots.

UPDATE 6:00 p.m.: The Incident Commander is reporting the Bell Fire is holding at 20 acres.

There is still a visible column at the scene, but its size has diminished significantly.

UPDATE 6:37 p.m.: The Incident Commander reported the Bell Fire’s acreage stands at 43.9 acres.

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UPDATE 7:27 p.m.: CAL FIRE issued an official incident update stating the fire’s forward progress has been stopped. The Incident Update, unlike the acreage provided earlier this evening, stated the fire grew to 22 acres in size and has reached 40% containment.

CALFIRE’s Incident Update on the Bell Fire

CALFIRE also provided this picture of the Bell Fire taken from one of the responding air resources:

[Picture provided by CALFIRE]

Please remember that this story is unfolding. Information is being reported as we gather it. However, some of the information coming from witnesses and initial official reports could be wrong. We will do our best to get the facts but, in the case that something is inaccurate, we will update with correct information as soon as we can.

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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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