A vegetation fire has ignited this afternoon along the Willits Grade portion of Highway 101 prompting a full wildland fire response.
Scanner traffic and the California Highway Patrol Traffic Incident Information page indicate reports of the fire emerged around 12:52 p.m. in the area of mile marker 39 along Highway 101.
Firefighters at scene said the fire is currently on the Redwood Valley side of Highway 101 burning eastward up a hill. The Caltrans Quickmap indicates traffic is at a complete stop in the area.
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office has issued the following alert:
Situational Awareness: Wildfire in the Willits area, along Highway 101 near Ridgewood Ranch at MM 39, No further action needed at this time, Use caution and avoid the area. We will publish updates to mendoready.org as more information becomes available.
UPDATE 1:15 p.m.: Scanner traffic indicates the fire has continued to spread jumping a road in the area of the fire which is reportedly spreading at a moderate rate.
A firefighter at scene reported the fire at this point does not seem to be heading toward any structures.
UPDATE 1:23 p.m.: The Incident Commander reported the fire is 5-10 acres in size and holding at the railroad tracks in the area. The fire reportedly began as three spot fires that converged into one jumping the ridgeline to the north.
California Highway Patrol has initiated a be on the lookout for an unknown vehicle driving northbound reportedly dragging a sparking chain.
UPDATE 1:32 p.m.: One lane on the east side (northbound side) of Hwy 101 is being closed. Caltrans has been requested to assist. The Incident Commander has asked for two additional water tenders to be deployed to the incident.
UPDATE 1:55 p.m.: The Incident Commander estimated that the fire is approximately 25 acres and firefighters are still working on perimeter control.
UPDATE 2:16 p.m.: Resources are being released from the fire indicating it is coming under firefighters’ control.
UPDATE 2:42 p.m.: The Incident Commander reported the Golden Fire’s forward progress has been stopped.
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.