Posted by: ukiahhome | June 25, 2008

Information about Mendocino Fires and Smoke

On June 20th, an evening lightning storm ignited more than 100 wildfires locally. Most of these fires are burning on sparsely populated mountain ranges within Mendocino county, but the smoke level in inhabited areas such as Ukiah and Anderson Valley is intense at this time.

As a resident land owner in the Ukiah area, I found information about these fires difficult to locate (because San Francisco media does not cover this far north). Therefore, I am providing this blog as service to other Mendocino residents who seek information about the current situation.

Note: I moved this blog here from my primary technology blog site Carl’s REBOL Blog.

Quick summary

  • Numerous small fires (100 acres or less) and a few larger fires (1000 acres or more) are burning.
  • The fires are in high mountain areas where lightning strikes occurred.
  • Most of the fires are unattended due to limited resources and rough terrain.
  • CalFire resources are focused on the most critical areas.
  • Smoke is a problem, and you should remain indoors.
  • Evacuations are in effect in some areas (see link below for official county alerts).
  • In some areas fires are spreading quickly. Other areas fires appear to be burning out on their own (judging from satellite observations).

Fire map

I composed this local map of fires burning in the Ukiah area from GeoMac thermal satellite images:

Fire map for southern Mendocino, June 24

Bright color areas (yellow, orange, red) are fires active within the last 24 hours. The small red dots are new spot fires, and we all need to stay on the lookout for those.

If you need details outside of this perimeter, you can find them on GeoMac Fire Support (thermal satellite imaging).

For official information

Note that unlike singular fires what have a name, these fires have been grouped together by CalFire under the name “Mendocino Lightning Complex“. That’s what to use for your web searches.

  • CalFire’s Mendocino Fires summary has finally been provided and contains important details. Read it.
  • The CalFire home page provides a brief summary of current fires (they finally got in gear and removed their useless self promotion video).
  • The Ukiah Daily Journal has been tracking the situation closely and updating its website information on a regular basis. Thanks UDJ!
  • California Fire News (an independent source not affiliated with CalFire) has a blog page that provides many useful facts, details, and maps of the fires.
  • For official evacuation alerts, check Mendocino county’s Office of Emergency Services, Wildfire Information web page.

Ukiah area smoke…

Currently, the main effect of these fires on Ukiah Valley is only the smoke. (And let’s hope it remains that way). Residents are advised that air quality is severe, and you should remain indoors if possible.

In Ukiah Valley, thick smoke is from the Orr Fire, just a few miles to the west, up-wind from Ukiah, and also from the Dos Rios and Covelo fires further to the north.

Judging from the reduction in solar luminance, the smoke layer is worse today (June 25) than it was yesterday.

Ukiah Smoke

Ukiah Valley on June 23

Ukiah normally

Ukiah Valley, most of the time

Here, we’ve closed off all outside air (windows, etc.) with air-conditioning running to help clean the indoor air, as much as possible. (Probably not a whole lot due to the small size of the smoke particulate matter. Now is when I wish I had purchased those electrostatic filters… which ionize the particles to do a better job.)

CalFire summary statement

As of 5PM on 24-June, CalFire issued this summary:

The Mendocino Lightning Complex has burned approximately 13,000 acres. There are currently approximately 131 fires. Many have the potential to increase in size. Fires continue to burn with varying rates of spread in moderate to heavy fuels. Resources are limited due to the fires throughout Northern California, with resources being assigned as they become available.



  1. Thanks for this site, it helps alot. close friends are on orr springs, had to leave, called back, then on alert, with possibly evac agian. Wind is to pick up today. Thanka agian…
    Stand Waiting

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