WILLITS, 1/14/19 — A small fire spotted burning above the 101 on the Ridgewood Grade is likely a controlled burn and has almost burned out to embers in a light rain. However, this has not kept dozens of people from calling into the CHP with reports of a fire.
A CHP officer we spoke to on the highway was not aware of any threat or response concerning the flame.
Southbound, the fire was visible almost immediately after the summit, and clearly visible a couple hundred yards past the turn off to Ridgewood Ranch. The fire was burning on the eastern side of the road, roughly 400 yards uphill. On the California Highway Patrol’s incident page reports of the fire can be seen starting at 5:10 p.m. with the latest one at 8:36 p.m. However, the page does not show any further action from the CHP or CalFire, indicating that the fire presented no threat and was under control. The fire appeared to be burning behind some trees, and this obscured view lead some to speculate it might be a structure fire, however, observation and Google Maps do not show any structures in the are where the fire was burning.
Though we could not reach CalFire, or local departments, it seems safe to conclude that this was just a particularly large controlled burn or burn pile — and anyhow, by 9 p.m. it was just about out.