UPDATE 2:40 p.m. — Cal Fire is now stating that the fire is 30% contained, and they are making good progress. Cal Fire also clarified that the fire is right up against the beach.
Usal Beach is of course the location of Usal Campground, and it appears that several campers are currently sheltering in place and my not be able to leave the area.
UPDATE 11:47 a.m. — Publicly available radar and transponder data show that two tankers are currently engaged over the fire with a third in its way from Ukiah.
7/28/19 — A wildfire, called the “Usal Fire” is burning at, or around, Usal Beach, north of Westport in northwestern Mendocino County.
The fire, which stood at 130 acres as of about 10:30 a.m., with 0% containment, has been characterized as having a slow rate of spread, and as being mostly held “at the ridge.” The Usal Fire began last night, with the first reports of a fire coming at around 11:30 p.m. Firefighters responded overnight and have been battling the flame since yesterday evening. This morning around 8 a.m. Cal Fire aircraft began to make water and retardant drops as well, with tankers flying in from Redding and Ukiah, and apparently refueling in Humboldt — and multiple helicopters as well.
Cal Fire tweeted out that campers are sheltering in place.
Cal Fire spokesman, Deputy Chief Scott McLean, reported that the fire is burning in “heavy timber and slash,” adding, “From what I understand being held at the ridge line.” Noting that the fire is burning right along the coast, in a cooler and more humid area than in inland California, McLean said, “It just shows you how volatile the vegetation is — to catch fire…The public cannot be complacent.” He added that there have as yet not been any major fires this season in the state, but there have been many small fire and, “those little ones can grow…so everyone needs to stay on their game.”
As of 11:30 a.m. today, extrapolating from publicly avaliable transponder and radar data, it appears that the tankers and helicopters have left the immeditate vicinity of the fire, though they were on it at 11 a.m. It is unclear if this is to refuel, or if it is because the fire is coming under control.
We will continue to update as more information becomes avaliable. Due to the remote location of this fire, on the scene reporting and information are more difficult to obtain.