MENDOCINO Co., 9/12/2020 — There has been some potentially confusing re-organization and re-naming of the massive fire burning in Mendocino National Forest, Shasta-Trinity National Forest, and now into the state responsibility area. The changing names, lead agencies, and wobbling acreage counts were perhaps inevitable in a fire of this scale.
However, as of today the fire is being called the August Complex, split into three areas, of which federal agencies have control of the northern and easter, with Cal Fire having control of the western zone nearest populated parts of Mendocino County. Cal Fire has taken over this area partially because the fire is now approaching the state responsibility area in private land.
The acreage for the whole fire is 846,812 acres according to most recent available data as of time of publication.
Originally, there were at least 37 distinct fires caused by lightning strikes from the August thunderstorms. Quickly, the fires merged into a few larger fires including the Hull, Hopkins, Elkhorn, and Doe, all which were managed under the name August Complex. Due to the vast area the fire spread to, crossing national forest, wilderness, and county lines, a decision was made in the middle of this week to split the complex into two, separately managed, complexes. Then again in the last 48 hours the fire was further split into three divisions as it approached the state responsibility area.
Earlier this week southern region of the original complex, which largely consisted of the Doe Fire, became one complex and the northern region of the original August Complex, including the Hopkins and Elkhorn, as well as two smaller fires, the Vinegar Peak and Willow Basin fires, became its own complex.
Originally, the northern complex went by the name Rock Complex. It was then renamed, becoming the Elkhorn Fire, and it has now been renamed again to be the August Complex North Zone. The southern region has also been renamed and is now known as the August Complex South Zone.