UPDATE 9/10/20 — Here is our latest:
UPDATE 9/9/20, 8:30 p.m. — U.S. Route 101 has been reopened to traffic in both directions north of Willits, CalTrans announced around 8:30 p.m. Progress on the Oak Fire which burned north of Brooktrails and into the canyon through which the 101 runs, has been substantial and containment is now at 25%, though the fire has not grown in size in over 24 hours. The diminished fire activity has been largely due to the terrible smoke cloud hanging over Northern California, which has reduced temperatures and stifled wind. The fire remains at 863 acres in size.
More broadly, weather conditions are improving across the west, with winds and heat diminishing and humidity rising. The fact that the fire has not grown in quite some time is an excellent indicator that the fire is coming under control and an end to evacuations may be insight.
However, as fire conditions improve Cal Fire’s damage inspection teams will begin to survey the area and make a careful accounting of destruction. Right now only two structures are confirmed destroyed, but that count may increase in the coming days.
WILLITS, 9/9/20 — The pall of smoke created by the August Complex continues to covered most of Mendocino County, and to create locally favorable weather conditions that firefighters have used to their advantage in holding the Oak Fire, burning north of Brooktrails, to 863 acres. The fire began on Monday, Labor Day, and fire crews have kept the fire from growing significantly since the first day, during which the fire grew rapidly, and the number of structures threatened has been significantly reduced.
The Cal Fire morning update notes that “favorable fire fighting efforts continue due to an inversion layer trapping smoke,” and crews have continued to increase and strengthen containment lines, as well as build “indirect contingency lines” using existing fuel breaks.
Evacuations areas remain the same as yesterday, and can be viewed on the map below from the sheriff’s office. U.S. Route 101 also remains closed, and the threat of falling trees will likely keep the highway closed for some time.
Containment on the fire remains at 10%, but it should be remembered that the containment percentage refers to the amount of the fire’s perimeter that has been surrounded by hard containment line — often dozer line and, hose line. Fires often come under control in other ways before official 100% containment is reached. For instance, firefighters can “go direct” on a fire, dousing it with water from hoses, and making bucket drops with helicopters, or even digging the fire under with hand tools. In favorable conditions this action can result in sections of the fire that are essentially “out.” The fire can also burn itself out into areas with little fuel, or into natural breaks. In favorable weather this can mean that while the fire is not officially “contained”
Here’s our coverage from yesterday:
Here’s Cal Fire’s morning update:AM-INCIDENT-UPDATE-OAK-FIRE-9-9-2020-