LITTLE RIVER, 3/31/21 — Two significant controlled burns escaped this Saturday; one in Mendocino County near Cloverdale and the other in Siskiyou County. Both are now 100% contained.
North of Cloverdale a controlled burn on Circle D ranch, a private property, escaped in the afternoon. Hopland and Mendocino Cal Fire units contained the fire at 19.3 acres according to Tricia Austin, public information officer for Cal Fire.
In Siskiyou, the Refuge fire burned 873 acres from March 27 to March 29. It was the first larger fire to burn in Northern California in the 2021 season. The rest of the fires that have burned north of Santa Cruz so far this year were closer to 20 acres. However, a few other larger, relatively, fires have hit southern California so far this year including the 685 acre Wolf Fire in Kern County, which burned in January, and the 715 acre Bonita fire which burned in the San Jacinto Mountains south-southeast of Los Angeles, also in January.
The Refuge Fire in Siskiyou was escaped from a controlled burn on private property. Suzi Bray, the public information officer for Cal Fire Siskiyou said that the forward spread of the fire was stopped within 24 hours.
Historically, fire season has started around June in California, but that is changing. According to UC Berkeley scientists, fire season has increased by more than two months in the Western United States due to climate change.
“It’s extremely dry here,” said Bray, speaking about Siskiyou. “Our trees have been stressed with not a lot of moisture so they’re very dry. It could be a very busy fire season but it’s hard to predict.”
The refuge fire is one of 13 fires over 10 acres which have burned 2,281 acres so far this season. Cal Fire only records fires that are 10 acres or more, so fires smaller than that are not included in the total acreage.