UPDATE 5/22/21 — The Tomki Fire, which started yesterday in heavy brush and slash, is mostly controlled and holding steady at 20 acres. Firefighters have extended containment lines to 40% of the fire, and expected to be working mop up for the next couple days.
UPDATE 4:50 p.m. — In a brief phone interview Chief Gonzalez said that the fire is in fact 20 acres in size, but that that new larger sizes is the result of better measurements, not growth. He said the fire had roughly been within the same “blueprint” since they arrived this morning — but as it was burning in very rugged and steep land the initial measurement was in error.
No structures were threatened or burned. Cal Fire will remain on the scene for two to three days to mop up.
UPDATE 2:25 p.m. — Chief George Gonzalez of the Mendocino Cal Fire Unit has tweeted out that the fire is holding at 3 acres:
WILLITS, 5/21/21 — A modest wildfire is burning in thick brush and timber west, and uphill from Tomki Road, in the canyon north of Redwood Valley. According to Cal Fire the is at about 5 acres, as of 1:30 p.m., however, it has been burning since at least around 10 a.m., indicating a fairly moderate rate of spread.
A firefighter at the Redwood Valley Fire Department referred to the incident as an “air show,” meaning that the fire has been largely fought with air resources from Cal Fire. Several aircraft have attacked the fire, including Copter 101, multiple propeller tankers, and one two “large air tankers” (LATs). The reason for this is that this particular hillside is very steep with limited road access.
On the scene are at least engines from Redwood Valley, Little Lake Fire, Cal Fire, and Brooktrails Fire.
The fire is burning directly across the canyon from the Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery, a notable local landmark.
Though it is quite windy in much of the county, this particular fire appears to be pretty well handled and not spreading rapidly. The rest of the state is also fairly quiet today, and as a result Cal Fire has a lot of air resources available to work this small fire. Dozers have been called in, and it’s possible that in such steep terrain firefighters are taking an approach of setting up containment lines somewhat farther than usual.