Editor’s note: This is a rapidly developing situation and we are updating continually. To see the original reporting scroll down. To read the latest information from July 8, go to our latest article here.
Evacuation Map — zoom into Redwood Valley/Calpella for details:
UPDATE 8:25 p.m. — The Sheriff’s Office is beginning to allow some people to return to previously evacuated areas, and the shelter at Mendocino College dance studio has been closed. However, some residential areas remain under evacuation orders — at the time of this update this includes “the burn areas at West School Way at Uva Drive and Uva Drive at Forsythe Lane, due to fire mop up activities.” The latest updates for evacuations will be posted at MendoReady.org.
Anyone still needed shelter due to the fire is asked to contact the American Red Cross at 1-866-272-2237. Power is currently being restored to residential areas in the vicinity of the fire where it had been previously shut off, and the majority of road closures are now lifted. However, some roads may remain closed as fire crews continue to “mop up” and so residents returning home should exercise caution to allow emergency responders to continue working on roads within the burn scar.
UPDATE 7:15 p.m. — The Broiler Fire is now at 20% containment, and reached about 80 acres in size, according to Cal Fire’s most recent update from 7 p.m. Mandatory evacuations and some road closures remain in place. Fire fighters will remain on the scene overnight working to increase containment lines. One structure was destroyed in the fire, and Cal Fire has not yet provided a count of the number of structures damaged; 80 structures are threatened. No injuries have been reported. The full Cal Fire evening update can be read here. Current evacuation shelter information can be found in the previous update.
There are currently 15 engines, five water tenders, two hand crews, two dozers, and a total of 135 personnel on the scene from various fire departments around the county, Cal Fire, and the Department of Corrrections, as well as a number of county and state agencies including California Highway Patrol.
Fire fighters have also been responding to a number of other incidents both in and out of the county today including several smaller fires, false alarms, and assisting with mutual aid for fires across the state.
UPDATE 6:15 p.m. — Forward progress has stopped on the Broiler Fire, although much work remains to establish containment lines around the fire. A number of structures were damaged, although the Broiler Steakhouse was not significantly damaged in the blaze. Here’s a brief interview from the scene with Chief Gonzalez with more details, and another quick livestream from our reporter at the fire.
The evacuation shelter has been moved from the gymnasium to the dance studio at Mendocino College, and evacuees can go to the college parking lot at 1000 Hensley Creek Road for more information. The Ukiah Animal Shelter, located at 298 Plant Road in Ukiah, will be open beginning at 7 p.m. to take evacuated animals overnight — however, they are limited to 20 dogs, 20 cats, and six horses for tonight, according to the Sheriff’s Office, and may have additional capacity tomorrow.
The most current acreage estimate for the Broiler Fire puts the blaze at about 79.5 acres, and aircraft have been released from the scene. The Humane Society of Inland Mendocino confirmed via their Facebook page that all animals and staff were safely evacuated.
UPDATE 5:40 p.m. — Mendocino College, located at 1000 Hensley Creek Road, has been designated as the official evacuation site for the Broiler Fire according to the MendoReady.org. Some community organizations have offered shelter to evacuees in the Redwood Valley area, but Mendocino College gymnasium is the location selected by Mendocino County Office of Emergency Services (OES). The MendoReady website also shows the zones currently under mandatory evacuation orders, and road blocks. Current road closures include West Road at Vineyard Oaks, Uva Dive at Highway 101 and at Central Avenue. A large animal shelter is expected to be set up by around 7 p.m., according to Brentt Blaser of Mendocino OES.
CalFire Mendocino Unit George Gonzalez reported that “excellent progress” is being made on the fire, which has not grown significantly in size since the last estimate. He shared this video via Twitter.
UPDATE 4:50 p.m. — The fire has jumped West Road and is heading southwest towards Calpella. New mandatory evacuations are being issued in that direction. The fire is now at least 50 acres and growing, with 0% containment. Calls continue to go out for more engines, and departments from across the county are responding with resources along with Cal Fire.
Complicating matters a car accident has occurred on the 101, right at the West Road off-ramps. In addition there are live power transmission lines in the area, though all power distribution lines in the area have been shut down.
In a brief phone interview Sheriff Matt Kendall explained that the situation is moving very quickly and county though emergency staff have created an evacuation map which can be viewed at https://mendoready.org/ or directly at the Google Maps page. For now deputies are moving door-to-door, informing people of the mandatory evacuations and helping them get out. Law enforcement units from other agencies around the county, and the probation staff have also.
A large area is being evacuated, but Sheriff Kendall elaborated that this is at least somewhat precautionary because of the strong coastal winds that tend to blow through the valley at this time of day.
Said Kendall, “It’s minute by minute…The evac zones are going to be purposefully large because we are concerned about the wind — we’ve got deputies going to door-to-door and they’re being supported by other peace officers as well as probation…Based on what I’m seeing on the information that I’m getting it looks like we’ve got 4 or 5 aircraft along with helicopters.”
The Humane Society also announced that they have evacuated the animals from the shelter:
UPDATE 3:30 p.m. — Firefighters are now reporting that some structures are fully involved on Uva Drive. Mandatory evacuations are being issued for areas east and south of the fire, which is burning in the vicinity of a famous local restaurant the Broiler Steakhouse. Those evacuations look likely to include Vineyard Oaks Dr. down to Forsythe Dr. As of 3:42 p.m. the fire had continued pushing south and mandatory evacuations were being requested as far south as Lennix Dr.
More engines are being requested from across the county and continue to arrive, indicating just how severe and quickly moving this blaze is.
UPDATE 3:20 p.m. — The fire is now has reached at least 20 acres, with a moderate rate of spread in dry grass. Several structures are threatened, and the area south of the 101, along Uva Dr. is likely to see a mandatory evacuation in the next few minutes. The 101 remains open but smoke is beginning to affect visibility.
Local units from the Redwood Valley Fire Department responded early, as are firefighters from various other departments as part of mutual aid. Cal Fire has sent multiple aircraft. The fire appears to be pushing east, driven by a westerly.
Officials are evacuating a trailer park in the area, but further evacuations have not been called.
WILLITS, 7/7/21 — A notable wildfire is burning right near the famed Broiler Steak house in Redwood Valley. Cal Fire is already considering evacuations, and the fire has reached between 10 and 15 acres in size.
A large number of fire resources are responding, and scanner chatter indicates that several structures are threatened. Also from scanner chatter we are hearing that the cause of the fire was a lawn mower.
So far the fire is not affecting traffic on U.S. Route 101, though Uva Drive is being closed.
This is a preliminary report and we’ll continue to update.