MENDOCINO Co., 9/15/21 — The Hopkins Fire, which grew rapidly to 257 within a few hours on the afternoon of September 12, is now nearing full containment three days later. With “minimal smoldering” today, the fire crews on the scene will begin shifting into “patrol mode,” watching for potential hazards and hot spots, according to this evening’s update from Cal Fire. All evacuation orders and road closures in the area have now been lifted, although there are still a few areas under evacuation warnings, which mean that residents should remain prepared to leave if conditions change and become unsafe.
Tonight’s report includes official numbers of how many structures were destroyed or damaged by the blaze: 30 residences and 16 other structures have been destroyed, and another four residences and one other building have been damaged. Over the last two days, members of CalFire’s damage inspection team have been surveying the fire’s path, and an official count is typically not released by the agency until that work is completed. Power lines came down and internet communications infrastructure was also damaged during the course of the fire, and a variety of different utilities companies have been working in the area to restore service over the last several days.
Cal Fire’s checklist with tips for for returning evacuees can be found here, and North Coast Opportunities has funds available for fire survivors. More information about services available from the county and other resources can be found by calling 707-234-6303 or on this webpage.
Yesterday, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office (MCS0) arrested Devon Johnson, a 20-year old man from Ukiah, on three counts of arson in connection with the Hopkins Fire, as well as for violation of probation connected to a previous burglary charge, and he is currently being held without bail. Sheriff Matthew Kendall announced the arrest in a video update from the scene of the fire, in which he stated that Johnson had been reportedly identified via a surveillance tape, and then arrested after he was spotted in the vicinity of the fire on the morning of September 14. The Sheriff’s Office and other agencies issued their last video from the fire tonight (watch here).
The fire’s rapid growth on Sunday reached the western edge of Lake Mendocino, and today Poppy Lozoff with the Army Corps of Engineers released a statement as to the agency’s future plans to address the damages caused by the fire (see below).
Here’s the full evening report from Cal Fire, followed by the statement from the Army Corps:Hopkins-Fire-in-Calpella-from-the-Ridgewood-grade-camera-at-3-p.m..png
Here’s the announcement from the Army Corps:
The Hopkins Fire has impacted Lake Mendocino/Coyote Valley Dam Recreation Areas. We are currently assessing the recreation day use areas along the west side of the lake. As conditions and resources allow, we will take inventory and begin the process of repairing and building with an eye for the future and what it means to occupy space within a wildland urban interface.Our hearts go out to our neighbors that have had their lives altered by the Hopkins Fire. Our routine patrols take us through some of the areas that experienced devastation. Out of respect for those that are not able to return home, we will keep the details on the impacts to recreation areas at a minimum. The damage to the recreation areas pales in comparison to the loss felt by some of our neighbors.
Our primary concern is safety. Fire personnel and utility crews are conducting work that is essential to safely repopulating areas. The recreation areas on the north and west side of the lake are closed to allow these essential tasks to occur as well as keep the public out of harm’s way. We understand the curiosity to see the impacts of fire is strong. Please do not enter closed recreation areas. We understand the community values the opportunities the lake provides and request your patience as we work to make it safe for opening. Kyen Campground was closed due to storm damage to power infrastructure in the winter of 2021 – that opening will also be delayed.We are grateful to the fire personnel from all over California, MCSO, CHP, and support staff that have responded to the various challenges the Hopkins Fire has presented. While the range of emotions upon seeing our changed community can vary by the hour, the idea that our community’s resilience will eventually bring peace to those who need it most, gives us hope.
Thank youPoppy LozoffOperations Project ManagerLake Mendocino/Coyote Valley Dam