This is a developing situation and information may change. We’ll update this article as more information becomes available. The most recent information will be updated at the top of the article, with the earlier reports below.
MENDOCINO Co., 8/19/23 – National Weather Service Eureka (NWS Eureka) has issued a red flag warning for northeastern Mendocino County, including Round Valley and Covelo. The warning starts at 1 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m. on Saturday, August 19.
According to NWS Eureka, “A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now, or will shortly. A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.”
NWS Eureka forecasts scattered thunderstorms with abundant lightning in areas with dry fuels, including shrubs and grass, which increases the threat of fire starts. And with thunderstorms come high winds, with possible gusts up to 40 mph. The agency is requesting any plans for outdoor burning be canceled because “any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly.”
The warning comes at a time when dry lightning started twelve confirmed wildland fires in the Covelo area on August 15.
In addition to the red flag warning, the Mendocino County Air Quality Management District forecasts that portions of Mendocino County may experience a widespread haze and moderate smoke impacts due to wildfires burning in Northern California. For more detailed and current air quality and smoke information visit: https://fire.airnow.gov. Information about the current fires can be found at Cal Fire’s Current Emergency Incidents page and the United States Forest Service’s Inciweb site.
If you haven’t prepared your emergency go bag for a wildfire or signed up for notifications for a planned power outage, now’s a good time! You can check our our emergency guide here, and some tips about making sure you’re notified for any planned power outages due to wildfire risks.
Sarah Stierch covers wildfires, breaking news, and more for The Mendocino Voice. You can follow Stierch on Twitter and learn more about her work and donate to her directly at here. Contact Stierch at [email protected]. The Voice maintains editorial control and independence.