Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tuesday August 4, 2015 Rocky Fire update

From the Lake County News
Time line of the fire and what they did to combat this Beast: As of August 4, 2015 estimated 65,000 acres.

Update for Aug 4, 2015 
Last Updated: August 4, 2015 7:30 pm  
Date/Time Started: July 29, 2015 3:29 pm  
Administrative Unit: CAL FIRE Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit 
County: Lake, Yolo & Colusa Counties  
Location: near Morgan Valley Road and Rocky Creek Road, east of Lower Lake  
Acres Burned - Containment: 67,000 acres - 20% contained  

Estimated - Containment: August 10, 2015  

                          August 4, 2015  7:30 pm
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Officials describe Rocky fire's development, effort to contain it, safety issues

LOWER LAKE, Calif. – Local, state and federal officials took part in a community meeting in Lower Lake on Sunday that sought to bring residents up to date on the effort to bring the Rocky fire under control.

Several hundred community members were on hand for the meeting, which included officials from Cal Fire, Lake County Fire, the Board of Supervisors, Lake County Sheriff's Office, Clearlake Police Department, Lake County Air Quality Management District and the Lake County Office of Emergency Services.

Congressman Mike Thompson and State Sen. Mike McGuire also were on hand to offer their support as well as assurances that the community will be receiving assistance to get it through the fire and the recovery period.

Across agencies and levels of experience, the message to the community was the same – that the Rocky fire was displaying unusual activity that even longtime fire service veterans hadn't encountered before, making it both dangerous and difficult to fight.

Fire officials said a critical element driving the fire's rapid growth and unpredictable behavior is the area's incredibly dry conditions, a result of four years of drought.

Just how quickly the fire grew initially was explained by Cal Fire Assistant Chief Linda Green, who went over the play-by-play of the fire's initial dispatch.
3:30 p.m. Wednesday July 29, 2015
Firefighters were first dispatched to a possible structure fire at the end of Rocky Creek Road east of Lower Lake just before 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, she said.

The first aircraft to arrive found the fire between 25 and 30 acres. By the time the first Cal Fire battalion chief got there minutes later, the fire was between 50 and 100 acres, and spotting, Green said.

When Copter 104 arrived from Boggs Mountain shortly afterward, it spotted a second fire on Morgan Valley Road about four miles away from where the first fire was reported, she said.

Those two fires eventually would combine, she said.

Then, a third fire was reported on Highway 20 at New Long Valley Road east of Clearlake, Green said. “We were a little stretched.”

She said the initial attack plan was to go aggressive on the second fire, a goal helped by additional resources coming into the county – specifically, a group of engines that was passing through the area of the third fire on Highway 20 and quickly controlled it to an acre.

Back in the Lower Lake area, within an hour, the Rocky fire had reached 150 acres. By 5 p.m. evacuations on Morgan Valley Road began, with the fire hitting 600 acres an hour later, she said.

By midnight, the size estimate was between 7,000 and 8,000 acres, according to Green.

Butte County-based Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mike Shorrock explained the movement of the fire after its initial push on Wednesday.

On Thursday, July 30 the fire made a rapid push to the west and down into Morgan Valley that night and then started heading toward Jerusalem Valley. He said firefighters managed to keep it north of Jerusalem Valley that night.

On Friday, July 31 there was a wind shift from about 9 a.m. to mid-afternoon, which covered the city of Clearlake with ash. Shorrock said air and ground resources were able to keep the fire east of the Cache Creek Dam on Friday.

On Saturday, August 1 aircraft flying overhead saw the most intense fire activity that had been seen up to that point on the incident. “We knew we were in for a long Saturday,” he said.

At noon, the fire broke across Cache Creek to the north and headed into the wilderness area, Shorrock said.

“We had planned on it getting to Highway 20,” Shorrock said. “We didn’t plan on it getting there so rapidly.”

Beginning at about 3 p.m. Saturday, the fire shifted under a very strong south-southwest wind and began a major run, Shorrock said.

Over the next five hours, the fire burned 22,000 acres.

“That’s a significant movement,” he said.

On Saturday night, firefighters held the fire at Highway 16 up to Highway 20 and over toward Walker Ridge Road, and were trying to stay ahead of the fire, he said.

On Sunday, August 2 the fire activity was heating up in the wilderness area south of Highway 20.

Shorrock said the incident is presenting the kind of fire danger that he in his 40 years in the fire service hasn't seen before.

“Some of the rules are thrown out just due to the intensity and the spread,” he said, adding that they're lucky to not have had many injuries to firefighters or civilians. Cal Fire previously reported two firefighters suffered minor injuries.

More resources on the way

Sheriff Brian Martin thanked the sheriffs in neighboring counties, Cal Fire, the Board of Supervisors, McGuire and Thompson, noting how all of the agencies are working together.

“This is unprecedented fire activity and it's more dangerous than normal,” Martin said.

Putting the fire's 22,000-acre spread on Saturday into perspective, he said that the city of Clearlake covers 6,400 acres.

Regarding evacuations, Martin said officials have had a lot of cooperation from communities. He said authorities know it's very inconvenient for people to have to leave their homes.

“We will do everything that we can to get you back as soon as we can,” he said, adding, they also want to make sure people are safe. “We will not lift these evacuations until we are certain that it is safe to do so.”

There are many considerations that go into deciding to allow people to return to their homes, which Martin said include having Pacific Gas and Electric look at power lines and local officials assess roads, as well as allowing for firefighters to finish mop up efforts. Going back too soon could hamper those efforts and result in harm, he said.

The Lake County Office of Emergency Services, Lake County Sheriff's Office and Cal Fire are the agencies with the authority to tell residents they can return to their homes after an evacuation, said Martin, urging people to wait for that confirmation rather than relying on statements circulated on the Internet.

He also encouraged people to show their appreciation for firefighters with signs or a friendly wave, and said donations may best be made to the Red Cross.

McGuire said the state's job is to make sure that Lake County has the resources it needs to be able to get through a disaster like the Rocky fire and thrive in the recovery.

He also pointed to the drought and its impact on the incident, with its unprecedented fire activity.

“It’s erratic, it’s massive, it’s burning hot and because of the wind we see this fire burning in all directions,” he said.

McGuire said firefighters from around the Western United States are coming to California to assist not just with the Rocky fire but with other major wildland fire incidents.

He said 400 hand crews have been activated from out of state, as have 14 California National Guard aircraft, eight of which – including a Chinook helicopter – are working the Rocky.

Two Nevada National Guard copters have been requested to help California, and two massive C130 tankers have been brought up from the Channel Islands in Southern California, with additional C130s heading into California, one from Colorado and one from Wyoming, McGuire said.

McGuire thanked Thompson for his efforts to secure a Fire Management Assistance Grant from President Barack Obama's Fire Relief Fund, which will cover up to 75 percent of the costs associated with the fire incurred by local, state and tribal governments.

He said the California Office of Emergency Services also has a team of specialists on the ground in Lake County to help assess damages, which has been a difficult task because of the fire's rapid rate of spread. “It's going to be a longterm project.”

McGuire added, “I will make you this promise right now, the California Office of Emergency Services is here for the long haul,” and is ready to assist residents and businesses with their damage claims.

He will host a town hall from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the Clear Lake High School MAC building, 350 Lange St. in Lakeport, where he said representatives of local and state agencies will be on hand to give updates on the fire.

Thompson told the community members at the gathering, “I've never seen fire this bad before,” but he credited the state and local officials working the incident for their skills and professionalism. “They are absolutely top notch.

Thompson also pledged to do everything he can to marshal all of the needed resources.

Cal Fire Division Chief Scott Lindgren said Cal Fire appreciated the thanks for the community, but he wanted to turn the attention back to the local agencies. “They're the ones that protect you day in and day out,” he said, asking for a round of applause for them.

Lindgren went on to caution residents that a lot of work is ahead. “We’re not out of the woods on this fire yet,” he said, also acknowledging the Rocky's “unprecedented fire behavior” which he said could result in more evacuations, a prediction that proved true in the time since the meeting.

“We have a long road to go once we get this fire out to get through the rest of this fire season because of the drought,” Lindgren said.

During a question and answer period, Martin encouraged community members to take evacuation notifications seriously, and to follow any mandatory evacuation orders that are issued.

Lindgren said evacuation advisories are issued when officials think there the potential for a fire to reach an area. He said such advisories aren't issued unless it's believed that there is a legitimate threat to a location. Mandatory evacuations are for immediate danger, he added.

As for those community members wondering if schools in the Konocti Unified School District will start on Aug. 12 as scheduled, Superintendent Donna Becnel said that day was still the target for opening.

She said parents and students will be notified if there are any changes.

Email Elizabeth Larson at elarson@la keconews.com . Follow her on Twitter, @ERLarson, or Lake County News, @LakeCoNews.
Full article link: http://www.lakeconews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=42847:officials-describe-rocky-fires-development-effort-to-contain-it-safety-issues&catid=1:latest&Itemid=197

From CAL FIRE  August 4, 2015   7:00AM


Rocky Fire Incident Information:
Last Updated:August 4, 2015 7:00 am  
Date/Time Started:July 29, 2015 3:29 pm  
Administrative Unit:CAL FIRE Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit 
County:Lake, Yolo & Colusa Counties  
Location:near Morgan Valley Road and Rocky Creek Road, east of Lower Lake  
Acres Burned - Containment:65,000 acres - 12% contained  
Estimated - Containment:August 10, 2015  
Structures Threatened:6,301  
Structures Destroyed:24 residences and 26 outbuildings destroyed; 3 structures damaged.  
Evacuations:Mandatory: Jerusalem Valley area east of Soda Creek, Bonham Road, Quarter Horse Lane, Mustang Court, Bronco Court, Sunset Court, Morgan Valley east of Bonham Road, Canyon Road, June Bug Road, Cambell Ranch Road, Sloan Ranch Road, Sky High Ranch Road, Rocky Creek Road, Dam Road from the gate to the dam, Grizzly Canyon, Long Branch Drive, Lance Road, Cougar Road, Red Rocks, Meridian Road, Antelope Road, Mule Skinner Road, Flint Look Place, Moccasin Road, Roundball Road, Watertrough Road, Grigsby Canyon, Lucky Canyon, Remington Canyon, Walker Ridge, Walker Ridge Road, No Guns Road, Meriann Drive, Bear Valley Road from Highway 20 to Wilbur Springs Road, Wilbur Springs Road and Morgan Valley Road X Butte Creek Road, Ogulin County Road and Spring Valley, Paradise Canyon, New Long Valley Road, Old Long Valley Road, Salt Canyon, Indian Hill Road, Flaming Hills Lane, Benmore Canyon, Red Rock Road, Red Rock Court, Round Mountain Road North West of Highway 22, Fern Way, Juniper Way, Holly Way, Golden Red Way, Shasta Road, Cougar Road, Jeep Trail, Smith Lane, Pueblo Trail, Quail Trail, Ogulin Canyon Road, Meadow Creek Road, Cache Creek Road, Wolf Creek Road, Spring Valley Road, Riverview Road, Rocky Ridge, Chalk Mountain Road, Lakeview Campground, Cache Creek Winery, Noggle Winery, Elm Way, Dogwood, Cedar, Blue Berry, Acacia Way, Acacia Street, Doe Trail, Madrone Way, Peach Way, Quince Way, Redwood Way, Sequoia Way, Tamarack Way, Weeping Willow Way, Yucca Way, Coyote Way, Elk Way and Fox Way.
Advisory: All areas including east of Hwy 29 @ Raita Road east of Hwy 53 north to Hwy 20, Clear Lake area east of Highway 53 from Dam Road to Highway 20, Spruce Grove Road, Noble Ranch Road, Black Bass Pass, Jerusalem Valley area west of Soda Creek, Double Eagle Ranch, Homes along Hwy 20 corridor between New Long Valley Road and east of the county line, Spruce Grove Road to intersection of Jerusalem Grade, Lake Ridge, Highway 53 west to Sulphur Bank Road along Highway 20.
Evacuation Centers: Middletown High School, Kelseyville High School
Road Closures: Jerusalem Valley Road is closed to all traffic at Spruce Grove Road, Highway 20 corridor will be closed from New Long Valley Road to Highway 53, both directions of Ogulin County Road and Highway 16 is closed from Highway 20 to the Yolo County Line.
An animal evacuation center is opened at the Lower Lake Social Services parking lot, 15975 Anderson Ranch Parkway, Lower Lake.  
Cause:Under Investigation 
Cooperating Agencies:CAL FIRE, Kelseyville FPD, South Lake FPD, Northshore FPD, Lake County Office of Emergency Services, CHP, CDCR, BLM, Lake Evacuation and Animal Protection (LEAP) RED CROSS, Lake County Sheriff, Lake County fire agencies, Salvation Army, Yolo County Sheriffs, Colusa County Sheriffs, Napa County Sheriffs, Pacific Gas and Electric, Nevada Division of Forestry, Cal Trans and California Conservations Corps.  
Total Fire Personnel:3,145  
Total Fire Engines:285  
Total Fire crews:72  
Total Airtankers:4  
Total Helicopters:19  
Total Dozers:57  
Total Water Tenders:40  
Conditions:The fire has crossed Hwy 20 in multiple spots and is expected to have significant activity. Firefighters are working aggressively to build control lines and sustain perimeter control. Residents are urged to stay vigilant and adhere to any changes in evacuations and road closures. Terrain is steep and rugged with limited access. In total, all evacuations impact over 13,118 citizens living in over 5,530 residences. Resources continue to respond from in and out of the state.  
Phone Numbers (707) 967-4207 (Rocky Fire Information Center )