Although the campaign to finally keep the Ranch Fire in Mendocino County and the surrounding area from spreading further is still not over, Cal Fire reported Monday evening that crews are achingly close to finally containing the historically huge blaze.
The latest survey of the incident reveals that the 410,000-plus acre burn is now 90 percent contained by fire lines, and the state anti-fire agency is striking a weathered but optimistic tone with its updates.
According to Cal Fire’s most recent Ranch Fire statement:
Firefighters continue to make good progress on the Ranch Fire. Increased acreage is due to completed firing operations in the northeastern areas. [...] Crews continue to build and reinforce containment lines and mop up throughout the north and northeastern portions of the fire area. Firefighters continue with fire suppression repair efforts in the northwestern portions of the fire. The southern portion of the fire remains in patrol status as crews continue with suppression repair and mop up.
There’s still no official estimate about when full containment might occur, but firefighting efforts have made remarkable gains in just a few days, going from a reported two-thirds containment to the 90 percent mark in barely more than 24 hours.
On Monday the Glenn County Sheriff’s Department lifted evacuation orders for areas east of the Mendocino National Forest, including “County Road 306, north to County Road 308 and south to the Glenn-Colusa county line.
Sheriff staff also noted that “the community of Elk Creek is no longer under an Advisory Evacuation Notice.”
That means that virtually all of the evacuation orders relative to the Ranch Fire are finished, although the Bureau of Land Management cautions that the “closure of the Cow Mountain Recreation Area remains in effect,” and the Mendocino National Forest itself is closed “to all but forest residents with permits and proof of residency” until further notice.
The Ranch Fire, which along with the related River Fire was known as the Mendocino Complex Fire, which almost immediately became the largest wildfire in state history.
The Ranch Fire on its own quickly broke records and later became the state’s largest in its own right.