Updated with more info: Areas ravaged by fire re-open to residents – most of Redwood Valley, Potter Valley, Pine Mountain opens

Small areas remain evacuated.

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MENDOCINO Co., 10/15/17 — After a week of battling fires that swallowed up huge parts of Mendocino County, firefighters have made enough progress to re-open the majority of areas that had remained under evacuation. Most of Redwood Valley, Potter Valley, and Pine Mountain will be re-opened at noon today, Sunday. These areas will remain under an evacuation watch, but residents may return to being the hard task of rebuilding.

The fire is at 35,000 acres and is 35% contained, as of the 7am update on Sunday, CalFire reports at least 2,000 people have been displaced. As of last night, CalFire estimated that around 200 homes had been burned to the ground in Mendocino County. Residents are warned to take caution when returning home, and  be prepared for delays and traffic on the roads. We’ve posted general information about the current state of the fire first, then details on the re-opening, and then more health and safety tips about returning home below.

Current info about assistance for evacuees:

The shelters for evacuees will be combined into one shelter at Mendocino College, at 1000 Hensley Creek Road, opening at 1pm today. Starting Tuesday, October 17, a local assistance center will open for two weeks at the college gymnasium, from 10am – 7pm, to help get assistance to evacuees. The center will include assistance from multiple agencies, to provide supplies, food, clothing, temporary housing, medical appointments, financial assistance, driver’s licenses, counseling, and more. Various county departments, state and local agencies, and non-profits will providing assistance include the agriculture department, environmental and public health, vital records, the Social Security Administration, state licensing and contracting agencies, and much more. Please note: due to space limitations donated goods will not be accepted.

North Coast Opportunities is offering immediate assistance for individuals, and you can apply for FEMA assistance on their website, their app, or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), and should be able to apply in-person at the local assistance center soon. You can call the Emergency Operations Center Call Center 707-467-6428 with any additional questions. More information is also available on the county’s fire information page.

Since so many people are still hoping to connect with their loved ones, the county is asking people who were evacuated to please contact the Emergency Operations Center  and provide the following to help let family and friends know everyone is ok. The EOC will take your name, address, telephone number, and information about all occupants of the residents who are safe and accounted for, and those who did not leave or escape during the fire. This will help personnel identify actual missing persons during the recovery process.

Ukiah Unified, the Willits school district, Potter Valley schools, and Mendocino College will be open tomorrow.

Here are the re-population area details/what places are now re-opened:

These areas remain under an evacuation watch; people should remain aware of their surroundings.

For Redwood Valley: South of Tomki Road. This includes all feeder roads in Redwood Valley area south from of the intersection of Tomki Rd at East/West Rd

For  the Willits area: Pine Mountain Subdivision and all areas between Eastside Rd and Tomki Rd south of Canyon Rd

For Potter Valley: · West of the intersection of Gibson Ln and Hawn Creek Rd. West of the intersection of Busch Ln and N. Busch Rd. Shale Lane north of Potter Valley Rd

However, some closures and road checkpoints remain in effect for safety reasons. The fire is not entirely out and mop up efforts will continue for days, with monitoring continuing even long. These are the road blocks that will remain in place:

  • Tomki Rd at East/West Rd
  • Laughlin Way at Bakers Creek Rd – Safety Checkpoint
  • West Road at Laughlin Way – Safety Checkpoint
  • East Road at Held Road – Safety Checkpoint
  • Tomki Rd at creek crossing north of Redwood Valley
  • Old Boy Scout Rd at the Y
  • Bear Canyon Creek Rd at Mariposa Creek Rd
  • Ridgeway Hwy at Oat Gap Rd
  • Eel River Road at Old Logging Rd
  • Eel River Rd south of Stroh Ranch
  • Busch Ln at N Busch Rd – Safety Checkpoint
  • Hawn Creek Rd at Gibson Ln – Safety Checkpoint

Re-population tips: Health and safety warnings

The county is offering various services to aid in the rebuilding process, as is the state and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), The Mendocino Voice will be providing that information through the day. The County has also issued a warning that people should be careful handling the ash from building fires, because they may contain concentrated toxins from household chemicals. Sifting through or moving materials can cause exposure to these toxins, especially if they are airborne, and result in serious health impacts. People are warned to protect themselves, their families, pets, and their neighbors from exposure being very cautious when returning.

What’s more, the county urges people not to begin substantial clean up today because the local landfill is not prepared to take fire debris, due to the fact that it is considered hazardous waste. The county is developing a plan to dispose of such debris. The county will be providing household/spoiled food waste on Monday, October 16 from 12 – 5pm at the Old Redwood Valley School and the Potter Valley Rodeo Grounds.

The sheriff adds, “For returning residents in the Redwood Valley and Potter Valley communities, there will be safety checks. Personal protective equipment will be available at the controlled entrances, as well as safety information. It is highly recommended that you wear protective clothing.” This includes closed-toed shoes, long pants, eye protection, and a mask and gloves. Masks and gloves will be available at the safety check points.

People need to be aware that disturbing debris can affect your insurance claim. It is recommended you videotape your property or document damage before moving anything if you plan to file an insurance claim. A press release from the sheriff cautions: “Be sure to make any necessary notifications to your insurance company before disturbing any damaged or destroyed property.” The county states that to qualify for debris clean-up funded by the state, the CalRecycle program, “you cannot move or spread the debris. If you expand or move the footprint of the fire debris, CalRecycle may consider you ineligible for this program.”

Finally, people should not turn on their PG&E themselves — either your gas and power has been restored, or you should call 800-743-5000 to arrange restoration of service. PG&E will also be using low-flying helicopters around the county while restoring service; don’t be alarmed if you see service staff being lowered out of helicopters. PG&E employees will always carry identification and you can call to verify it.

Good luck out there and stay safe.

For more information consult the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office’s press release below:


DATE:  “October 15, 2017”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Incident Number:
Mendocino Lake Complex Fire

Crime/Incident:
Re-Population for Redwood Valley, Potter Valley and Willits

Location:
Redwood Valley, Potter Valley and Willits

Date of Incident:
10-15-2017

Time:
12:00 PM

Victim(s):
N/A

Suspect(s):
N/A

Written By:
Captain Gregory L. Van Patten

Synopsis:

Re-Population Plan
For
Redwood Valley, Potter Valley
Willits

UKIAH, CA: The following areas will be repopulated starting at 12:00 PM, October 15:

Redwood Valley in the following areas:

  • South of Tomki Road. This includes all feeder roads in Redwood Valley area south from of the intersection of Tomki Rd at East/West Rd

Willits in the following areas:

  • Pine Mountain Subdivision
  • All areas between Eastside Rd and Tomki Rd south of Canyon Rd

Potter Valley in the following areas:

  • West of the intersection of Gibson Ln and Hawn Creek Rd
  • West of the intersection of Busch Ln and N. Busch Rd
  • Shale Lane north of Potter Valley Rd

The following road closures will be in effect:

  • Tomki Rd at East/West Rd
  • Laughlin Way at Bakers Creek Rd – Safety Checkpoint
  • West Road at Laughlin Way – Safety Checkpoint
  • East Road at Held Road – Safety Checkpoint
  • Tomki Rd at creek crossing north of Redwood Valley
  • Old Boy Scout Rd at the Y
  • Bear Canyon Creek Rd at Mariposa Creek Rd
  • Ridgeway Hwy at Oat Gap Rd
  • Eel River Road at Old Logging Rd
  • Eel River Rd south of Stroh Ranch
  • Busch Ln at N Busch Rd – Safety Checkpoint
  • Hawn Creek Rd at Gibson Ln – Safety Checkpoint

Evacuation ORDERS for these areas are lifted, but will remain under an EVACUATION WARNING. Residents should be prepared to evacuate again should conditions change. Intersections with SAFETY CHECKPOINTS will provide safety equipment and information for returning residents.

Cooperating Agencies: Lake County; Lake County Sheriff’s Office; Mendocino County; Lake County Fire Protection District; City of Clearlake; CAL OES; California Highway Patrol; CALTRANS; California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation; American Red Cross; PG&E; United States Forest Service; California National Guard; National Weather Service; California Conservation Corps

Approved by:

Lieutenant Kirk R Mason


PRESS RELEASE II:

DATE:  October 15, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Incident Number: Mendocino Lake Complex Fire

Crime/Incident: Safety Check Locations

Location: Redwood Valley and Potter Valley communiites

Date of Incident: October 15, 2017

Time:

Victim(s): Not applicable

Suspect(s): Not Applicable

Written By: Lieutenant Kirk R. Mason

Synopsis:

Some remaining evacuated residents of Redwood Valley, Potter Valley and Pine Mountain will be able to return to their property beginning at 12:00 (noon) on October 15, 2017.
For returning residents in the Redwood Valley and Potter Valley communities, there will be safety checks. Personal protective equipment will be available at the controlled entrances, as well as safety information. It is highly recommended that you wear protective clothing.
Safety check locations are as follows:
1. Laughlin Way at Bakers Creek Road
2. West Road at Laughlin Way
3. East Road at Held Road
4. Busch Lane at Powerhouse Road
5. Gibson Lane at Hawn Creek Road
Allow ample time and anticipate slow traffic.
Be sure to make any necessary notifications to your insurance company before disturbing any damaged or destroyed property.

We appreciate your patience. Stay aware of your surroundings.

Approved by: Lieutenant Kirk R Mason


by Adrian Fernandez Baumann, [email protected], and Kate B. Maxwell, [email protected]

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