Lightning ignites Mendocino fires

Lightning ignitesMendocino fires

27 July 2006

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WILLOWS — An air tanker and smoke jumpers are among the equipment and firefighters battling several lightning-caused wildfires in wilderness areas of the Mendocino National Forest.

Mendocino Forest spokeswoman Phebe Brown said Wednesday that five fires started Sunday evening after lightning went through the Kingsley area. Three of those fires are part of what the forest service named the Kingsley Complex, composing the Kingsley, Minnie and Soldier fires.

The Kingsley complex is 38 miles southwest of Red Bluff. The fires are all located on the Trinity-Tehama County line in the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness area.

The two other blazes that started Sunday are the Hunter fire near Hunter Ridge in Mendocino County, about 19 miles southeast of the town of Covelo, and the nearby McCoy fire, consuming about five acres.

Firefighters have already put a containment ring around the McCoy fire, but expect the Hunter fire to burn into it, Brown said. Foresters on an aerial reconnaissance estimated the Hunter fire has blackened 300 acres so far.

Brown said the Forest Service ordered interagency management teams to fight the five blazes that started Sunday.

Those efforts include an air tanker drop on the Hunter fire, and smoke jumpers working on the Kingsley fire and headed into the Minnie and Soldier fires.

Not far from Kingsley complex is the Harvey fire, a blaze ignited by lightning June 26. Harvey has burned about 1,250 acres since then, Brown said.

Firefighters are not attempting to suppress it. The forest is managing that blaze through what Brown called “wildland fire use,” a practice where naturally ignited wildland fires are managed to achieve natural resource benefits.

No structures are threatened by any of the blazes in the steep, inaccessible terrain.

All roads and campgrounds in the Mendocino Forest are open.

Staff writer Barbara Arrigoni


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