December 11, 2018
Fire crews hit milestone with 51 percent containment of Mendocino Complex blaze
MENDOCINO--Crews battling the largest wildfire in California history reached a milestone overnight, achieving 51 percent containment of the Mendocino Complex Fire as of 7 a.m. Thursday.

Growth of the 304,402-acre fire slowed as crews improved conditions around the Pine Mountain Project near Lake Pillsbury in Mendocino National Forest with overnight burn operations, a Cal Fire incident update said.

The complex fire, which started 14 days ago and consists of two blazes in mainly mountainous terrain near Clear Lake, has burned in three counties: Mendocino, Lake and Colusa.

The massive Ranch Fire has grown to 255,482 acres and was 48 percent contained as of Thursday morning. The northern flank of the fire continued to have moderate fire activity overnight, Cal Fire said.

The River Fire remained at its current size for the second day in a row, and crews have reached 84 percent containment. Cal Fire said day crews will focus on patrolling and mopping up the remaining blaze.

The number of residential structures destroyed grew to 119, Cal Fire said.

The agency estimates that full containment won’t be reached until Sept. 1.

Evacuation orders and advisories as well as road closures remain in place throughout Lake, Mendocino and Colusa counties.

Eighth person dies in relation to Carr Fire

An eighth person has died in relation to the Carr Fire, Cal Fire said Thursday morning.

A Cal Fire heavy equipment mechanic from Cal Fire’s Butte County unit, who had been assigned to the Carr Fire, was killed early Thursday morning in a traffic accident on Highway 99 in Tehama County, the agency said in a news release.

The man was identified by the Tehama County Coroner’s Office as Andrew Brake, a 40-year-old from Chico.

Brake was headed north on 99, just south of Tehama Vina Road in Tehama, when the road made a slight curve to the left, California Highway Patrol officer Ken Reineman said. Brake “failed to maintain his path,” drifted off the road to the right and hit a tree. His vehicle, believed to be a pickup truck, was engulfed in flames, Reineman said.

Brake died in the vehicle fire, Reineman said. The crash occurred at 12:17 a.m., he added.

Gov. Jerry Brown expressed his condolences Thursday afternoon.

“On behalf of all Californians, we honor Andrew and the many other brave firefighters and emergency responders who have risked their lives to protect others,” Brown said in a news release, adding that Capitol flags would be flown at half-staff.

Brake is survived by his parents, Melvin and Teresa; daughters Marissa, 20; and Miranda, 16; and their mother, Liberté; as well as by his sister Lyndsay Barrett, the news release said.

Four people have died doing fire-related work: Brake, Redding firefighter Jeremy Stoke, private bulldozer operator Don Ray Smith and PG&E apprentice lineman Jairus Ayeta.

Four civilians, including a great-grandmother and her two great-grandchildren, also have died. (Source: The Sacramento Bee)
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