The Mendocino County Lodge Complex fire gained another 700 acres since Monday – raising its two-week burn total to 10,700 acres.
The fire is within a few miles of Leggett and other very rural communities and Tuesday Cal Fire officials were holding two community meetings for firefighters to release their latest strategies and allow concerned residents to ask questions.
A noon meeting will be at Leggett School and a 2 p.m. meeting will be at Laytonville’s Harwood Hall.
An evacuation order for several areas has been downgraded to a warning, officials said Tuesday. Those areas include Camp Seabow, Bowman Ranch, Hunt Ranch, Tan Oak Park, Elk Ridge and Mad Creek.
An evacuation order remained for areas south of Highway 101 and west of Cummings Road to Leggett. Officials said those areas include the Hermitage, Big bend and Camp St. Michael.
An evacuation shelter is at Leggett School, 1 School Way, in the coastal Leggett community.
Tuesday brought good news regarding weather - lightning expected in the region overnight didn’t cause problems and foggy morning and expected cooler afternoon temperatures were expected to help.
Firefighters have achieved 45 percent containment.
The fire has burned since early June 30 when lightning struck.
Flames have mainly taken public forest but also private timber tracts. Almost five dozen homes, cabins, outbuildings and commercial buildings scattered in its path remain in jeopardy, but no structures have been lost, officials said.
It’s caused 11 injuries, mainly to firefighters.
Tuesday morning’s update from Cal Fire officials set the cost of firefighting at $20.8 million.
The day’s firefighting force was at 2,323 with 221 engines, 28 bulldozers, 13 choppers and 25 water trucks.
Of the dozen fires burning in the top half of the state this is one of the most difficult, according to fire officials.
It encompasses about 15 square miles, mainly very rugged terrain and much of it without roads. As firefighters battling other blazes have gotten a handle on those fires, additional equipment has been released to join the Lodge Complex effort.