A roughly mile-long stretch on the north flank of the Lodge Fire in rural Mendocino County remained a stubborn foe Saturday as fire crews fought to contain the 2-1/2-week-old wildfire.

Steep terrain in the Big Bend area of the Eel River’s south fork made for difficult access and firefighting efforts, a Cal Fire spokesman said.

But officials still hoped to have the blaze completely contained by Wednesday, thanks to moderate temperatures, low winds and relative humidity above 20 percent, he said.

“We had a couple of days there where the weather was in our favor, so we took advantage of that,” Cal Fire Capt. Carlos Guerrero said.

The fire, which was sparked by dry lightning July 30, was about 75 percent contained Saturday, at an estimated 12,346 acres.

Despite high hopes of getting it contained, there were islands inside the fire lines that were expected to continue burning and producing noticeable smoke in the populated Ukiah Valley that could present a health risk, especially for those with compromised respiratory systems, Cal Fire said.

Fire officials had begun drawing down resources from a height on Monday of 2,400 firefighting personnel to 1,272 on Saturday, officials said.

The cost of fighting the fire so far was estimated at $35 million.

Cal Fire had two final public meetings scheduled Sunday for those who reside in the fire area, some of whom remained under evacuation warning Saturday even as the threat to homes subsided.

The meetings are slated for noon at Leggett School, 1 School Way, Leggett, and 2 p.m., at Harwood Hall, 44400 Willis Ave., Laytonville.

You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 521-5249 or mary.callahan@pressdemocrat.com.

Largest North Coast Wildfires

2017-Tubbs fire- approximately 36,432 acres in Sonoma and Napa Counties. 92% contained as of Oct. 19.


2017-Nuns Fire- approximately 54 thousand acres- 34,398 in Sonoma County and 20,025 in Napa county. 80% contained as of Oct. 19.


2017-Atlas Fire- approximately 51,624 acres in Napa and Sonoma Counties. 85% contained as of Oct. 19.


2017-Redwood Fire- approximately 36,523 acres in Mendocino County. 85% contained as of Oct. 19.


2017-Pocket Fire-approximately 14,225 acres in Sonoma County. 63% contained as of Oct. 19.


2017-Sulphur Fire-approximately 2,207 acres in Lake County. 96% contained as of Oct. 19.


(TOTAL North Bay fires as of Oct. 18.- 195,434 acres)

2015- Valley Fire burnt 76,067 acres in Lake County. A total of 1,955 structures were destroyed.

2012- North Pass Fire- approximately 41,983 acres in Mendocino County.

2004- Rumsey fire- 39,138 acres in Napa and Yolo counties.

1996- Fork fire, the largest fire on record, burned through approximately 83,057 acres in Lake County. Much of the devastation was focused in the Mendocino National Forest.

1981- Atlas Peak Fire- approximately 23 thousand acres in Napa County.

1981- Cow Mountain Fire- approximately 25,534 acres in Lake and Mendocino counties.

1964- Hanly Fire- approximately 52,700 acres in Sonoma and Napa Counties. 84 homes, 24 summer cabins and countless farm buildings destroyed including the historic Tubbs Mansion.

1964- Nunns Canyon- approximately 7,000 acres in Sonoma County.

-Source: CAL Fire