Mendocino County's Lodge Fire Complex still stubborn

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

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