Picket Fire Grows to 750 Acres; Ruth Lake Campgrounds Evacuated

Ryan Burns / Today @ 5:52 p.m. / Fire!

Press release from the U.S. Forest Service:

Active lightning strikes yesterday on the Six Rivers National Forest resulted in numerous fires across the Mad River and Lower Trinity Ranger Districts. The fires on the Mad River RD are called the Mad River Complex.

The Picket Fire, now at 750 acres, and the Gobbler Fire have moved down to the road at the edge of Ruth Lake and the Trinity County Sheriff’s department is coordinating a mandatory evacuation from Hobart Creek to Old Ruth.

The three Forest Service campgrounds at Ruth Lake have been closed, according to Mad River District Ranger Dan Dill. “The fires are across the road from the campgrounds and embers are going into the campgrounds. With so many fires on the district, we are concerned for public safety and health, especially keeping them out of potentially smoky areas. In addition, the roads are narrow and we need to be able to safely move fire engines and equipment.”

Recreational traffic is being discouraged in the Ruth Lake area.

PREVIOUSLY: Dozens of Small Wildfires Burning in Humboldt County; More Lightning Coming


PHOTO: This Amazing Photo of a Clearlake Fire Is Not a Photo of a Clearlake Fire

Ryan Burns / Today @ 2:44 p.m. / Fire! , Hardly News

This photo is going viral on Facebook right about now:


Friend sent me this picture of the fire going on in Clearlake right now - the real Highway to Hell!!

Posted by Kenneth Morando on Thursday, July 30, 2015


Impressive, right? Shared yesterday by Millbrae resident Kenneth Morando, the shot, which is rapidly approaching 15,000 shares, has prompted exclamations such as, “Oh shit!,” “OMG no way!” and “Holy crap that is unreal.”

Which is correct. It is unreal. Or, rather, the photo is real, but it depicts neither Clearlake nor “right now,” as the caption claims. 

Here’s the image on the National Geographic website. Near Lake Arrowhead. 2004.

Sometimes the Internet isn’t true.

UPDATE: CalFire has a blog post with more info about the original fire, which burned the hills above San Bernardino in October 2003. At least five people in the burn evacuation area died from heart attacks. The blaze was started by an arsonist named Rickie Lee Fowler, who was sentenced to death a decade later. 

It’s perhaps an ironic twist, given the reemergence of this photo, that the blaze was officially known as the “Old Fire.”

Inmate Breaks Pelvis During Suicide Attempt at Humboldt County Correctional Facility

John Ross Ferrara / Today @ 1:17 p.m. / News

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Press Release:

On 7/30/15 at 6:40 p.m. a 35 year old male inmate was returning to his housing unit from seeing a nurse. As the Correctional Deputy was returning the inmate to his cell the inmate ran from the Correctional Deputy and up a flight of stairs.

At the first landing between the top and bottom tiers the inmate climbed over the railing and jumped, landing on his right side The Correctional Deputy immediately called for an emergency response. Correctional Deputies and medical staff arrived on scene and rendered first aid treatment until EMS arrived on scene.

The inmate was alert and responsive, complaining of back pain. The inmate was transported to St Joseph’s Hospital via an ambulance. The inmate was treated at a local hospital for a broken outer ring of his pelvis, due to the fall.  The doctors at the hospital said the break would not require surgery and the inmate was later transported back to the Correctional Facility.

The inmate is currently housed in a cell in the medical area of the Humboldt County Correctional Facility . The inmate is being monitored by medical and mental health staff.  The inmate is on suicide watch with 15 minute cell checks.

The inmate was brought into custody on 07-28-2015 for two misdemeanor warrants for his arrest for theft related charge.

State Officials Explore Banking Options for Weed Dispensaries

Ryan Burns / Today @ 11:04 a.m. / Government , marijuana

It has long been a problem in the medical (and now non-medical) marijuana industry: Banks refuse to serve any business dealing with the Schedule 1 controlled substance because it’s illegal under federal law. As a result, dispensaries are forced to deal in hard currency, and some dispensary owners pay their sales taxes by hauling bags of cash into the offices of the California State Board of Equalization. The whole situation is apparently making everyone nervous.

In a meeting this morning led by Fiona Ma, our representative in the BOE, state officials are exploring possible solutions to that problem, including a state-run bank, of sorts, where growers and sellers could deposit cash, write checks and transfer funds. 

“We want to collect the taxes and audit these people efficiently,” Ma told the Sacramento Business Journal. 

North Coast Assemblymember Jim Wood will be in attendance along with banking industry professionals and representatives from several state agencies. The meeting is being held in part to brainstorm solutions before full legalization hits California, which is widely expected to happen with a ballot measure in next year’s election.

“After studying this issue for the last six months, I really feel that the federal government is not moving or interested,” Ma told the Sacramento Bee. “So I really feel like California needs to step up.”

Here’s a news release from Ma’s office:

Sacramento, CA. – California State Board of Equalization (SBOE) Board Member Fiona Ma will be convening a first of its kind meeting focusing on the challenges facing the cannabis industry in the banking arena. Industry experts will discuss the latest changes that have affected states like Colorado and Washington. The conversation will focus on exploring opportunities and recommendations for California. The meeting will take place on Friday, July 31, 2015 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

California led the nation by passing Proposition 215:  The Compassionate Use Act in 1996.  As of April 2015, 23 states and Washington D.C. have legalized cannabis for medical use with seven states pending legislation.  However, the Federal Government still classifies “cannabis” as a Schedule 1 controlled substance which is illegal to possess in the United States.  As a result, banks and credit unions in California have been prohibited from doing business with any entity that is engaged in illegal activities. Thus, Medicinal Cannabis Dispensaries (MCD’s) in California are forced to find creative solutions that include bringing bags of cash to one of the SBOE offices each month to pay their sales taxes due. These transactions have the potential of creating a dangerous situation for the MCD’s, neighborhoods, law enforcement and SBOE employees. In addition, it is very difficult for the SBOE to audit cash related business transactions.

Board Member Ma will be joined by State Board of Equalization Vice Chair George Runner, Assemblymember Ken Cooley and Assemblymember Jim Wood. Representatives from the California State Treasurer John Chiang’s office, The Federal Reserve System, Assemblymember Tom Lackey’s office, and the banking industry will also participate.

Who: SBOE Board Member Fiona Ma, SBOE Board Member George Runner, Assemblymember Tom Lackey, Assemblymember Ken Cooley, Assemblymember Jim Wood, representatives from the California State Treasurer John Chiang’s office, and The Federal Reserve System.

What: Cannabis Industry Banking Regulations and Challenges – Stakeholder Meeting

When: Friday, July 31, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Where: California State Board of Equalization Headquarters
Board Hearing Room, Room 121
450 N Street
Sacramento, CA. 95814


LoCO SPORTS: Humboldt B-52s TKO NBO Baseball Club

Tim Burwell / Today @ 9:24 a.m. / LoCO Sports!

The sky did tricks over Bomber Field Thursday night

A comfortable July evening proved a fine stage for a bout of America’s favorite pastime as the Humboldt B-52s walloped the visiting, Bay Area-residing NBO Baseball Club by the score of 13-2.

With the 52s sophomore season rounding third base and heading for home, the Eureka-based organization came out swinging hot bats. Jeff Giacomini, who finished the game 4-5 with five runs batted in, secured the initial tallies, slicing a ball down the right field line to score a pair. Caleb Lee followed with a skyscraping double over the head of NBO centerfielder Trevor Hale, scoring another to punctuate a three-run bottom of the first inning. Giacomini struck again in the bottom of the second, this time lacing a ball through the third baseman and into left field to tack on another couple of runs.

NBO starting pitcher Alex Nasvkiewicz

On the other side, opportunities on offense were scant, as NBO’s first attempt to push a run across the board was quickly snuffed out in the top of the second. A leadoff single was negated by a strike-them-out, throw-them-out double play. Following a swinging strikeout, the NBO runner on first base strayed too far from the bag and was promptly erased on a laser-beam throw from 52 catcher Brad Morgan. 

One frame later, the only two runs the visitors would garner crossed the board, though less on NBO’s accord than that of 52 starting pitcher Tyler Janowski. A worm-burning single up the middle predicated a prolonged fit of wildness in the otherwise brilliant performance by Janowski, as three walks and a hit-by-pitch plated two.

The B-52’s Brad Morgan swings for the fences

“I felt pretty good going in there, it was my first start for them,” said Janowski regarding his efforts on the mound for the 52s, “I struggled in one inning, but got out of it and I was just trying to have some fun out there.” Janowski attributed the rough patch to a simple mechanical flaw, and upon correcting it he proved too worthy a foe for the NBO Baseball Club, as his line sparkled to the tune of 5 innings pitched and only 3 hits allowed while striking out a whopping 11 batters, securing the win.

The B-52’s Spencer Duggan

An emphatic six run sixth inning by the 52s put them up 13-2, ending the game in the seventh due to the ten-run mercy rule.

“I’m pretty happy with how things went,” said B-52s head coach Scott St. John, “we got some good pitching from some young guys out there. Janowski gave us five strong, then Wyatt (Eglian) and Eugene Palmer finished it out. These are guys we may be looking at for next year. Giacomini swung the bat really well tonight, but that’s what he’s been doing all year.”

The 52s will take on the NBO Baseball Club in one final game Friday night before the organization’s second season in existence comes to a conclusion.

And a successful season, it was.

“The B-52s are here to promote baseball in Humboldt County. We’re a semi-professional team with a big emphasis on the college guys, but we also take older guys who are out of options. We like to keep local, we bring in a few imports, but again, we are just looking to keep baseball alive in Humboldt County,” St. John said.

When asked if the club is around to stay, St. John responded with a stone-cold, “Yes.”

Assuredly, baseball is alive and well.

The B-52s are a burgeoning brand within the small area of Humboldt County, having not only put forth a quality semi-professional product on the diamond, but also establishing an avenue for younger players to play in the form of the Little Bombers, an age 12 and under youth team, and the Five-Twos, a high school aged team coached by Mike Ford.

Above all, the support of local fans provided the boost the 52s needed to continue their steady ascent.

“Tremendous.” Giacomini, who is also the team’s owner, said of the support displayed by fans, “They’ve been terrific. They’ve been coming to the games, they’ve been looking at our website, and they’ve been following us all the way through. This would not have happened without them. We want Eureka to take us on and see us as their baseball team. Arcata has the Crabs, while Eureka has the Bombers”

Having secured a home field at Redwood Acres fairgrounds, the B-52s will continue to expand their efforts in the community, as plans for the 2016 campaign are already under way.

For now, the B-52s will fly off into the sunset, ready to pilot another run when the spring days turn to summer.

Perhaps next season’s trajectory will fly them over the Humboldt Crabs, a match every fan of baseball deserves to see.

(UPDATE) Dozens of Small Wildfires Burning in Humboldt County; More Lightning Coming

Hank Sims / Today @ 8:33 a.m. / Fire!

UPDATE, 12:05 p.m.: Calfire has updated the number of separate lightning-caused fires in the area to 53.

# # #

Original Post:

Current known wildfires sparked by lightning yesterday in the Humboldt County region. Graphic: Calfire HUU

Thunderstorms blew across much of southern Humboldt yesterday afternoon and evening, hurling thunderbolts down onto dry tinder and setting dozens of mini-blazes. This morning, Calfire’s Humboldt office tweets that it was located and controlled 37 such fires, and suspects that there are at least seven more out there yet to pin down.

These fires are — so far — small. The Calfire incident page says that the “Humboldt Lightning Fires” range in size from one to six acres. 

More appears to be coming. The National Weather Service has a “Hazardous Weather Outlook” up for the North Coast interior that predicts thunderstorms through tomorrow afternoon, and warns that they could possibly continue through well into next week.

From the National Weather Service:

Isolated thunderstorms are expected today and tonight across the NW California interior. Trinity county and Mendocino National Forest will be the focus for activity today, but chances will spread west into far eastern Del Norte and Humboldt counties as well. Additional thunderstorms are expected on Saturday. Dry conditions and any amount of lightning can easily cause wildfires. When dark clouds approach, seek shelter immediately inside or building or a vehicle. Remember, lightning can strike without any warning. When thunder roars, go indoors!



Eureka’s Sky is Kinda Killing It Right Now (PHOTOS)

Andrew Goff / Yesterday @ 8:52 p.m. / Hardly News

Probably other places too. Good job, sky.