Ruth Lake, Mad River Fires Grow to Over 13,000 Acres

Hank Sims / Today @ 10:33 a.m. / Fire!

[For LoCO’s chronological list of fire updates, go here.]

Map of the fire footprint around Ruth Lake. The red dots indicate the most recent “hot spots” detected by satellite.

The group of fires currently burning in the Ruth Lake/Mad River area has now burned 13,157 acres, according to this morning’s estimates from the incident command team in charge of the fires. Over 600 firefighters and support personnel have now been assigned to the fire.

Despite some reports to the contrary, Highway 299 remains open, according to Caltrans District One public information officer Eli Rohl.

The town of Blocksburg remains under an “evacuation advisory,” as the fire to its south continues to grow.

Up north of Highway 299, the “River Complex” of fires — sparked by the same lightning storm that passed through the interior Thursday and Friday — have grown to 3,745 acres as of this morning, with the town of Denny under voluntary evacuation orders and firefighters preparing for a stand:

Firefighters are focused on preparing and defending structures in the area of Denny, Dailey and Hoboken. They are also maintaining access into Denny after a large tree fell across Denny Road last. There are many hazard trees throughout the fire area posing a danger to firefighters and motorists.

The National Weather Service has a “hazardous weather outlook” up for the North Coast interior that calls additional lightning storms today and tomorrow a “possibility” — mostly north of 299.


There are actually some pretty useful mapping sites out there anyone with an Internet connection can utilize to get a better idea as to the size and location of the wildfires burning in Humboldt and Trinity counties. Sharing is caring.

WildlandFire lays daily fire perimeters released by the USGS over the most readable maps we’ve found thus far. The following screen shots illustrate the latest available established perimeters for the major fires in our region.

Southeastern Humboldt

South of Hayfork

North of Hayfork

Mad River

Another handy tool is the US Geological Survey’s GeoMAC site which features MODIS thermal satellite data. We’re still trying to get an answer as to how often this data is refreshed, but it can give you a good idea of where the current hot spots are as opposed to places that have already burned.

Let’s take a look:

The first map provides us the most recent fire perimeter. The second shows us the most recent MODIS thermal data. As far as we can tell, red circles indicate areas where extreme heat was detected most recently while black circles are areas that were hot in the recent past (48 hours ago in many cases. You can more data by activating “Identify” over the map and then clicking the data points). 

— Andrew Goff

(h/t Redheaded Blackbelt)




KING CRABS: Humboldt Crabs Tame Auburn Wildcats in Inaugural Humboldt Invitational Tournament

Tim Burwell / Today @ 8:13 a.m. / LoCO Sports!

Post-game celebratory dogpile

The Humboldt Crabs are champions after winning five straight games in four days in the inaugural Humboldt Invitational Tournament, their final victory a resounding one against the Auburn Wildcats by the score of 11-1.

Crabs Picher of the Year Drew Weston

Sunday night’s crowd, which established a new season-total record for Crabs summer baseball, was treated to some sterling Crabs defense early and thunderous offense late, with elite pitching throughout.

Humboldt’s ace Drew Weston was given the rock on Sunday night to seal the biggest win of the season for the Crabs and did so with remarkable poise. Pounding the strike-zone low all game long, Weston garnered the vast majority of his outs via the groundball, specifically to shortstop Ryan Dobson, who accounted for eleven putouts in the game on his own.

Dobson titillated the crowd with his masterful defense on a few occasions, displaying astounding range on plays to his left and right, and showing off his arm strength on a double play in the top of the fourth inning.

The story of the evening was undoubtedly the performance of Weston, however. Growing stronger as the game progressed, arguably his finest inning of work came in his final frame on the mound, as he set down the Auburn hitters in order to close the book on his night and season. All told, the right-handed slinger pitched 7 innings, allowed just 5 hits while walking none and yielding just a lone run to cross the plate.

Testifying to Weston’s efficiency after the game, Crabs pitching coach Eric Giacone said, “He threw a good game. He’s always going to throw strikes and compete. He works quickly so our defense can play behind him. He did that again tonight, he had a good outing.”

Crabs bats were dormant in the early portion of the bout, as it took until the fourth inning for them to throw a number up on the score board.

A single up the middle by Crabs catcher Dillon Kelley set the tone for the inning, as third baseman Brad Pluschkell followed with a tailing screamer to right field, sending Kelley scampering into third base. Two batters later, the slick-fielding Dobson showed he’s no chump with the stick either, bounding a ball deep in the six-hole, scoring Kelley as Pluschkell slid into second base safely before the Wildcat shortstop’s throw reached the bag.

After that, things came a little easier for the Crabs offense, as they would go on to score ten runs in the next three innings.

The bottom of the fifth inning spelled disaster for Wildcats starting pitcher Kevin Bevilacqua, as the first four batters of the inning wound up tapping the dish to bring the score to 5-0 in favor of the hometown team.

Second baseman Jesse Medrano sent a booming double into the left field gap to initiate the offensive festivities, attaining sweet revenge after being plunked in his first two at-bats by Bevilacqua. Two singles, a double and a sacrifice fly later, the Crabs found themselves up by five, a margin that would prove to be insurmountable for the Mudcats, who additionally found little continuity from their defense in the game, committing five fielding errors.

Relievers Scott Parker and Austin Root would finish off the Wildcats in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, securing Weston the win and the Humboldt Crabs a championship.

Following the game, Weston was expectedly awarded Pitcher of the Year for the 2015 Crabs.

“The guy was his typical self in terms of what he expects and what I expect from him, he gave us a big performance in the biggest game so far.” Said Crabs head coach Tyson Fisher when asked about Weston’s championship game efforts.  

Crabs all-world first baseman Allen Smoot, who finished the game 2-5 with two singles, capped off one of the finest offensive season in Crabs history, taking home the much-deserved MVP award.

“To see what he (Smoot) did this summer, it is hard to put hit streaks together of 20 games, let alone 31. The type of numbers he put up just shows the clutch type of guy he is and how he approaches the game.” Fisher said in regard to Smoot’s unprecedented hot streak in the final month-plus of the Crabs schedule.

Outfielders Beau Bozett and Blake Edmonson were given the Coaches Award for both exemplary conduct and passion for the game of baseball throughout the season. The award is named in honor of former Crabs pitchers Kevin Morsching and Scott Heinig, who have since tragically passed away, though their spirits remain as vivacious as ever within the entire organization.

The 2015 Humboldt Crabs finished a stout 41-9, staving off a ten-loss record in grand fashion, a lofty mark that Fisher believed possible prior to the beginning of the season with such a clearly talented team, and one that is rarely accomplished.  

This particular Crabs roster was a special collection to Fisher and his staff, as he stated after the game, “This group is the best I’ve ever been around, as an entire group and what they’ve accomplished. This summer’s been tremendous.”

With that, a curtain is drawn on the 2015 Humboldt Crabs season, yet another in the longest continuously operated summer collegiate baseball program in America.

The Crab Grass Band members have put their instruments away, the cute 50-50 ticket girls have stopped their incessant screaming for your money, and the fans have finally stopped booing the last call for alcohol, at least for this campaign.

But, as it has been for over 71 years with Humboldt Crabs baseball, there’s always next year.

Critter Crawl, In Which a Bunch of People Freestyle Through The Bay for A Good Cause

Jennifer Savage / Yesterday @ 5:05 p.m. / Community

Conditions for the Humboldt Critter Crawl manifested beautifully: almost no wind, muted waterscape, planned assistance from a high-powered incoming tide and the esteemed Madaket providing a cheering section and further support. Over 20 swimmers signed up for the 4.5-mile course from the cove south of the U.S. Coast Guard station (which has an official name – someone tell us what it is!) to “The Fisherman” memorial statue on Woodley Island, where they were greeted with food, liquid, music and applause. 

The event raises funds for the Northcoast Marine Mammal Center, saviors of seals, sea lions, dolphins and other warm-blooded creatures of the sea.

Jellies, however, are on their own – and showed up en masse to the Crawl. At least one person stroked into a fringy undulating creature and felt a slight sting. (He carried on nonetheless.)

One of the dozens of moon jellies sighted in the bay.

Swimmers and their escorts awaiting the start.

And they’re off!

A particularly intrepid mom with son and excellent knees.

Hey, look! It’s the PacOut guys!

Excellent form was the norm.

Kayak escorts were essential providers of direction, safety.

Eel grass did not slow our swimmers down! #SwimmableCA 

Electrolyte break!

Northcoast Environmental Center and One Love Stand Up Paddle teamed up in support!

Mike Callahan and Elizabeth Mackay provide an example of a time-tested team.

Reaching the finish “line.”

The ladder was a last-minute challenge.


At some point, it makes sense to walk.

“What’s your number?!”

Everyone was a winner!

Snorkels, optional.

Wetsuits, optional.

The thrill of completion.

This guy looks familiar. Like maybe he used to be on the radio.

Rockin’ on the docks, kickin’ ass along the way.

The finish.


The course.

VIDEO: Calfire Report Shows Footage of “Massive” 47,000-Acre Rocky Fire

John Ross Ferrara / Yesterday @ 4 p.m. / Fire!

Skip to 1:13 in the video for the most up-to-date fire information for Northern California. Calfire

Today’s Calfire Fire Situation Report shows towers of smoke billowing from the 47,000-acre Rocky Fire near Clearlake.

Calfire Chief of Public Information Daniel Berlant said in today’s report that drought conditions caused the fire to spread at an unprecedented rate yesterday afternoon.

“The fire burned at an explosive rate,” Berlant said. “Within a five hour period, it consumed 20,000 acres. That’s a historic, unprecedented amount of acreage burned in such a short amount of time.”

The fire has spread throughout Lake, Yolo and Colusa Counties. The blaze has destroyed 24 homes and 26 outbuildings so far.

Firefighters are focusing their efforts on preventing the fire from jumping U.S. Highways 16 and 20.

The fire is 5 percent contained.

The Rocky Fire in Clearlake. Screenshots from Calfire’s Fire Situation Report.

Below is Calfire’s statewide, interactive fire map.

Sunday Lightning Fires Update: Ruth Lake Fires at 11,000 Acres; More Firefighters Arriving Today

Andrew Goff / Yesterday @ 12:32 p.m. / Fire!

[For LoCO’s chronological list of fire updates, go here.]

Six Rivers National Forest updates: 

Active lightning strikes last week on the Six Rivers National Forest have resulted in multiple fires on all of the forest’s districts—the Gasquet Ranger District/Smith River National Recreation Area, Orleans Ranger District, Lower Trinity Ranger District and the Mad River Ranger District. Fires on the Lower Trinity and Mad River districts are being managed by incident management teams.

After four years of drought and recent dry, hot weather, forest vegetation is extremely dry, resulting in rapid and large fire growth. Firefighters are seeing extreme fire behavior in many parts of the forest.

Mad River Complex – Mad River Ranger District: The Mad River Complex is a group of fires that are located within the Mad River Ranger District of the Six Rivers National Forest. After the initial lightning storm moved through the area on July 30th, firefighters responded and detected 25 fires. Multiple fires were contained early and others continued to grow as they were found to be inaccessible. Five fires remain and are the focus of the current containment efforts.

Currently, there are five fires within the complex totaling just under 11,000 acres. The Gobbler and Pickett fires are on the north and south end of Ruth Lake. The remaining fires include the Buck Mountain Fire, the Lassic Fire, and the Tierney Fire. These fires are around the communities of Mad River and Dinsmore.

The Type 2 IMT, led by Incident Commander Norm Walker, is establishing a base camp in the area. The team and over 300 firefighters are battling the fires. Additional firefighters will be arriving today and assist in the efforts. Firefighters will provide structure defense around homes in the Ruth Lake Area and building containment lines around the fires. Fires closer to properties will be the priority of today’s effort.

Gasquet Ranger District: There are 6 active fires. The Go Fire is now in patrol status, having been contained at 0.15 acres. The Divide Fire has a line around it and is about 3 acres. The Bear Fire has burned about 50 acres and is about a mile from the Bear Basin Butte Lookout and Pierson Cabin. The Paw/Paw 2 Fire has burned approximately 5 acres in the Siskiyou Wilderness. The Coon Fire has burned approximately 60 acres and is 10 percent contained. Acreage for the Marlow Fire, near the base of Buck Mountain, is not yet available. More engines and crews have been ordered and are on the way.

Orleans Ranger District: There are currently 7 fires. The Beans Fire was contained at less than an acre. The Lonesome Fire is about 1.2 acres and is 85 percent contained. The Wooley Fire is at 5 acres, is 10 percent contained, and is about 0.5 mile from the Tom Taylor Cabin, in the Marble Mountain Wilderness. The Nickowitz Fire is about 30 acres and 40 percent contained. Acreage is unavailable for the Sawtooth, Boundary and Rough fires. Additional equipment and personnel have been ordered.

River Complex – Lower Trinity Ranger District: The River Complex, burning north of Highway 299, is made up of 18 fires on the Six Rivers and Shasta-Trinity national forests. With the potential for new starts, and as fires grow together that number is expected to change. Estimated acreage is now 3,182 acres. Most of the fires are burning within the Trinity Alps Wilderness. The Type 1 Incident Management Team (IMT) Incident Command Post (ICP) is at Veterans Park, in Willow Creek. The incident commander is Mark Vontillow.

Firefighters are focused on preparing and defending structures near Denny, Dailey and Hoboken. They are also maintaining access into Denny after a large tree fell across Denny Road last night. There are many hazard trees throughout the fire area posing a danger to firefighters and motorists.

Voluntary evacuations are in place for residents of Hoboken, Dailey, Denny and some residents along the Denny Road. The Denny Road was closed after a large tree fell over it last night. Firefighters are clearing the tree today for access.

Evacuations remain in effect on the Mad River Road from Highway 36 to Three Forks Road and on the backside of the lake on Ruth/Zenia Road to the Ruth Dam. An evacuation advisory is in order in the Van Duzen Road area. A road closure is in effect for Highway 36 at Forest Glen west to Lower Mad River Road and Lower Mad River Road to Ruth/Zenia Road. In addition, Ruth/Zenia Road to Three Forks Area. A Large Animal Evacuation center by Trinity County is available and can be reached at (530) 623-8127.

Smoke has decreased visibility across many areas of the forest. Smoke conditions may limit visibility on local roads and highways. Motorists are urged to use caution when travelling in the forest due to the smoke hazard and the potential of firefighters working along the roadways.

To date, there have been no firefighter injuries reported.

The National Weather Service has declared a Fire Weather Watch and Red Flag Warning over the area. Temperatures are expected to be in the low 90s, with relative humidity at 20 percent and winds out of the southwest at 5 mph.

With a chance of scattered thunderstorms and dry lightning, firefighters are prepared for initial attack should the need arise.


LoCO ON THE POT: What Color is Your Wristband?: Reggae on the River 2015

Emily Hobelmann / Yesterday @ 11 a.m. / On the Pot

Katchafire on Friday | All photos: Agnes Patak

The Mateel Community Center’s 31st Annual Reggae on the River is happening right now at French’s Camp in Southern Humboldt. It started last Thursday and runs through today. Meanwhile, there are active wildfires in Humboldt County, namely the Humboldt Lighting Complex fires in SoHum. According to a KMUD News Facebook page update from this morning, the fires have consumed 2,300 acres as of 7 a.m.

But the Reggae on the River juggernaut goes on — neither thunder nor lightning nor wildfires nor low flow river conditions can stop it. Reggae is a huge deal, and the hubbub around it makes SoHum even more bananas than usual. There’s this SoHum Reggae joke that goes something like… “There are only two seasons in Southern Humboldt — before Reggae and after Reggae.”

(Gotta throw in another Emerald Triangle jest I keep hearing lately: “These days, summer is more like four or five seasons…” Like, people are probably harvesting weed five times in the summer season alone (before fall even hits) because of their light dep operations.)

Collie Buddz

It’s true, Reggae is an institution in these parts. Local businesses like Persimmons Garden Gallery, The Branding Iron and Amilias have limited hours or are closed altogether this weekend because of Reggae. Other businesses around town are sporting windows with red, green and gold flair in honor of the event. Reggae tourists are everywhere.

Most local folks I know do not actually pay cash to attend ROTR. Instead, they work the event in some way in exchange for admission — as vendors, volunteers, performers or press people. For example, I know a woman from Eureka that is working four 12-hour shifts for a local security company as a way to attend the event and to make some cash too.

Just one local person told me she outright bought a $250 4-day ROTR ticket. But when I ran into her on Friday night in the concert bowl, she proudly announced that she wound up getting in for free by piggybacking on a group of local performers. She scored a backstage pass too. She was able to recoup her $250 investment by selling her original ticket in front of the venue, with little effort.

Juce from Arcata


Opening blessing peeps

I met this guy named “Woes” on Friday night. He is a very friendly fellow from Los Angeles. As I savored the aroma of his Dolce & Gabbana cologne, he told me that he paid the $250 cost in lieu of getting a ticket in exchange for some kind of work. Woes is making ROTR a legit vacation. He is a rapper, and when I asked for a sample of his work, he launched into a rap right then and there. I talked to two other people that paid for single-day admission tickets too — people do pay.

KMUD press tent

There are many different levels of admission to the Reggae event. It’s like a social hierarchy, and the wristbands and laminates people wear indicate their class. As for me, I got a press pass. So when I checked in at the media table on Thursday night, I received a two wristbands — a light purple one for backstage access and blue with yellow bubbles for my press pass.

Reggae staffers have a key with images of all the different wristbands used at ROTR. I counted 17 wristbands on the key. A security guard told me it’s 10 wristbands and seven “additions.” There are regular admission wrist bands for the weekend and for single day tickets, there are performer wristbands, performer guest wristbands, security wristbands, “VIP Ambassador” wrist bands, press and photo pit wristbands, vendor wristbands, medical crew wristbands…

And then there’s laminates too. One SoHum friend has a “Property Owner” laminate — she owns property that is part of or adjacent to the ROTR site. I saw Sponsor, KMUD Press tent and “Emcee” laminates; Backline Coordinator, Critical Incident Team and straight up “All Access” laminates. It’s like a big wristband-laminate soup at Reggae.

MCs Ras Steve, Spliff and Jade Steele


I assumed my backstage/press wristband combo would afford me access to every corner of the ROTR venue. Not so. I was stopped at many points on my ROTR journey with stern “WRONG WRISTBAND” admonishments. Like, I couldn’t get into the VIP Ambassador Lounge, which has leather couches and a bar hosted by the folks from the Brass Rail. (Well, I did get in eventually, but it took like four tries.) No “Ambassador” wristband? No VIP Lounge.

It’s all good though. I am grateful for my press access — it’s like upper-middle-class ROTR status, and that’s huge for me. And aside from the fascinatingly complex social strata at Reggae, I have to say the music is excellent and there are definitely a lot of people are there this weekend.

Iya Terra

Tools for Change

Indeed, the crowd is thick with festival circuit types, tattooed and tanned to a crisp. Partying is prime — there’s lots of alcohol available and plenty of weed to be found. (I got hooked up with some stellar Durban Poison backstage.) People eat psychedelics at Reggae. People also bring their kids. I saw many toddlers and babies, right there in the concert bowl crowd. Shit’s wild.

As I walked around the concert bowl on Friday night, with dusty trash underfoot and wasted familiars and strangers surging around me, I tripped out on the massive stage right there on the bank of the South Fork Eel. I watched the rainbow light show pulsing along with the Collie Buddz show and I wondered: Do other community centers put on shows like this?

SoHum is a trip.


Big thanks to the folks at the Mateel for having me at Reggae this weekend. And double-big thanks to Agnes Patak for contributing photos, especially for sharing her most epic shot of Rod Deal performing at ROTR in 1995 (below).


Trip on memory lane:

REGGAE FLASHBACK: Rod Deal from 1995

OBITUARY: Jerry Jacobson, 1948-2015

John Ross Ferrara / Yesterday @ 10:30 a.m. / Obits


Jerry Jacobson By Photo provided by Joanie Frederick.

Jerry Jacobson was  born a twin on May 20, 1948, to Donald and Cecilia Jacobson in Eureka, California.  He died unexpectedly on July 30, 2015 at the age of 67. A life happened in between.  A proud veteran of Vietnam, he has been called to join his Lord and Savior, with his many fallen comrades, his parents, sister Chris and grandchild Tristin.


A life is defined by how it is spent, and time spent with Family and Friends was very important to him. Jerry was a board member of the Wesleyan Church of the Redwoods where he was looked to for “sound advice” and a Life Member of the H.O.G.S. (Harley Owners Group).  After he retired from Humboldt State’s Housing and Dining Department he decided to lose his watch and spend more of his time golfing with his older brother Tim, riding his motorcycle, walking McKinleyville with his famous dog stick and traveling to visit family. Jerry could also fix almost anything and the restoration of his Cushman was a special point of pride for him. He would tool around town in it, honking and waving to the people he knew.

Jerry is survived by his loving wife of 37 years, Charlotte, his children: Scott Jacobson (Brandi), Sandra Saunders (Jason), Beverly Chown (Scott),and Michael Molz (Samantha); Grandchildren: Brittainy, Michelle, Hunter, Winter, Taylor, Bobby, Andrew, Kacie, and  Shane; Great Grandchild: Tanner; Brother: Tim Jacobson (Barbara); Sisters: Joanie Frederick (John) and Penny Jacobson as well as numerous cousins, nieces, nephews and many friends.

A memorial service will be held Wednesday August 5, at Sanders Funeral Home, 1835 E Street in Eureka at 11 A.M. The reception will follow at the Wesleyan Church of the Redwoods, 1645 Fischer Ave. in McKinleyville.  In lieu of flowers please make donations to: Wesleyan Church of the Redwoods, 1645 Fischer Ave., McKinleyville, CA 95519 or a charity of your choice.