Your Lost Coast Outpost has long been aware that the Eel River Bar around Fernbridge operates as Humboldt County’s Mad Max-style no-go zone of lawlessness. If you’re a family of white power dudes looking to beat up kids, for example, that’ll probably be your go-to place.

But since we aren’t necessarily up on the river bar state-of-play at all times, we were a little bit surprised to receive this note from a reader:

Do you get any comments on the current flash bang shooting and the cannons being shot on the river bank, Ferndale side? It is getting to be a real noise and vibration problem, along with safety issues for people walking on the Fortuna side on Riverwalk. I am pro gun, but this is a bit much.

Flash-bangs? Cannon?

Lt. Steve Knight of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office said this morning that he hasn’t heard anything about cannons — our correspondent insists that she saw them with her own eyes — but the explosives are well known to the county. He confirms that this is a substance called Tannerite, which apparently is the go-to stuff for making other stuff go boom.

“When people shoot it with a high-power rifle or gun, it makes a loud explosion,” says Lt. Steve Knight of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. “Unfortunately, it’s not illegal.”

I know what you’re saying: People are blowing stuff up at the river bar, therefore video exists. Correct. Here’s a couple of short clips from YouTube user “humboldtpopeye”:

That brain-addled giggle in the first video says it all. This is a mighty explosion! (And what is he blowing up in that first video, anyway?)

Knight said that it was his understanding that the county is looking to rein things in a bit down at the bar, explosion-wise. And it sounds like this is none too soon for some people. Our correspondent continues:

We went to the police in Fortuna, they said everyone knows it and it is not in their jurisdiction, Sheriff has all the river.  I am more concerned about the flashbangs than the cannon.  They shake our house when they go off …

We had walked from the Riverlodge to Mirandas and were on our way back.  We were near the River Lodge when we saw the activity down the down the bank then saw the smoke from the canon.  And felt the blast … We were too busy on most of the walk trying to move fast so not to get hit by the high caliber rifle shots being shot near East Ferry Road. We will no longer walk the River Walk.

UPDATE, 2:10 p.m.: Gosh darnit! “humboldtpopeye” pulled his videos. Here’s some more, only slightly explosive river bar action to tide you over:


“Skying it huge for the last time at the river bar. We broke the block and oil went everywhere. Caught on fire for a little while. Cleared a 50 ft gap!”