'Relentless' Ranch and River fires blow up again

As far as we can tell, Upper Lake, Nice other enclaves are still untouched by the flames that forced the mandatory evacuations. 

"Some of those evacuations listed already did exist. We we're trying to incorporate all the areas that might have had advisories," said Captain Amy Head of Cal Fire.

Nonetheless, Bob Partida of Upper Lake, is keeping the land around his house wetted down with well water just in case the flames come down into the valley, he will have a lot of defensible and wet space.

"This is the worst because it started at one end and it's continued and then the wind changed and it reversed. Luckily it hasn't been more homes taken, I think," said Mr. Partida. 

Thursday it took until just 1:00 p.m. for the River and Ranch fires to blow up as they have each and every day. A very large twin blade helicopter repeatedly poured water on what was a raging fire scene last night. 

The fires, though partially contained, still have pathways where they could flow in areas where people may have never left or sneaked back in to wait it out.

But the risk remains extreme, and there's always more preventative work to do. For example, power and utility poles. And even though many are relatively far away from the burn area, fires could come, so Cal Fire put fire retardant around the base of the pole and on the equipment box. That protects it a bit and means that the pole should not catch on fire and ultimately burn and collapse.

The danger remains extreme all along the Mendocino Complex of fires. "This fire has been relentless. And the potential today is basically the same as the last few days. So, every day, two to four o'clock in the afternoon, things have really been picking up," said Captain Head. 

That means that the wind, sometimes created by the fires themselves, can spread fire faster and farther by blowing embers well ahead of the fire. 

"We've seen spot fires up to a male ahead of the main fire, and that is a lot of what is causing these main fires to grow so rapidly," said the captain.

Any winds up the ante. And big winds present a fast, clear and present danger to those evacuated communities.