The ranch, and the rest of Salmon Creek, is safe from fire for now. An unusually large series of thunder-storms spread lightning across most of northern california on the 20th. It was a spectacular light and sound experience! One official with Humboldt county told me today that the calfire satellite system registered thousands of downstrikes, causing hundreds of fires, of which they had actually begun to extinguish 70. Many of the others will have been found and extinguished by locals by now, like the ones in Salmon Creek. A few may remain hidden for a while, then pop up later. Still others may go out on their own. For now, in our corner of the county one is a major threat... the Paradise Ridge fire is burning toward the populated area of Shelter Cove and commanding the lion's share of our resources and concern. The fire closest to our ranch is the High fire, burning near High Rock camp and the town of Weott. Contrary to earlier reports, it IS being aggressively fought, with 4 hand-crews and a water-dropping helicopter. As of this afternoon, the fire appeared to have grown to about 60 acres, burning downhill in mostly green forest on a south-facing slope above Bull Creek. Each water drop was able to reduce the visible smoke by half for a few minutes and there was discernable progress over the half-hour we watched. The fog line (that important and very mobile point at which the fog and drizzle of the coast surrenders to the hot sunlight of Southern Humboldt) was hovering very near the fire most of the day, providing clear visiblity to the pilots and yet cool weather for the firefighters! Calfire is fighting so many fires in the area that they have opened camp 31, the inmate-firefighter camp near Redway to support their operations.
Canoe Mountain was the lookout post for Eric and I to check out the fire situation. From there we could see the High fire to the north, the paradise fire to the west, multiple fires to the east in Trinity county, and at least eight major fires in Mendocino county to the south. We felt very blessed to be in an island of calm during the storm thanks to the quick actions of our neighbors and to the mercy we feel at having the lightning pass our ranch.