*Photos* The Hopkins Fire Burn Zone with Cal Fire Chief George Gonzalez
Calpella, CA--On Sunday afternoon, the Hopkins Fire ignited in Calpella, a community just north of Ukiah. It roared up the hillside along Marina Drive, through the Marina Estates neighborhood and all the way down to the shoreline of Lake Mendocino at the Pomo Day Use Area. Fire crews immediately hit the blaze as hard as they could from the ground and the air, and by Sunday night they had stopped the forward spread of the fire.
Today firefighters are still working aggressively to put out every smoking hot spot. At the operational briefing early this morning in Calpella, as fresh crews prepared to replace the nighttime shift, CalFire’s Information Officer announced the fire was 30% contained, with that number expected to increase through the day. UPDATE: The evening incident report for Tuesday, September 14th showed the fire at 60% containment.
The Hopkins fire caused significant structure loss, including a number of homes. Damage Inspection Teams were on the scene assessing the destruction this morning, while PG&E crews worked to replace burned power poles and restore power lines.
Earlier today, CalFire Mendocino Unit Chief George Gonzales took KZYX's Alicia Bales on a tour of the 257 acres of the Hopkins Fire burn zone. The toll of this fire is evident as soon as you cross the Moore Street Bridge over the Russian River to Eastside Calpella Road, where half a dozen houses were lost right along the river. From Eastside Calpella Road, they took Marina Drive up to Rubicon Court, Black Oak Drive, and Lake Ridge Road, and down to the Pomo Recreation Area where the fire burned right up to the water’s edge of Lake Mendocino.
The destruction and intensity were overwhelming, but there were also many houses that had been spared. Chief Gonzales knew that things could have been much worse. With today’s high temperatures and afternoon winds, the question on everyone’s mind of course is when residents who are still under evacuation orders will be able to return. Cal Fire Chief Gonzalez says as soon as PG&E crews are done and the hotspots have been extinguished, repopulation can begin. He hopes this will happen tomorrow or Thursday.
Just around the time this story aired, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office announced they had arrested a 20-year old man for arson who they suspect started the Hopkins Fire intentionally.