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New Evacuations Ordered From Mendocino Complex Fire

LAKE COUNTY (CBS SF/AP) — A new mandatory evacuation order went out in Mendocino County Friday afternoon for the River Fire, according to authorities.

At around 3:45 p.m., an order went out from Cal Fire calling for the Cow Mountain area of Mendocino County South of State Route 20, west of the Mendocino/Lake County line, east of the intersection of North Cow Mountain Road and Cow Mountain Access Road and north ofthe current fire perimeter of the River Fire.

An evacuation warning also went out for the East Ukiah Valley area warning residents to prepare for possible evacuation.


However there was some good news Friday afternoon as evacuation orders were reduced for the southwest Lakeport area and the area of Highland Springs, allowing residents to repopulate those two regions. Highway 175 was also reopened to traffic at 4 p.m.

Earlier, Cal Fire announced at 11:49 a.m. that the evacuation order was for the Lucerne, Pepperwood Grove, Paradise Valley, Glenhaven and Clearlake Oaks areas of Lake County.

The evacuation zone included all areas north of Clear Lake, south and east of Bartlett Springs Road at Highway 20, west of Bartlett Springs Road at the Indian Valley Reservoir and south to New Long Valley Road and Highway 20 at Highway 53.

Additionally, there was a mandatory evacuation issued for Yosemite Valley.

The evacuation is due to multiple hazards along El Portal Road, Big Oak Flat Road, and Wawona Road, as well as power outages in Yosemite Valley.

The National Park Service said Yosemite Valley is not threatened by the fire as of Friday at noon.

Yosemite Valley residents must leave the valley by noon Friday, National Park Service officials said.

El Portal Road (extension of Highway 140 within the park) and Big Oak Flat Road west of Crane Flat may be closed for an extended period of time due to fire activity, hazard trees, and firefighters working on the roads, the NPS said.

Access to Yosemite Valley is closed through Sunday due to fire operations, the NPS said. That includes El Portal Road (Highway 140 inside the park), Wawona Road (Highway 41 inside the park), and Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120, inside the park between the Big Oak Flat Entrance Station and Yosemite Valley).

The only public access into Yosemite National Park is via Tioga Pass from Highway 120 east via U.S. 395 from Lee Vining.

Meanwhile, firefighters battling the deadly and destructive wildfires in the region faced worsening weather conditions.

The National Weather Service issued warnings for critical fire weather conditions into Saturday, saying a series of dry low-pressure systems passing through the region would bring afternoon gusts up to 35 mph (56 kph).

Forecasters said the highest threat areas included the so-called Carr Fire near the city of Redding and the Mendocino Complex of two fires north of San Francisco. The forecast included extremely low humidity levels that leave vegetation ready to burn.

ALSO READ: 143 MPH Fire Tornado Ripped Through Redding During Carr Fire

The 206-square-mile (533-square-kilometer) Carr Fire 100 miles south of the Oregon border was 39 percent contained after destroying 1,060 homes and many other structures.

Two firefighters and four other people have been killed since the blaze, which ignited July 23, raced with extraordinary fury toward the region's largest city. More than 1,300 homes remained threatened.

To the southwest, new evacuations were ordered late Thursday at the Mendocino Complex, where the so-called Ranch and River fires have ravaged a combined 240 square miles (621 square kilometers), destroyed 41 residences and threatened 9,200 homes.

Both fires were active overnight, including a rapid expansion eastward by the Ranch Fire. Combined containment was 30 percent early Friday.

ALSO READ: Wildfire Smoke Prompts Bay Area Air Quality Advisory

In the Sierra Nevada, firefighters achieved 41 percent containment of a 115-square-mile (298-square-kilometer) forest fire that has shut down Yosemite Valley and other adjacent portions of Yosemite National Park at what is normally the height of summer tourism.

Two firefighters have been killed there since a fire erupted just west of Yosemite in the Sierra National Forest.

© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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