Valley Fire is California's 3rd Worst Fire in History

Southern Lake County


76,000+ Acres Burned

1,958 Structures Destroyed  

1280 homes

27 multi-family structures

66 commercial properties

585 other minor structures

93 structures damaged including 41 homes and 7 commercial properties

It is estimated 3,600 people are homeless

4 firefighters injured, 4 civilian fatalities  



* These posts from fire fighter blog, # These are my posts to FB, ## This is my daughter’s post to FB


FB Facebook - PIO Public Information Officer - MOD Moderator - RROS Rapid rate of spread - AA Air attack - STL Strike team leader - CLD Cloverdale - GEY Geyserville - WND Windsor - RIN Rincon - BVF _ Volunteer fire - WT Water tender

IC Incident commander - MROS Moderate rate of spread – Batt Battalion Chief -




9/12/2015 Saturday 13:24


high valley rd 9-12-15 1-46pm-600.jpg



High Valley Rd. Cobb mtn. That is the east side of the geysers, nasty country up there. 2 acres MROS was the size up. Unknown size now. But it has crossed Bottle Rock Rd burning to the east


Mods this is the Valley Fire and is off of Cobb Mtn and the back side of St Helena. Structure threats, 3 type 1s on order and immediate need strike teams being toned out.


IC requested 2 prevention officers, 1 command & 3 tac. freqs. Possible closure of Hwy. 175.


DIV 1409 requesting entire community of Cobb be evacuated.




Just requested 40 engines, any type, 20 crews, 10 dozers.


Just asked for 10 WT, 3 OPBD and 8 DIVS.


50 acres, per Cal Fire.


Major fire on Cobb Mt. Evacuations, injuries, major resource order, west wind, road closures, bad.


Sonoma County putting together two Type 3 Strike Teams, First team: Batt 6 STL, CLD 6570, GEY 6171, WND 7266, RIN 7572, BVF 7861


Local media reports “strong west wind” pushing fire to the east.




Update: Per AA Fire is growing at an incredible rate pulling crews back, long range spotting & erratic Fire Behavior occurring


200 acres now and growing fast.


Ordering 3 more air ambulances for the Cobb fire - 200 acres headed for Hobergs loop and Bluess crt.


Trying to divert and dispatch resources to 2 new fires along Hwy 175. AA confirms at least one new fire.


Local media reports spot fire on Gifford Springs Rd. in Cobb.




400 acres, heavy timber RROS per AA


New fire Whispering Pines burning down hill toward Middletown


Fire jumped at Hobergs entered Boggs State forest rapid rate of spread 400 acres


Fire is in Boggs Mtn. State Forest per AA.


Fire at Gifford Springs power lines down


Update: #Structure Protection group says it’s starting to hit houses hard in the #Whispering Pines neighborhood


The fire that started near Whispering Pines is burning downhill towards Middletown.




Mandatory evacuations of Harbin Hot Springs and Big Cyn Rd.


Safety alert issued due to an evacuated home having several thousand rounds of ammo in the garage - per local media.


Reports of mandatory evacuation zone being extended all the way to Harbin Hot Springs Rd. and Big Canyon Rd.




Evacuating Harbin and Big Cyn Rd.


Just ordered 4 additional air tankers


Requesting mandatory evacs Loch Lomond to Cobb.


Local media says fire reached Boggs Mountain helitack base over 20 minutes ago.


Fire at Gifford Springs road will be combined with the Valley inc. as "Valley 2".


There have been two additional fires, doesn't sound like spots, in the south and north extremes of the Cobb area.


There was a separate start at Gifford Springs, the Valley 2 fire and they are being managed as one incident.


PG&E to shut off all power to COBB.


AA140 states Valley2 is spotting all the way through Boggs State Forest and will impact Harbin Hot Springs in 2 to 3 hours




Request for 10 additional water tenders.


Fire will impact Harbin and Big Cyn Rd within 2-3 hours.


When PG&E shuts down the power any water system needing electricity will be inoperable.


Fire will impact Harbin and Big Cyn Rd within 2-3 hours.


Flames now visible from Middletown.




AA states Valley 2 fire has made it to Harbin Hot Springs and will impact downtown Middletown by nightfall.


SHELTER LOCATION CHANGE*** New location K-ville Presbyterian Church 5340 3rd Street in Kelseyville. Is Middletown being evacuated?


This from a firefighter blog Mod Note:
"Feel free to start a well wishes thread for Copter 104 crew, It may sidetrack the Q and D, so it may need it's own thread, but we encourage the positive thoughts.
Thank You: MOD-FLINT"

We knew there were injuries now we know who.


Extending evacuations down Hwy. 175 including all roads off of 175 to the Dry Creek Cutoff.


Have them go south. Evacs are advisory along 175 south to Dry Creek. Going north would put them into the fire danger.




If they quickly, what BZ said may be true. However, I did hear AA state that fire was almost to the east side of Boggs State Forest. If so, am wondering how long 29 will be viable back toward Hidden Valley Lake. Have not heard any traffic about evacuations on that Hidden Valley side though either.


Air Attack said fire could be hitting 29 in an hour.


OK, so now IC stating fire to hit hwy 29 in an hour. Hustle it up! Advisory for Hidden Valley Lake. Also winds have really picked up in south Sonoma Co. Konocti RAWS is gradually going up, now 24 gust to 34.


From the online scanner traffic, it sounds like it is making a "hard run at Hidden Valley". Lots of homes in there. Probably more since I worked at that station years ago. Evacuations could be a major issue in there as well.


Please stay alert!! Many pieces of large burnt materials falling anyone of these could be an ember rather than ash. Thanks to Marsha Huff for the alert.


from middletown 17-21.jpg


Advisory Evacuation notice for all of Hidden Valley Lake.




Air Attack says the fire is bumping SR 29.


Big... Very big. Air Ops being shut down because of turbulence


At this point you know what I know. (my last post – shut off computer and started packing)


IC requesting mandatory evacuation for Hidden Valley due to spot fires.


AA estimating 10K acres.


Asking for "immediate, immediate evacuations of everything north of the casino."


Prevention 1410 requesting more engines for hidden valley


Mandatory evacuation of Middletown per PIO Berlant




Fire being reported on both sides of Butts Canyon Road by Branch 2; didn't catch all of it but sounds like a civilian may have tried to start a backfire?


J W Chesnut, I think you can expand that perimeter significantly into the Hidden Valley Lake area. Lots of radio traffic indicating that the fire's well-established east of 29 and burning in the subdivisions there. Also social media reports from residents who have seen homes burning.


#Update #Hidden Valley Branch says he needs as much help as he can get req-10 Strike Teams Fire impacting 100+ Homes right now


Harbin Hot Springs being reported as burned to the ground via social media.




# ValleyFire : Per CHP, fire has jumped to the south of Hwy175 at Santa Barbara Ave in Middletown; road closures being moved.


Weather around the fire area as of 8:40pm - via Wundermap
Middletown - temp 89.3 ° wind ENE Gusts 6.9 mph Humidity: 5 %
Loch Lomond - temp 75° F wind West Gusts 4.0 mph Humidity: 21 %
Clearlake - temp 78 ° wind W Gusts 25 mph Humidity: 21 %


Station in hills above Geyserville (~2000 feet MSL) currently reporting 84F, humidity 15%, winds 28, gust 43. Seems that a compressional/adiabatic heating event is ongoing across the region combined with strengthening winds at higher elevations. Lower winds but even hotter/drier and lower elevations. Very strange and very dangerous fire weather situation in the immediate vicinity of the fire.


North Ops trying to string together any single resources
they can to go to the #ValleyFire but next to nothing left
South ops drying out to


Report from the Press-Democrat was that 50+ structures were lost in the northern parts of Cobb, but that the downtown area, school, fire station, etc. were not damaged.




Santa Rosa Press Democrat news report states:
"Firefighters made a stand at the town’s high school, knocking down a fire that started to burn the main building."


Cal Fire PIO Daniel Berlant posts
Just In - The #Valley Fire in Lake County has grown to 25,000 acres. Hundreds of firefighters working throughout the night protecting homes. Lots of propane popping off. Structure protection working in Berryessa Estates area. Numerous structure loss. Hidden Valley Lake lower valley area looks mostly ok. Upper not sure. Never thought I would see this in my own neighborhood.
Winds have receded significantly.

9/13/2015 00:00



Just did a firing op to save Middletown Cal-Fire Station 31. A lot of people weren't so lucky. Wind (south) has picked up again.


Unconfirmed report by a journalist that infrared mapping of the fire now puts it at 40,000 acres.


"Send it all..."
When a fire goes that big that fast, the ordering system is quickly behind the curve. It *will* take time to fill.


we are all together with more friends. Safe. Evacuated to KV. Red Cross


The entire ICS system is overwhelmed. This fire is moving far too fast for any human mind to keep up with the system. It will simply take time to process and catch up.
For those who are saying "plenty of resources here", I would be asking your duty chief, Department Chief, or OP Area Coordinator if they have received requests or declined requests, or told others up the chain they are available, or at drawdown. If resources have not been dispatched from your agency, it is probably because your Chief or OP Area Coordinator has stated your area is at drawdown.


Not surprising to me anymore, as this type of fire growth seems to be the norm now. I was on one of the first type three strike teams IA on the Rocky Incident when it burned over our location, forcing us back to Morgan Valley rd. It went from a relatively quiet backing fire, to burning 7k acres over night. Then a few days later we took refuge in a safety zone as it burned 20k acres in around 4-5 hours. The one most important thing I can stress from all of this is LCES. They are not just boxes to check, use them. They will ensure your safety and the safety of your crews. I know because it did for me.




As of 1315, CalFire reporting 50,000 acres burned. KCRA Breaking News at about 1400 has Daniel Berlant stating "100's of homes destroyed"

Sheriff responds to Valley Fire

See Harbin after the fire through the eyes of someone who was attached

Take a trip through parts of Middletown


Cal Fire’s Final Report
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