Fire crews containing Owens Fire in Mendocino County

Fire crews worked overnight Saturday to contain 20% of the Owens Fire, which burned 36 acres near Point Arena in Mendocino County.

The wildfire has been burning since Friday afternoon, according to Cal Fire.

So far, no structures have been threatened by the wildfire, although windy conditions in Mendocino County prompted at least 19 fire engines and a helicopter to respond to the blaze.

“Fire resources were able to quickly halt the advance yesterday, despite the challenge of gusty winds,” Cal Fire’s Mendocino Unit said in a Facebook post.

The fire started in a heavily wooded area near Bill Owens Road. Crews have yet to identify a cause.

Cal Fire had issued evacuation notices to 50 area residents but lifted them Saturday morning after crews drew a line around the blaze, agency spokeswoman Tricha Austin said.

“Point Arena is an area where a lot of people have summer homes – it gets very crowded in the summer months,” Austin said. “There’s a variety of terrain: you have cliffs, a beach, open grassland, mountainous areas, and then patches of forest.”

Mendocino County was home to California’s largest wildfire on record, the August Complex, which scorched more than a million acres in late summer 2020, destroying 935 structures and killing one.

Meteorologists have braced for an earlier start to the wildfire season in Northern California as drought conditions persist across the state. Thursday, the National Weather Service extended a red flag wildfire warning from the state’s Central Valley to the Bay Area that lasted through Saturday.

The weather service predicts the region will experience wind speeds of 15 to 30 mph over the weekend, associated with low humidity and high temperatures. Conditions are expected to last at least until the middle of next week, causing problems for inland areas away from the coast, a meteorologist said.

“We’ll keep an eye on it – these dry conditions could reach critical thresholds” for wildfire conditions, said Jeff Lorber of the National Weather Service.

A few wet systems are crossing the Pacific Northwest late next week that could drench northern parts of the Bay Area, he said, although rain is unlikely.

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