Tuesday, 28 May 2024

Fire claims historic resort gazebo

Firefighters quickly contained a 50-acre wildland fire on the Mendocino National Forest Tuesday. U.S. Forest Service photo by Wolfgang Liebe.

BARTLETT SPRINGS – In yet another blow to Lake County's historical buildings, a Tuesday fire claimed the Bartlett Springs Resort gazebo and another building on the remote site of the once-famed resort.

Mendocino National Forest officials reported Wednesday that the buildings were destroyed in a 50-acre wildland fire that broke out on private property.

Forest spokesperson Phebe Brown reported that the fire was located on Forest Service Road M-16/Bartlett Springs Road, about 15 miles north of Highway 20 and six miles east of Clearlake by air.

Brown said firefighters worked quickly on the fire, containing it in about six hours.

Smoke was first reported about 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, said Brown. Air and ground firefighting resources from the Forest Service and Cal Fire quickly began suppression actions, with air tankers and helicopters dropping water and retardant, and ground crews and equipment fighting the fire directly.

Firefighters contained the fire at 10:30 p.m., Brown reported.

The gazebo and a shop building that burned were located on the 1,990-acre property owned by Nestle. Brown said firefighters saved a house and five other structures, also on private property that the fire threatened.

The fire, according to Brown's report, began on private land and spread to the National Forest lands.

She added that the fire is believed to be human caused, and is still under investigation.

On Wednesday firefighters continued mopping up smoldering debris, reinforcing the existing fire line and looking for areas where the fire could flare up again.

This is the second time in less than two months that fire has destroyed buildings with ties to the historic Bartlett Springs Resort, founded in the 1870s, as Lake County News previously reported.

On July 28 a fire attributed to arson burned the lodge that resort caretaker Zane Gray had completely rebuilt in 1989, after the second lodge building to be located on the site was knocked down in a windstorm the previous year.

In the July fire, Gray said he found what he believed to be an ignition device in the lodge remains, which had been extensively vandalized in recent years despite his efforts to protect the buildings.

The July fire burned right up to the gazebo and stopped, Gray said.

Gray also had rebuilt the gazebo in 1985 in order to restore it to its early 20th-century look.

His efforts to care for the resort grounds saved all of the buildings during the 1996 Forks Fire, which destroyed numerous structures and burned 83,000 acres.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..




The historic Bartlett Springs Resort gazebo, restored in 1985 by caretaker Zane Gray, pictured on May 6, 2007. The gazebo was destroyed in a fire on Tuesday. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.

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