Clear Lake evacuees waiting for OK to return home as Mendocino Complex Fires burn nearby

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- The Ranch and River fires have burned more than 94,000 acres and are far from being contained.

Hundreds of evacuees gathered in Kelseyville to get an update on the River and Ranch Fires, which together are being called the Mendocino Complex Fires.

As of Wednesday evening, no flames could be seen from Lakeport, but the thick smoke coming from flames miles away continues to permeate the communities along Clear Lake.

The big question is when everyone will be allowed to return home.

RELATED: Santa Rosa survivors give advice to those displaced by Complex Fires

"I've always tried to be the strong one to not show how worried I am, but we're getting by," said Jon Chambers, a Lakeport evacuee.

The incident commander of the Mendocino Complex says he hopes mandatory evacuations will be lifted soon, but a new challenge comes every day.

The latest trouble spot is along Scotts Valley Rd.

RELATED: The latest evacuation orders for Shasta County's Carr Fire, Mendocino County's Complex Fire

"What we don't want to do is put people back in their homes that have been evacuated for a week and then have something go bad on the incident where we have to go back and re-evacuate those folks," said Incident Commander Sean Kavanaugh.

Elected leaders tried to offer reassurance. Congressman Mike Thompson says federal help to the Clear Lake region may be on the way.

"I was on the phone today with the White House and with FEMA and they tell me they're doing everything possible to combine our disaster with the Shasta County disaster, so we'll meet that threshold," said Thompson (D-St. Helena).

Despite some optimism, some residents left a bit somber. Years of fire danger is clearly taking a toll.

MAPS: Wildfires burning across California

"We've been going through this for five years and we haven't had a break. So, it's sad," said Irma Rodriguez of Kelseyville.

Fourteen homes have been destroyed so far. Cal Fire hopes to have full containment by Tuesday.

Get the latest on the Carr Fire here, the Complex Fire here and the latest on wildfires across California here.

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