Saturday, 13 April 2024

Soda Complex continues to burn; one of larger fires contained

MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST – The battle to subdue a complex of large lightning-caused fires is continuing on the Mendocino National Forest's Upper Lake Ranger District.

Forest spokesperson Phebe Brown reported Tuesday that 403 personnel, 21 engines, four water tenders and two helicopters continued working on the Soda Complex in remote areas of the ranger district.

The Soda Complex includes the Big Fire, Back Fire, Mill Fire and Monkey Rock Fire.

On Sunday, the Back Fire was declared 100-percent contained at 1,600 acres, while on Monday crews continued to patrol and mop-up the fire perimeter, according to Brown.

The Big Fire, which is currently estimated to be 2,200 acres, is 75-percent contained, Brown said. Crews completed control lines along the southern flank of this fire on Monday, with mopup and patrol continuing on the fire's northern and eastern flanks.

Brown said both the Mill Fire, at 550 acres, and the Monkey Rock Fire, at 750 acres, are 0-percent contained.

She said crews continued work on control lines on the Mill Fire Monday, but the Monkey Rock Fire remained unstaffed, with both fires located in step terrain with limited accessibility.

The western flank of the Mill Fire is burning in the Sanhedrin Wilderness Area, and the Monkey Rock Fire is entirely within the Yuki Wilderness Area, Brown reported.

The Northern Rockies Type II Incident Management Team, in charge of managing the fires, plans to hold control lines and continue mopup on the Big and Mill Fire lines, and monitor the Monkey Rock Fire, said Brown. They'll also have crews available for initial attack should new lighting fires result from predicted storms in the area.

Due to the remoteness of the fires and limited road access, Spike Camps have been established near the fires to limit crew driving time and exposure to the risk factors presented by the steep, winding and dusty roads, according to Brown.

As a result, officials have closed several areas near the Pillsbury Lake to public use, including Pogie Point Campground, a portion of Elk Mountain Road, the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness and a portion of the Yuki Wilderness.

Cal Fire on Tuesday also reported that firefighters were gaining ground on the Mendocino Lightning Complex, which was 40-percent contained at 37,800 acres.

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


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