Tuesday, 16 July 2024

Fire update: Containment grows on North Coast fires

MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST – Progress continues to be made in the effort to contain lightning fires around the North Coast, officials reported Friday.

Cal Fire reported Friday that the late June lightning storms set a total of 1,781 fires around the state, of which 335 are still active. Among those fires, 1,005 were within Cal Fire jurisdiction, and 57 are still burning. Total acres burned statewide is 529,971.

In Lake County, fires on the Mendocino National Forest have scorched more than 12,000 acres since June 21. That's when lightning set off fires across the forest, from the Soda Complex on the Upper Lake Ranger District in Lake and Mendocino counties to the Yolla Bolly Complex in the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness. There are a total of 598 firefighters working both complexes.

Forest spokesperson Phebe Brown reported that the Soda Complex is 70-percent contained overall. It is located in remote areas to the north and northwest of Lake Pillsbury.

Its three active fires include the 2,190-acre Big Fire, which is 95-percent contained, followed in size by the Monkey Rock Fire, 1,060 acres at 10-percent contained, and the Mill Fire, 750 acres at 30-percent contained, Brown reported. A fourth fire, the Back, burned 1,600 acres and was contained earlier this week.

Brown said crews worked on Friday to complete and strengthen control lines on the Big, Monkey Rock

and Mill fires, with the latter two fires either partially or totally within designated wilderness.

In addition, mop up has begun on areas of the Mill Fire with continued efforts to stop its spread to the south, said Brown.

A report from forest spokesperson Mary Christensen late Friday, said the Yolla Bolly Complex has burned 6,840 acres and is 10-percent contained.

On Friday crews completed line construction for a planned burnout on the southeast flank of the Slides and Harvey Fires, both of which are now 100-percent contained, Christensen reported. Some of the fires are being allowed to burn into natural barriers, such as rock outcrops.

Christensen said on Saturday a burnout is planned using containment lines and natural barriers along the southeast flank of the Slides and Harvey Fires. The operation will be implemented with both hand and aerial ignition devices, and will restrict the fires from moving out of the wilderness and onto the surrounding private lands.


Total containment isn't expected until Oct. 30, Christensen reported. The cost to fight that complex thus far is $937,025. No cost estimate has been given for the Soda Complex.

Elsewhere on the North Coast, the Mendocino Lightning Complex has burned 39,700 acres and is 45-percent contained, Cal Fire reported. There are 1,630 personnel and 159 engines on scene, which includes a five-engine strike team from Lake County.

Of the original 123 fires ignited by lightning, 45 are still active in Mendocino County, according to Cal Fire.

That complex has so far cost $16.7 million to fight, and on Thursday claimed another high toll with the death of an Anderson Valley firefighter who suffered respiratory distress.

For more information about the fires on the Mendocino National Forest visit the Forest Service Web site at www.fs.fed.us/r5/mendocino/currentconditions.

Cal Fire's Web site at www.cdf.ca.gov has updates on the Mendocino Lightning Complex and other fires around the state.

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


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