Friday, 24 May 2024

Fire update: Winds carry off some smoke, firefighting progress continues

LAKE COUNTY – Air conditions are expected to improve Saturday as winds clear out Lake County's air basin of smoke from fires that continue to burn around the region.


Fires in the Soda Complex and Yolla Bolly Complex in the Mendocino National Forest continued to burn Friday, as did a massive lightning complex in neighboring Mendocino counties, fire officials reported.


Wildland fires in Mendocino and Butte counties have taken a heavy toll on Lake County's air quality in recent days, but Lake County Air Pollution Control Officer Bob Reynolds said conditions began to improve late afternoon Friday.


The improved conditions came from a west to southeast wind that helped clear some smoke out of the county and which is expected to continue into the weekend, said Reynolds. He said air quality should be in the moderate range on Saturday.


However, he added that significant smoke remains over the ocean, and the west to southwest winds may bring more smoke over Northern California in the next few days.


In fire news, officials reported Friday that the Soda Complex on the Mendocino National Forest's Upper Lake Ranger District was 82-percent contained, a slight rollback on progress reported the previous day.


The fires have burned 6,325 acres in Lake and Mendocino counties, according to US Forest Services spokesperson Phebe Brown.


The Yolla Bolly Complex – which includes fires on the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness in Mendocino, Trinity and Tehama counties – saw some growth on Friday, according to Brown.


Brown reported that the fire remained at 65-percent containment, with the estimates of its acreage rolled back from more than 10,000 acres to 6,625.


There are 301 total personnel on the Soda Complex, which has cost $6.5 million to fight, Brown reported. The Yolla Bolly Complex has 78 personnel assigned to it, with suppression to date costing $1.45 million.


In neighboring Mendocino County, the Mendocino Lightning Complex remained at 65-percent containment Friday, having burned 500 more acres to reach 52,700 acres in size, Cal Fire reported. Approximately 2,092 personnel remain assigned to the complex.


Cal Fire's Friday report noted that 20 fires remain active out of the original 127 sparked by lightning three weeks ago.


Evacuation warnings also were lifted in the communities of Cummings and Leggett Valley late Friday, according to Cal Fire and Mendocino County officials.


The fire has so far cost $31.4 million to fight, Cal Fire reported.


For more information about the forest fires visit Forest Service Web site at www.fs.fed.us/r5/mendocino. For information about other fires around the state, visit www.cdf.ca.gov.


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


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