Sunday, 19 May 2024

More firefighters join Soda Complex effort

MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST – More firefighters have been added to the effort to fully contain a fire complex that forest officials expect to be under control by next Wednesday.

The Soda Complex reached 79-percent containment on Friday, according to Forest Service spokesman Marc Peebles.

The fires, located in the vicinity of Lake Pillsbury on the Mendocino National Forest's Upper Lake Ranger District, have burned 8,360 acres, Peebles said.

Approximately 722 firefighters are assigned to the complex, about 70 more than the previous day.

Of the original four fires the only one still burning is the Mill Fire, which has burned 2,751 acres and is itself 64-percent contained. Peebles reported that total containment is estimated to take place July 23.

On Friday firefighters continued building containment line and dousing hot spots on all areas of the fire with the aid of aircraft and fresh crews. The fire, said Peebles, continues to burn actively on its western, southwestern and southeastern flanks.

He reported that one firefighter suffered a heat-related illness on Thursday and was temporarily removed from the fire line for recovery. The firefighter returned to duty Friday.

Elsewhere in the Mendocino National Forest, the Vinegar Fire has reached 30-percent containment after burning 10,070 acres, according to Forest Service spokesperson Phebe Brown. The Vinegar Fire is part of the complex burning in the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness, now managed under the Lime Complex.

In other areas of the North Coast, the Mendocino Lightning Complex was contained Thursday night, but residents in the northern part of Lake County reported Friday that thick smoke was still coming into the area.

Doug Gearhart, deputy air pollution control officer at the Air Quality Management District said that smoke is from the Mendocino County fires, with the winds carrying the fires to Lake County, where it's becoming trapped in some of the area's confined valleys.

Gearhart reported that Lake County's air quality is supposed to be in the good to moderate range through Monday, although residual smoke can be expected to remain throughout all areas of Northern California, including Lake County, until the wildfires are completely contained.

For more information about the forest fires visit Forest Service Web site at or For information about other fires around the state, visit

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


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