Friday, 17 May 2024

Soda Complex reaches 90 percent containment

MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST – After a month of steady effort on the part of firefighters, the Soda Complex appears to at last be winding down.

US Forest Service spokesman Marc Peebles reported Tuesday that the complex, located to the north and northwest of Lake Pillsbury on the Mendocino National Forest's Upper Lake Ranger District, was 90-percent contained.

A dry lightning storm on June 21 sparked the four-fire complex, which has burned approximately 8,618 acres, Peebles reported. The final fire burning is the Mill fire, which is the largest of the fires, at 3,009 acres and 85-percent containment. Firefighters expect to have it fully contained by Saturday.

On Tuesday there were 890 personnel assigned to the complex, with 24 crews, 36 engines, three dozers, 10 water tenders and nine helicopters, Peebles reported.

While the Mill Fire continues to have the potential to spot and spread into steep and rugged terrain in the southeast/northeast direction, Peebles said fire crews were successful in holding it on the ridge above Panther Creek drainage.

Seven residences in the Deadmans Flat and Sunset Gap area to the east flank of the fire remain under evacuation, said Peebles.

On the western and southwestern flanks, Peebles said fire crews continue to mop up and improve line at Thomas Creek, with multiple aircraft continuing to support firefighters on the ground with water drops.

Patrol by air of the areas of the already-contained Monkey Rock, Big and Back fires will continue. Peebles said work will begin with district resource officers to begin rehab planning on the Monkey Rock Fire.

Forest Service spokesperson Phebe Brown said the Vinegar Fire on the Mendocino National Forest has burned 13,015 acres and is 30-percent contained. The Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness fires have burned 33,993 acres in Trinity and Tehama counties.

Brown said Covelo is experiencing a lot of smoke. The Mendocino National Forest set up air quality monitoring equipment in Round Valley on Tuesday to provide information to citizens.

Shifting winds brought smoke back into Lake County's air basin on Tuesday. Deputy Air Pollution Control Officer Doug Gearhart said conditions are expected to remain good to moderate through Wednesday, though moderate air quality conditions may develop into the overnight hours.

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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