Friday, 24 May 2024

Soda Complex burns no more acres as full containment nears

MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST – Firefighters have prevented the Soda Complex from burning any more acreage, with the complex remaining at 95-percent containment while other fires on National Forests around Northern California continue to burn huge areas.

The Soda Complex has burned a total of 8,652 acres, with 3,043 acres burned by the Mill Fire, which is 93-percent contained, and is the last – and the largest – of the complex' fires to continue burning, according to US Forest Service spokesman Marc Peebles.

Officials expect the complex, located to the north and northwest of Lake Pillsbury on the Mendocino National Forest's Upper Lake Ranger District, to be fully contained Saturday, Peebles said. There are 782 personnel assigned to the fire, a number slightly down from the previous day.

Firefighters on the Mill Fire made good progress holding and performing mop up procedures on containment lines even though hampered by poor visibility due to smoky conditions, Peebles reported. The fire continued to hold with no further advancement into the steep terrain in the southeast portion of the fire.

He said fire suppression repair work continues on numerous portions of the fireline.

Aircraft – used to patrol controlled fire areas and make water drops on the Mill fire – couldn't operate Thursday afternoon due to poor visibility, Peebles reported.

Peebles said excess crews and equipment will begin to be released to assist in other firefighting efforts in California.

Wildfires continue to rage on Forest Service lands in California.

The National Interagency Fire Center reported Friday that there are 15 fire complexes statewide – the Soda Complex among them – burning statewide. Approximately 671,939 acres have been burned in those fires.

On Friday, officials reported that 18-year-old National Park Service firefighter Andrew Palmer, working on the Iron Complex of fires on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest near Redding, died of injuries suffered on the southwest flank of the Eagle Fire late Friday afternoon.

Also late Friday, officials reported that the Yolla Bolly Complex – part of which is on the Mendocino National Forest – has been separated out from the Lime Complex and is once again being managed separately.

Dave Larson’s Rocky Mountain Type 1 Incident Management Team took over management of the complex, which consists of four fires that have burned 64,658 acres. The complex is 15-percent contained.

U.S. Forest Service Chief Abigail Kimbell will visit Redding on Saturday where she'll meet with Pacific Southwest Regional Forester Randy Moore and Shasta-Trinity National Forest Supervisor Sharon Heywood to discuss the wildfire situation in Northern California, the Forest Service reported Friday.

During the visit, Kimbell will meet with firefighters and thank them for their work and discuss rehabilitation of federal lands, along with the effective coordination of resources between local, state and federal partners during this wildfire siege, according to the Forest Service statement.

Air conditions in Lake County Friday continued to be smoky in some areas on Friday, with winds helping to clear away some of the smoke in the late afternoon.

Deputy Air Pollution Control Officer Doug Gearhart said the smoke in the air basin continues to come from the Soda Complex, as well as the Lime Complex farther north, brought here by north to northwest winds.

He said air conditions – trending toward the unhealthy range on Friday – are expected to improve slightly for Saturday and into Sunday, with west to northwest winds developing. Unhealthy air quality conditions may develop and persist should winds shift to a more northerly flow.

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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