26 Jun 2008, 6:49pm
California
by admin

Soda Complex Fires

Location 7 mi E of Potter Valley, Lake Co. CA

Specific Location: Mendocino NF, Pine Mtn., Lat 39° 22′ 19″, Lon 122° 58′ 18″

Date of Origin: 06/21/08
Cause: Lightning

Situation as of 07/27/08 7:00 PM
Total Personnel: 120
Size: 8,652 acres
Percent Contained: 100%

Costs to Date: $17,563,075

Today was the last operational period under SoCal Team 3 (Fiorella). Soda Fire spike camp has been closed as of 1400. Nearly all suppression resources were demobilized today.

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Situation as of 07/25/08 7:00 AM
Total Personnel: 655
Size: 8,652 acres
Percent Contained: 97%

Costs to Date: $16,702,085

Unified Command with Cal Fire (Bradley) was terminated at 0800 this morning. The number of injuries reported for the incident has been reduced to a total of seven after a thorough review of the incidents/outcomes by the Safety Officer and Comp/Claims Unit. Significant demob of surplus resources will continue tomorrow.

All in all, it looks like the party is over.

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Situation as of 07/23/08 7:00 AM
Total Personnel: 860
Size: 8,652 acres
Percent Contained: 90%

Costs to Date: $13,400,000

Mill Fire is 3,043 acres with 85% containment (est containment 7/26). The Soda Complex has now been burning for a month. Fire suppression costs exceed $1,500 per acre and are still growing.

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Situation as of 07/20/08 7:00 PM
Total Personnel: 855
Size: 8,581 acres
Percent Contained: 79%

Costs to Date: $12,500,000

Sufficient resources are available to allow for a night shift again tonight. Crews continued to construct direct and indirect line around the slopover and spot fires on Mill Fire. Yesterday’s burnout in Division L was sucessful and crews are mopping up and improving the lines. If direct line construction is not effective in controlling the fire that crossed the Division K/Y lines, there is the potential for the Mill Fire to grow by 2,000 acres before full containment is achieved.

Est containment date: 07/26/2008

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Situation as of 07/18/08 7:00 PM
Total Personnel: 744
Size: 8,360 acres
Percent Contained: 79%

Costs to Date: $11,026,035

Some Type I crews have arrived, assisting with containment efforts. There was a 3-5 acre slopover on the Mill Fire earlier today that is not yet contained and is well down into the drainage. Additionally, multiple spot fires are well established on the west side of the road coming south out of Deadman’s Flat. Air and ground resources will continue to work the slopover until the end of shift.

Several crews will be spiked out at Ascherman Ranch tonight in anticipation of a potential firing operation early tomorrow.

No request for Armed Law Enforcement officers in today’s report. Whether they arrived or not was not reported.

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Situation as of 07/17/08 7:00 AM
Total Personnel: 655
Size: 8,337 acres
Percent Contained: 75%

Costs to Date: $9,503,233

Mill Fire is now 2,748 acres with 60% containment (est containment date 7/23).

Fire managers are requesting Armed Law Enforcement officers to mitigate threats against fire crews and provide for safety on the fireline. Evidently marijuana growers in the area are taking pot shots at the fire crews. No night shift due to safety concerns and a lack of resources.

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Situation as of 07/16/08 noon
Total Personnel: 455
Size: 8,317 acres
Percent Contained: 69%

Costs to Date: $8,514,932

Mill Fire is now 2,728 acres with 52% containment (est containment date 7/23).

Fire managers still requesting Armed Law Enforcement officers to mitigate threats against fire crews and provide for safety on the fireline. Lake Co. government unable or unwilling to assist.

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Situation as of 07/15/08 7:00 AM
Total Personnel: 422
Size: 7,645 acres
Percent Contained: 70%

Costs to Date: $7,926,682

Decrease in overall cost due further refinement of data.

Mill Fire is 1,978 acres with 63% containment (est containment 7/23). Monkey Rock Fire is 1,829 acres with 100% containment on 7/14/08. Big Fire is 2,193 acres and was contained on 7/5/08. Back Fire is 1,567 acres and was contained on 6/29/08.

Fire managers request Armed Law Enforcement officers to mitigate threats against fire crews and provide for safety on the fireline.

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Situation as of 07/13/08 7:00 PM
Total Personnel: 325
Size: 7,567 acres
Percent Contained: 66%

Costs to Date: $8,054,168

Armed Law Enforcement officers are requested to mitigate threats against fire crews and provide for safety on the fireline.

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Situation as of 07/12/08 6:30 AM
Total Personnel: 343
Size: 7,300 acres
Percent Contained: 78%

Costs to Date: not reported, est. $7.4 million

Mill Fire is 1,600 acres, 40% contained, est. containment 7/19. Monkey Rock Fire is 1,630, 65% contained, est. containment 7/16.

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Situation as of 07/11/08 6:30 AM
Total Personnel: 312
Size: 7,020 acres
Percent Contained: 78%

Costs to Date: $6,800,000

Mill Fire NW flank continued its spread beyond Rocky Point and southwest of Rocky Point towards Thomas Creek. Monkey Rock Fire threw embers outside the NE flank but these were picked up by crews.

The Heintz IMT2 will transfer command to the Fiorella #3 IMT2 at 1800 07/12/2008.

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Situation as of 07/10/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 301
Size: 6,325 acres
Percent Contained: 82%

Costs to Date: $6,502,000

Mill Fire: Divisions C/F/J were patrolled. Division G’s crews disengaged from the fire line for most of the shift because of a conflict with non-fire personnel on the northern flank. [That's what the report said. Have no idea what happened - Ed].

Mill Fire NW flank has spread to Rocky Point and southwest of Rocky Point towards Thomas Creek; 1,030 acres, 50% contained, est containment 7/16/2008.

Monkey Rock Fire 1,505 acres, 60% contained, est containment 7/14/200.

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Situation as of 07/09/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 307
Size: 6,120 acres
Percent Contained: 83%

Costs to Date: $6,243,000

2 remaining uncontained fires: Mill Fire, 940 acres, 60% contained, est containment 7/10/08; Monkey Rock Fire, 1,390 acres, 30% contained, est containment 7/14/08.

Mill Fire overnight had a spot fire along the north flank. The spot burned into a large grass slope and the fire made a strong uphill run through the grass. The fire spread to the adjacent timber and primarily moved to the northeast. Monkey Rock Fire activity increased in the northeast corner around 1200 and by 1300 the fire activity created a column which spread embers across the control lines.

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Situation as of 07/07/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 341
Size: 6,080 acres
Percent Contained: 76%

Costs to Date: $5,683,000

Est containment date: 07/15/2008.

Both crews on the Monkey Rock Fire constructed hand line on the southern perimeter. A crew was diverted to the north flank to line the 5 acre slop over. An IR flight last night identified heat sources in the south east corner.

Mill and Monkey Rock fire behavior increased due to the warming day and night temperatures. Both fires had active surface fires, group torching and spotting. The fire activity was internal and along the open flanks. Monkey Rock Fire along the northern flank had 5 acre slop over.

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Situation as of 07/06/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 391
Size: 6,070 acres
Percent Contained: 74%

Costs to Date: $5,300,000

Mill and Monkey Rock fire behavior increased due to the beginning of a warming trend. The fire behavior varied from single tree torching, short up hill runs and ground fire was prevalent on both fires.

Complex contains four fires and they are listed in priority: (1) Mill Fire, 1390 acres, 50% contained, est containment 7/10/08; (2) Monkey Rock Fire, 1060 acres, 20% contained, est containment 7/15/08. (3) Big Fire, 2190 acres, contained 7/5/08; (4) Back Fire, 1600 acres, contained 6/29/08.

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Situation as of 07/05/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 419
Size: 5,740 acres
Percent Contained: 76%

Costs to Date: $4,900,000

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Situation as of 07/04/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 444
Size: 5,600 acres
Percent Contained: 73%

Costs to Date: $4,400,000

Mill Fire, 750 acres,40% contained, est containment 7/10/08; Monkey Rock Fire, 1060 acres, 10% contained, est containment 7/15/08. Big Fire, 2190 acres, 95% contained, est containment 7/5/08; Back Fire, 1600 acres, contained 6/29/08;

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Situation as of 07/03/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 444
Size: 5,600 acres
Percent Contained: 70%

Costs to Date: $4,000,000

Monkey Rock Fire finally engaged. Two crews began line construction and will spike at Monkey Rock. An IR flight was completed last night and identified Monkey Rock Fire expanded to the north and south. The western perimeter of Mill Fire burned an estimated half mile down slope to the west.

Monkey Rock Fire, 1060 acres, 10% contained, est containment 7/15/08; Mill Fire, 750 acres, 30% contained, est containment 7/7/08; Big Fire, 2190 acres, 95% contained, est containment 7/4/08; Back Fire (unstaffed) , 1600 acres, contained 6/29/08.

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Situation as of 07/02/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 438
Size: 5,090 acres
Percent Contained: 74%

Costs to Date: $3,600,000

Complex contains four fires and they are listed in priority: Monkey Rock Fire, 750 acres, 0% contained, est containment 7/15/08; Mill Fire, 550 acres, 40% contained, est containment 7/7/08; Big Fire, 2190 acres, 90% contained, est containment 7/4/08; Back Fire, 1600 acres, contained 6/29/08.

Mill Fire is consuming large fuels. Monkey Rock Fire burned actively throughout the day in heavy timbered fuels and light flashy fuels. Also group torching and short runs were observed throughout the day. Live fuels are drying out and adding to the fuel bed.

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Situation as of 07/01/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 406
Size: 5,100 acres
Percent Contained: 72%

Costs to Date: $2,200,000

Complex contains four fires and they are listed in priority: Big Fire, 2200 acres, 85% contained, est containment 7/3/08; Mill Fire, 550 acres, 35% contained, est containment 7/7/08; Back Fire, 1600 acres, contained 6/29/08; Monkey Rock Fire, 750 acres, 0% contained, est containment 7/15/08.

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Situation as of 06/30/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 403
Size: 5,100 acres
Percent Contained: 64%

Costs to Date: $1,582,000

Complex contains four fires: Big Fire, 2200 acres, 75 % contained; Mill Fire, 550 acres, 0% contained; Back Fire, 1600 acres, 100% contained; Monkey Rock Fire, 750 acres, 0% contained.

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Situation as of 06/29/08 11:00 PM
Total Personnel: 317?
Size: 4,920 acres
Percent Contained: 56%

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Situation as of 06/28/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 317
Size: 3,560 acres
Percent Contained: 60%

Costs to Date: $800,000

Big Fire will have crews patrolling until 2000 hours. The other fires will not be staffed after 1800 hours.

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Situation as of 06/27/08 6:00 PM
Total Personnel: 284
Size: 3,560 acres
Percent Contained: 55%

Type 2 IMT (Heintz). Complex Contains: Big Fire, 1,400 acres, 40 % contained; Back Fire, 1600 acres, 85% contained; Mill Fire, 400 acres, 0% contained; Monkey Rock Fire, 160 acres, 0% contained.

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Situation as of 06/25/08 6:00 AM
Total Personnel: unknown
Size: 3,500 acres
Percent Contained: 5%

7 Jul 2008, 8:37am
by Kayla W.


What is the name of the large fire 2-3 miles northeast of Van Arsdale Reservoir and about 6 miles north-northeast of the town of Potter Valley in Mendocino County? An unreliable source told me this is the Big Fire of the Soda Complex. I’m searching for information on this fire because it appears to be a major source of smoke in our area, and my family is having health problems from the smoke. We are trying to decide whether or not to evacuate (again).

7 Jul 2008, 9:20am
by Mike


The Soda Complex contains four fires: Mill Fire, 1390 acres, 50% contained, Monkey Rock Fire, 1060 acres, 20% contained, Big Fire, 2190 acres, contained 7/5/08, and Back Fire, 1600 acres, contained 6/29/08.

I can’t tell which is which because the map released by the Mendocino NF is awful. The first two fires above are still uncontained, but even contained fires smolder and smoke. The hot weather makes the fires more active.

What I deduce from the reports is that the fires are not spreading rapidly, but that they could be putting out a lot of smoke. You probably don’t need to evacuate per se, but maybe take a vacation on the coast for some breathable air.

Also, as near as I can tell the Mendocino NF has no special phone number set up for fire information. Their regular number in Willows is (530) 934-3316. You might call them and see what they say. Another number is (530) 275-2017 for “incident contact” on the Soda Complex. That one might also have up-to-date information available.

InciWeb is now reporting on the Soda Complex [here].

14 Jul 2008, 10:54am
by Mike


On 7/10 crews reportedly had to disengaged from the fire line for most of the shift because of a conflict with non-fire personnel on the northern flank.

Today, 07/14, fire managers are calling for law enforcement personnel to protect fire crews.

That is a mysterious thing to me. I have never heard of such a situation. If anyone has any information about what is going on, please send it in.

14 Jul 2008, 1:17pm
by Tallac


Just speculation on my part, but I suspect some multi-million dollar pot farms are being threatened with incineration, and/or poaching, and some of the growers are protecting their “investments.”

It is a big business afterall, and has happened before.

14 Jul 2008, 1:59pm
by Mike


That’s pure, idle speculation. I’d like to know the real story. Interfering with federal agents engaged in an official fire suppression action has got to be some kind of crime, and not a lightweight one either.

14 Jul 2008, 2:26pm
by Tallac


I’d like to know what’s really happening too. As I said; speculating.

Growing weed on federal property is a major crime in and of itself, but that doesn’t stop them from doing it.

Stopping fire crews from discovering stashes isn’t that far fetched.

I have now removed my tin-foil hat and await a more realistic reason and motive.

14 Jul 2008, 6:15pm
by Mike


Not that I doubt your theory, I’d just like to know for sure.

The connection between pot farming on fed land and Let It Burn fires is a pet theory of mine, too. Need more hard evidence before blowing the whistle, though.

14 Jul 2008, 11:39pm
by Tallac


I just read between the lines.

Mendocino Lightning Complex Fire, July 14, 2023
Fact Sheet:
Acres burned: 53,000
Residences threatened: 0
Residences destroyed: 2
No evacuations
Cost of containment to date: $ 37,919,487
(yes, that’s million$)

Guess I’m missing something and won’t blow a whistle through a “Colombian Necktie” right now.

16 Jul 2008, 1:39pm
by Rapunzel


I’d like to know more about this incident, too. My property may be in the path of the fire, if it hasn’t already burned, and if I found out that non-fire people were trying to stop fire fighters from trying to contain the fire or otherwise doing their jobs, I’d be hopping furious mad.

16 Jul 2008, 2:31pm
by Mike


The Soda Complex fire managers desire ARMED law enforcement. That’s not a good sign. Have there been shots fired? Are bullets whizzing by the heads of firefighters? Do they need bullet-proof vests on top of (beneath) all the other equipment they’re carrying?

And the following was reported last evening from the SHU/Shasta Trinity Lightning Complex Fires [here]:

Late this afternoon, four civilians dressed in camouflage presented themselves to personnel at the Motion Fire gel base. Two of the four have suffered serious burn injuries and are being airlifted for further medical treatment. No further details are available with law enforcement investigating.

I don’t know what to think. It’s not hunting season. The burn areas are closed to all citizen uses by various legal orders, anyway. As they say, “only in California” I guess.

16 Jul 2008, 2:43pm
by Mike


Maybe some the Iraq-experienced Nat’l Guard fighting CA fires elsewhere could be useful in this case. Hunt down the insurgents and deal with them Iraqi Surge-style.

16 Jul 2008, 5:31pm
by Tallac


I highly doubt that “tree to tree combat” will be necessary to put-out fires. But who knows?

It appears some of the “insurgents” are already giving-up due to major scar tissue.

Much like the Bloods, Crips, MS13 and other gangs control their “Turf” in portions of our cities and suburbia, they are also in our National Forests. Cooking meth and growing dope, and protecting their territory, among other things.

I suppose one could theorize the “let it burn” is another effort in the War on Drugs. One could even suspect some fires are intentionally set by rivals to burn out the competition. Not to mention those charged to protect, or destroy.

It would make a great novel. But be very careful doing research. You might run into a pack of pit-bulls while off the beaten path.

16 Jul 2008, 7:07pm
by Mike


Or hybrid wolf-dogs.

17 Jul 2008, 9:33am
by Mike


For an update on the four civilians (they were Mexican Nationals in the US illegally) who turned up burned at the Motion Fire gel base, see [here].

Commercial pot grows guarded by armed criminals are a problem in California. Public land has become a war zone as mafia-like thugs shoot at men, women, and children who wander heedlessly into drug production zones. Now firefighters are at risk from the criminal drug cartels, many of them manned by illegal aliens. Gunfire on the firelines has caused fire managers to withdraw firecrews rather than risk fatalities inflicted by armed Mexican Nationals guarding pot farms.

No report on this situation from CA State Attorney General Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown, who has pushed for lax law enforcement on federal lands in CA. Moonbeam Brown is anti-firefighting and has sued the federal government to halt fuels management and other stewardship activities in US National Forests in CA.

18 Jul 2008, 11:53am
by Tallac


Fact is, they’re everywhere.

“Police Find Thousands Of Marijuana Plants At Indiana Girl Scout Camp”

http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7011626646

When off the beaten path in our forests, take heed of unsavory characters, roaming packs of viscious dogs and the occasional lethal booby trap.

You’re probably too close to something you SHOULDN’T discover. Just speaking from experience.

27 Jul 2008, 11:36pm
by Mike


From Wildfire.com, quote:

Soda Complex as of 1900 13 July:

Not enough Law Enforcement in the Area is an understatement. Our crew got run out last Friday Night by [pot] growers during a burnout operation at about 2 AM. They were circling the crew. The crew held up the burn, and returned to Spike Camp. Sucks to be run off of your own forest.

This was also the same crew that got shot at by .308 rounds six weeks earlier prepping for a RX burn on the same forest about 15 miles away from the Mill Fire, where Law Enforcement pulled some 14,000 plants.

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