Soda Fire burns more than 500 acres in the Central Valley

More than 500 acres and growing drought conditions feed a second California wildfire burning in the Central Valley.
January 18, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
More than 500 acres and growing drought conditions feed a second California wildfire burning in the Central Valley. The fire burning in the Golden Trout Wilderness east of Porterville has burned about 515 acres. Firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service are battling the blaze in the Sequoia National Forest.

The fire is burning in a very remote area. It is about five miles away from the nearest road. This fire is unusual because fire season typically ends by mid-December. The Soda fire was discovered in the Sequoia National Forest Tuesday. On Saturday the fire grew to more than 500 acres.

"Normally that area would be several feet under the snow but the situation is that area is quite dry the fuels are quite readily susceptible to the fire and it's able to move there," Fire Management Officer Paul Gibbs said.

Firefighters do not know how the flames started but say it is in such a remote area, there is no threat to homes or people. Their biggest concern is that there are wildfires burning in January.

"The fire agencies are concerned with how dry it is," Gibbs said. "Up in the high country there's usually a lot of snow this time of year and down low, you see a lot of green grass and we're not seeing that."

Near Glendora the Colby fire continues to burn, now torching more than a thousand acres including homes that stood in its path. Friday Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency in California. It directs state agencies to hire additional seasonal fire fighters to fight wildfires that may spark. The declaration also urges water conservation and makes it easier to move water around the state

"Were going to need to have more flexibility in the environmental regulations to try and move water to wherever we can find it to where we have the most need," Rep. Jim Costa said.

Fire fighters expect the Soda Fire to be contained by February. In the meantime the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District issued a smoke health alert in the foothills and Eastern Valley floors, just another reminder to residents of California drought and ongoing fire season.

The U.S. Forest Service has not asked help from other agencies in battling the Soda Fire. Sunday they will monitor the fire's behavior by the air. Fire crews will also be scouting roads trying to find the best access to the fire.

For More information on the Soda Fire Click Here


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