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Soda Fire grows to 130 acres as firefighters attempt confinement

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Firefighters are making a second attempt today to access the Soda Fire burning in the Sequoia National Forest, according to US Forest Service press release posted on the Federal government's Incident Information System (InciWeb) on January 15, 2014. Discovered two days ago, the Soda Fire has grown from 10 acres to 130 acres. The fire is burning in the Golden Trout Wilderness portion of the national forest.

According to the press release, firefighters were flown by helicopter to Gray Meadow yesterday, but smoke conditions and other safety concerns prevented a landing. Fire officials are making a second attempt to access and confine the Soda Fire today. Firefighters will assess snow patches, trails and creeks in the area as tools to confine the fire if direct tactics are unsafe or infeasible.

The Soda Fire has medium growth potential and is burning around snow in a steep, rugged portion of the wilderness one mile west of Gray Meadow and approximately 10 miles northeast of Camp Nelson. This area has no road access, and the Clicks Creek trailhead, the closest to the fire, is inaccessible by road owing to drifted snow. A topographic map of the wildfire area shows that fire activity is bordered by Clicks Creek at approximately 6500 feet of elevation and expands to the northwest in terrain that rises sharply to around 7500 feet.

Smoke from the fire continues to settle into wilderness valleys at evening and in early morning. Down canyon winds are expected to push the smoke out of the drainage and into Kernville, with later dispersement to the northeast as the day warms.

Fiften personnel are currently assigned to the wildfire. Containment strategies for the Soda Fire are taking into account firefighter and public safety, property protection and cost management.

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