Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, CA – The KNP Complex, ignited by lightning on the night of September 9, continues to grow in Sequoia National Park. The complex is comprised of the Paradise Fire and the Colony Fire. Last night, the Paradise Fire made a downhill run, and crossed the middle fork of the Kaweah River and the Generals Highway. As a result of this, the parks are evacuating employees from the Ash Mountain Headquarters Complex and nearby housing areas.

The Paradise Fire has a new acreage of 2,531 acres, and the Colony Fire has a new acreage of 493 acres, for a combined total for the KNP Complex of 3,024, with 0% containment.

Paradise and Colony Fires seen from Buck Rock Fire Lookout, photo by Chris Boss
Paradise and Colony Fires seen from Buck Rock Fire Lookout, photo by Chris Boss

In the coming days, the current and incoming incident management teams will operate out of the Three Rivers Memorial Building. Per Tulare County Sheriff, part of the community of Three Rivers remains under evacuation warning. This area includes all points along both sides of Highway 198 between the intersection with North Fork Drive and the entrance to Sequoia National Park. North Fork and South Fork Drives are not included in the evacuation warning. The evacuation warning is not an order. It means that residents should prepare for the possibility of evacuation, so that they will be ready to mobilize and leave should the evacuation warning escalate to an evacuation order. Mineral King remains under evacuation order.

Another community meeting will take place tonight, September 14, at 5 p.m. at the Three Rivers Memorial Building, located at 43490 Sierra Dr, Three Rivers, CA. As before, the meeting will be live streamed on the parks’ Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SequoiaKingsNPS, and will be available afterwards for viewing there and on Inciweb in the “videos” section.

The KNP Complex has been a full suppression incident since the discovery of the smokes the morning following the lightning storm. In the case of the Paradise Fire, extremely steep topography and a total lack of access has prevented any ground crew operations, and in the case of the Colony Fire, only a limited amount of ground crew access has been possible. Both fires have utilized extensive aerial resources performing water and retardant drops, but even this was hindered yesterday by bad visibility in extremely smoky conditions.