Photo taken from the fire station in Camp Nelson

Today’s update reports that 62 structures have been lost. We understand the community is very concerned and wants updates on specific homes and structures. Active fire in the area has made it unsafe for county officials to enter and assess damages. A Tulare County building official will be notifying property owners of losses.

“We understand the news about lost structures, people’s homes, is difficult to hear,” said Sequoia National Forest Supervisor Teresa Benson. “We are asking for the public’s patience as the safety of firefighter’s lives is paramount. As soon as it is safe, affected communities will be assessed and property owners notified by county officials.”

Area residents are advised to sign up for emergency notifications for Tulare County at alerttc.com. Evacuation statuses may change rapidly due to dynamic fire activity. Please heed all warnings from emergency officials. If you feel that your life and property are in danger, do not wait for an evacuation notice.

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Due to the movement of the fire to the west and potential impacts to communities, the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 1 is in unified command with CAL FIRE as of 1900 on Sunday, September 13th. CAL FIRE Team 6 will be taking the west side of the fire.

Sequoia (#SQF) Complex: Acreages are 90,093 acres for the Castle Fire and 752 acres for Shotgun fire, for a total of 90,845 acres. The complex is currently 12% contained.

Castle Fire: A significant fire run that pushed the fire west, began on Saturday and continued through Sunday. The fire is currently 1.5 – 2 miles west of Mountain Home. Fire activity began early on Sunday, with the Jordan Peak Communication Tower being impacted just after midnight. Structure protection was engaged in Alpine Village, Sequoia Crest, and Doyle Springs. The fire gained momentum at this time with strong easterly winds pushing the fire down drainages towards the west with very rapid rates of spread. By 10 AM, the fire was intensely impacting those communities. Wind speeds of over 60 miles per hour impacted the ability to use aerial resources until mid-morning.

Resources were shifted from other flanks of the fire and moved over to the active edge to engage the fire to the extent possible. Late Sunday, firefighters were able to get into the Alpine Village area to provide protection to structures that had not been impacted. Due to remaining heat and impacted roadways in Sequoia Crest, resources were not able to get in to this community.

Resources on the ground and in the air will be coordinated and continually evaluated today. Aerial resources will continue to be used as long as they are safely able to fly and will be dropping water and retardant. Active surface fire with moderate rates of forward spread is in the fire behavior forecast, spotting up to a half mile is likely. Fire will again be active this morning. The priority is to protect values at risk in local communities, providing for firefighter safety first.

On the Sequoia National Park, structure protection at the Kern Canyon Ranger Station will be continued. This work will be completed within the next 1-2 operational shifts. Structure protection and assessment is complete in the Casa Vieja and Monache Meadows. On the eastern finger of the fire, crews have been able to go direct on both the north and south sides, and this area is close to containment. Contained lines on the southern flank will continue to be monitored by air.

Shotgun Fire: The fire as grown approximate 100 acres and currently is at 752 acres. It is burning in a rocky drainage and being monitored by aircraft.

Weather: Monday’s weather will remain hot and dry with southeast to south winds at upper elevations. Temperatures on will continue to range from the mid-70s at higher elevations to around 90 in the lower elevations. Relative humidity levels will again fall into the low teens and single upper digits.

Smoke: Smoke is anticipated to impact the fire again starting Monday, and especially on Tuesday as the upper flow becomes more southwesterly to westerly. For current air quality, visit: https://fire.airnow.gov/.

Evacuations and Closures:

  • Current Evacuation Orders and Warnings from the Tulare County Sheriff may be found at https://www.facebook.com/TulareSheriff .
  • Tulare County residents are encouraged to sign up for emergency notifications at alerttc.com
  • The Red Cross has reopened an evacuation center atPorterville Community College and opened an evacuation center at the North Exeter Community Building. For further evacuation assistance, call the Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS or https://tinyurl.com/yafetgkj
  • Park and Campgrounds closures: Potwisha Campground in Sequoia National Park; Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest; Tulare County’s Balch Park Campground; and all the campgrounds within the Sequoia and Inyo National Forests.
  • All National Forests in California are currently closed as of September 9, 2020.
  • Current conditions in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks may be found at: https://tinyurl.com/y3q9x5l8.
  • For current information on California Highways, visit https://dot.ca.gov/ . Be aware that there are other road closures, including local and Parks roads.
  • The current Temporary Flight Restriction for the Sequoia Complex may be found by clicking here. The use of drones over the fire is also prohibited.

Priorities include: Communities listed in the above evacuation orders, Casa Vieja, Blackrock Ranger Station, Rogers Camp, Beach Meadows, Monache Meadows, structures along the Lloyd Meadows Road, Freeman Grove, the President George H.W. Bush Tree, Camp Whitsett, archeological values, Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog and Little Kern Golden Trout Critical Habitats, Pacific Fisher habitats, OSA, Beach, and Beck Meadows, trailheads and facilities.