All 18 National Forests in California are under a temporary closure from the USDA Forest Service due to extreme fire behavior.
Sequoia (#SQF) Complex: Containment on the Sequoia Complex has increased from 7% to 12%. The 67,529 acre complex includes the 66,965 acre Castle Fire and the 564 acre Shotgun fire. Approximately 56,100 acres of the Castle Fire is in the Sequoia National Forest and 11,429 is in the Inyo National Forest.
Castle Fire: Firefighters were again assisted with weather conditions that moderated fire activity on Wednesday. Fire managers are pleased with the fire effects within Freeman Grove. Fire continues to back nicely in the grove, working well with the fuels treatments that have been completed in this area. On the southern edge of this flank, ground crews and dozers began work to establish a containment line outside of the Grove. Further north, crews began work to put in a line from Clicks Creek to Coffee Middle Meadow.
Additional containment of the fire is being shown on the southeast edge, as this area has been tested by two wind events and continues to hold. This area will continue to be monitored by air as there is some smoke and heat on the interior of this corner. Further east, fire crews continued work where the fire had pushed out on Monday towards Beach Meadows. Crews continued to prep from Lions Meadow toward Beach Meadows and are working to box in this finger of the fire. A backcountry group working on the Inyo National Forest scouted structures in Long Canyon. The northern most point of the fire near Sequoia National Park was scouted by air. If it becomes necessary, resources will be moved to protect the Kern River Station and two other nearby structures.
The incident management team anticipates a full week of slow, methodical work to establish lines important in protecting critical values at risk. Today, crews will begin indirect firing operations to anchor the western edge of the fire between Golden Trout Pack Station and the 2017 Lion fire. Through the next week, crews will piece together a containment line using roads, ridges, and trails toward Jordan Meadows. This work will be slow and methodical and will be implemented over several days becoming more difficult as crews approach road 22S82 due to steep rugged terrain.
Crews also anticipate using firing operations to help hold and secure line on the eastern flank of the fire north of Black Rock Station. Structure protection measures will be implemented in Monache Meadows. The backcounty group will continue their work in Long Canyon on the Inyo National Forest.
Shotgun Fire: The fire is 564 acres and continues to exhibit low intensity surface fire in sparse fuel. The fire team is aware of the Quinn Patrol Cabin and will send resources for structure protection of this historic structure if necessary.
Weather: Upper level high pressure will begin to slowly shift into the region on Thursday, and will re-establish itself over the area through the night and into Friday. Temperatures will begin a warming trend today, with high temperatures in the high 80s in the lower elevations. The ridge winds will start out northerly this morning, but will become southwesterly later today.
Smoke: Smoke from the Creek Fire will impact the Kern River Valley until the inversion lifts around noon. Heavy smoke will return and settle in the evening. For more information: https://fire.airnow.gov/.
Evacuations and Closures:
- Evacuation Orders from the Tulare County Sheriff are in effect for the following communities: Camp Nelson, Coy Flat, Mountain Aire, Pierpoint, and points between (issued 9/6/20), Alpine Village, Sequoia Crest and Redwood Drive (issued 9/4/20), Ponderosa, Cedar Slope, Pyles Camp, and points between (8/28/20). An Evacuation Warning is in place for Doyle Springs.
- Road Closures: 1) State Hwy 190 at Rio Vista Road, 3 miles east of Springville; 2) Mountain Road (MR) 107 (Great Western Divide Highway) and MR 50 (both roads at their junction), 1 mile east of Parker Pass; 3) MR 99 and the Sherman Pass Road (both roads), 19 miles north of Kernville near the Johnsondale Bridge; 4) Sherman Pass Road, west of Kennedy Meadows. 5. Cherry Hill Road (Forest Route 22s12) at its junction with the Sherman Pass Road.
- For assistance with evacuation, contact the Red-Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS or https://tinyurl.com/yafetgkj
- Tulare County residents are encouraged to sign up for emergency notifications at alerttc.com
- Park and Campgrounds closures: Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest; Tulare County’s Balch Park Campground; and all the campgrounds within the Sequoia and Inyo National Forests.
- The USDA Forest Service on 9/7/2020 has issued the following: Emergency Forest Closures (Order No. 20-07 and Order No. 20-08) and Emergency Fire Restrictions (Order No. 20-06) for the Pacific Southwest Region that temporarily closes eight National Forests, including the Sequoia and Inyo National Forests.
- The Temporary Flight Restriction was extended 4 miles further west on 9/8/20 and an additional 4 miles to the south on 9/9/20. Drones are also prohibited.
Priorities include: Communities listed in the above evacuation orders, Casa Vieja, Blackrock 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.