Helicopter Dips Bucket at Camp Nelson

Incident Statistics
Location: 25 miles N of Kernville, CA
Date of origin: 8/19/20
Cause: Lightning
Size: 107,101 acres / Containment: 12%
Cost: $25.4 million
Injuries: 14
Civilians evacuated: 3,483
Structures threatened: 1,683
Structures destroyed: 104

The fire area remains dangerous to enter and assess damages. Firefighters remain actively engaged in providing protection to structures that have not been impacted. Tulare County building officials will be notifying property owners of structure losses.

The evacuation status of local communities can change rapidly. Tulare County residents are encouraged to sign up for emergency notifications at alerttc.com. If you feel that your life and property are in danger, do not wait for an evacuation notice. Residents who are not yet in an evacuation warning should prepare and think about the 5 P’s of evacuation: People & Pets, Prescriptions, Paper, Personal Needs and Priceless Items.

The Sequoia Complex is under the Unified Command between the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 1 and CAL FIRE. CAL FIRE Team 6 will take command of the west side of the fire on September 16. “A lot of hard firefighting is ahead of us and we are working to provide critical community protection,” said Mike Goicoechea, Incident Commander. “We welcome CAL FIRE Team 6 and look forward to working as a Team of One and doing our best with them in this firefight.”

As of September 15, Sequoia National Park is closed; Kings Canyon National Park remains open at this time.

Sequoia (#SQF) Complex: Acreages are 106,282 acres for the Castle Fire and 819 acres for Shotgun fire, for a total of 107,1010 acres. The complex is currently 12% contained.

Castle Fire: The western flank continues to be the top priority and is still exhibiting active fire behavior. Yesterday, a large spot in Jenny Creek caused additional evacuations northwest of the fire area. On Monday, crews continued work on constructing indirect line from Quaker and Aspen Meadow south to the Kern River.  The fire has crossed 190 near Cedar Slope in multiple areas. Through the night, firefighters worked in Doyle Springs. Today, crews will continue to gather situational awareness and work to put together a plan from south of Cedar Slope to Coy Flat. Structure protection is being enacted for local communities, with point protection and defense being the priority. Crews are preparing for the fire’s likely movement towards Ponderosa and Camp Nelson, and to maintain the viability of 190.

Crews continue to make progress on the eastern finger of the fire between Little Horse Meadows and Lion Meadows. Despite additional growth on that area, crews are still able to construct direct line. Structure preparation on the eastern flank of the fire is nearly complete, and crews plan to wrap up structure protection north around the Kern Canyon Ranger Station.

Aerial resources continue to be used heavily on the fire with 237,000 gallons of retardant being dropped on Sunday, September 13th.

Shotgun Fire:  The fire continues to exhibit low intensity surface fire and is currently 819 acres.

Weather: Hot and dry conditions will continue on Tuesday with mainly clear skies and southerly winds along the ridges. High temperatures will range from 83 to 92 degrees and relative humidity levels in the upper teens. Similar conditions will persist on Wednesday with slightly cooler temperatures on Thursday.

Smoke: An increase in high level smoke from surrounding fires could increase on Tuesday. For current air quality, visit: https://fire.airnow.gov/.

Evacuations and Closures:

  • Current Evacuation Orders and Warnings Tulare County may be found at https://www.facebook.com/countyoftulare.  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.
  • Sequoia National Park has a full park closure, Kings Canyon National Park remains open at this time.
  • The Bureau of Land Management Bakersfield Office has issued a temporary emergency closure of the Case Mountain Extensive Recreation Management Area near the town of Three Rivers.
  • For current information on California Highways, visit https://dot.ca.gov/ . Other road closures may be in effect.
  • 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.