Both the Alder and Mountaineer Wildfires, located in the Western Divide Ranger District, are burning in dense timber stands with extensive tree mortality and heavy fuel loading on the ground. In many places, aerial ignition from a helicopter is used due to safety concerns for ground-based firefighters. Aerial firing operations are often used to moderate fire behavior by selectively reducing pockets of heavy fuel on the ground ahead of the fire. A confine and contain strategy is being used to suppress both wildfires.

An area closure is in effect around the Alder and Mountaineer fires, including a portion of the Golden Trout Wilderness.

Alder Wildfire
Location: Five miles north of Camp Nelson above North Alder Creek
Acres Burned: Approximately 2,093 acres
Fire Discovered: October 4, 2018
Cause: Lightning
Containment: 55% contained
Resources: 125 total personnel: 3 crews, 5 engines, 2 – type 1 helicopters, 2 Heli tankers,1 air attack

Late afternoon yesterday, the Alder fire spotted across Burro Creek, and spread northwest towards Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest (Mountain Home). The wildfire grew an estimated 200 acres, burned through a portion of Mountain Home, and is advancing towards an area burned in the 2016 Hidden wildfire. A contingency dozer line, improved in anticipation of potential fire spread, is in place in Mountain Home. CAL FIRE will continue to support the incident with increased resources to assist the firefighting efforts.

An additional small spot fire was contained at the southwest end of the fire. The area was targeted with multiple water drops to eliminate fire threat. Fire resources will closely monitor that area today.

Two helicopters and two Heli tankers will be used for water drops and suppression support. Aerial reconnaissance flights continue to monitor the fire each day. Smoke conditions may limit aerial capabilities throughout the day. Aerial ignition operations will not be used today.

Firefighting resources will maintain a presence near both communities of Doyle Springs and Sequoia Crest.

Mountaineer Fire
Location: North of Summit Trailhead, in the Golden Trout Wilderness
Acres Burned: Approximately 1152 acres
Fire Discovered: October 13, 2018
Cause: Lightning
Containment: 50%
Resources: 48 total personnel: 1 Crew and 1 type 2 helicopter 1 type 3 Engine

The Mountaineer Wildfire continues to burn north of Summit Trailhead northeast along South Mountaineer Creek, and towards Jacobson Creek in the Golden Trout Wilderness. It is located a half-mile east of the Alder Wildfire.

Fire intensity is low as the wildfire continues to spread through dead trees and ground vegetation.

No aerial firing will take place today on the Mountaineer Wildfire. Firefighters will continue to patrol the perimeter lines along the Summit Trail and handline to secure any potential slop-overs.

Suppression repair is being implemented on contingency handlines south of the Mountaineer wildfire.

Moses Wildfire
Location: One mile south of Moses Mountain
Acres Burned: 1.3 acres
Fire Discovered: October 17, 2018
Cause: Lightning

The Moses wildfire shows minimal activity, with little smoke seen during aerial reconnaissance flights. It continues to smolder in a secluded stand of timber but is hung up in the rocks.

Weather Outlook
Light, terrain-driven winds are expected today and Friday. Dry weather will persist into early next week. Relative humidity values will remain low ranging from 17-23% daytime, 54-57% maximum.

Smoke Outlook
Activity in the Alder Wildfire is expected to increase smoke levels at locations closest to the wildfire (Sequoia NP, Ash Mountain, and Three Rivers). Very low wind speed will limit dispersion throughout the entire forecast area, causing smoke levels to remain elevated. Smoke from the Alder and Mountaineer wildfires is combining with smoke from other large wildfires throughout the state. This pattern is expected to persist into early next week. Some smoke relief may occur in the valley in the afternoon as air warms and lifts. In the evening, smoke is expected to travel downslope and settle back into the valley. Information about air quality and what you can do to reduce the effects of smoke can be found at the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s website http://www.valleyair.org/aqinfo/wildfires.htm and https://tools.airfire.org/outlooks/SouthernSierra