Here is the latest information on the Cow Fire. The image above is a progression map showing the fire moving in a more north to north eastern direction.
Firefighters continue strengthening line around the Cow Fire as it moves east towards Fat Cow Meadow. The shape and size of this fire is being determined by the existing rocky ridges, green meadows, running creeks and recreation trails that firefighters are strengthening to contain and confine it. This is the safest, most efficient way to stop this fire that is consistent with wilderness values. It has remained a low-intensity surface fire, consuming ground fuels with very little tree-torching. “This fire is burning in a natural mosaic pattern on the landscape” according to IC Jason Wingard.
The Cow Fire is staffed by 4 crews in the Golden Trout Wilderness. Supporting those crews requires careful logistical support for getting the right supplies in the right place in the time they are needed. Fire management staff are using two methods of transport: helicopters for transport of crews, and both helicopters and pack strings for equipment and supplies. At this point, firefighters have most of the equipment they need; now it’s a matter of keeping them supplied with potable water and fuel and back-hauling empty containers.
Mules carry about 150 -200 pounds per animal with 5 mules per pack string. Mules can get to and back from the Cow fire area within a day from the Black Rock trailhead on the Sequoia National Forest. The helicopters can take up to 900 pounds per load to and from the fire area in less than 2 hours as well as drop supplies in areas inaccessible to mules. A pack-string can transport the same weight of supplies in a day that a helicopter can do in one sling but is less expensive and is less disruptive to wilderness than helicopters. For the Cow Fire, a combination of pack strings and helicopters are key to transporting supplies to firefighters.