While out on the Castle Fire, aircraft caught a glimpse of another one burning further to the north. It is rather small in comparison to the Castle Fire. Here is what has been officially posted.
The Castle Fire burned past the Little Kern River on Saturday, and is advancing towards the Flatiron to the east and Trout Meadow towards the north. It has burned approximately 516 acres since being discovered on Wednesday. This lightning-caused fire quickly spread in the Golden Trout Wilderness on the Sequoia National Forest. Six hand crews walked into the fire yesterday but were unable to stop the spread due to steep rocky terrain, fire behavior, and winds.
Today’s plan is to continue to scout for opportunities to be effective with resources assigned. Firefighters will be assessing values at risk at the Forks of the Kern Trailhead, Jerkey Meadow Trailhead, facilities at Trout Meadow and along the Lloyd Meadow Road as their primary focus. The forecasted weather continues to be hot and dry, with an increasing chance of thunderstorms in the area over the weekend. Currently assigned resources include 6 hand crews, several overhead personnel, and miscellaneous fixed and rotor-wing aircraft.
Castle Fire’s growth was primarily to the northeast. This fire is burning in extremely rough, inaccessible terrain. Air attack observed fire spreading towards the west, south of Castle Peak. They quickly brought in an air tanker and used retardant drops to keep the fire from spreading off the ridge to the west. Roughly 50 acres burned outside the Wilderness.
Emergency closures of Jerkey Meadow and Forks of the Kern Trailheads are in place. Additional closures of trails around Trout Meadow are being planned, current Wilderness permit holders have been notified. An Incident Management Team has been ordered for the Castle Fire and is expected to arrive over the next few days.
A second lightning-caused fire was discovered by aircraft working on the Castle Fire on Friday. The Shotgun fire is located where Pistol Creek and Shotgun Creek converge in the Golden Trout Wilderness. The Shotgun Fire is located within the burn scar of the 2017 Lion Fire and has grown to approximately 3 acres. With most fire personnel assigned to other fires throughout California, the Forest is prioritizing firefighting resources to protect life first, then property and infrastructure. The Shotgun Fire will remain unstaffed until resources become available to put it out.
Now Jerkey Meadow and Forks of the Kern Trailheads are closed. If you are going into the Golden Trout Wilderness soon, be mindful of where the wildfires are burning. Be safe!