Castle Fire: The Castle Fire has burned 20,769 acres and is 0% contained. Yesterday, the fire crossed the Kern River making strong runs towards Overlook Mountain and Kern Ridge. A full engagement to suppress, contain, and confine the fire has been employed using hand crews, bulldozers and aircraft. Firefighters are constructing a primary line using existing roads and trail systems to stop the fire from advancing to the south and southwest. Crews will be inserted where the fire crossed the river to develop an assessment of resource needs for suppression of the eastern edge of the fire, while priorities to protect structures and isolated areas of values at risk adjacent to the fire perimeter such as Ponderosa, Cedar Slope, RM Pyles Camp, Golden Trout Pack Station and the Freeman Creek Grove of Giant Sequoia Trees remain unchanged.
Shotgun Fire: The Shotgun Fire, located where Pistol Creek and Shotgun Creek converge in the Golden Trout Wilderness, has now burned to 210 acres. The fire is burning in rough rocky terrain and has had significant growth. At this time, the Shotgun Fire continues to be monitored by air resources.
Current Situation: The Sequoia National Forest has issued Order No. 0513-20-31 SQF Complex Fire Area Road and Trails Closure, for the protection of the public and firefighters suppressing the fire. Fire behavior can be unpredictable, and fire managers are asking the public to exercise caution and avoid of all areas that could be impacted. Federal, state, and local officers, firefighters, and members of an organized rescue team and any others authorized by Forest Service permit are exempt from the closure order.
Threats: Forks of the Kern Trailhead; Jerky Mountain Trailhead; Facilities and Trails within Trout Meadow; structures and facilities along the Lloyd Meadow Road; grazing cattle west of north road; The President George H.W. Bush Tree; Camp Whitsett, featuring numerous Native American archeological values; Peppermint Fire Station; The Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog and Little Kern Golden Trout Critical Habitats; Pacific Fisher habitats.
Weather: Light drainage winds were seen through much of the morning hours on Wednesday with south to southwest winds increasing by noon. Winds speeds were generally 5-10 mph with gusts to 15 mph. Temperatures were down slightly from the previous day with highs in the upper 70s to low the 90s. RH also was trending slightly higher with most sites in the lower 20s to mid- 30s, similar conditions are to be expected Thursday with hot and dry conditions.
Smoke Impact: Smoke and widespread air quality impacts from the California wildfires and SQF Complex remain a primary weather concern. To assist with public air quality issues an Air Resource Advisor has been assigned to the SQF Complex. Exposure to smoke can be reduced by following a few simple rules. Close windows, doors, and outside vents when it is smoky to prevent accumulations indoors. In you have an air conditioner, run it. Keep the fresh air intake closed and keep the filter clean. Ventilate your home, and workplace during periods of little smoke. Avoid physical activities while smoke is dense. For information about air quality, smoke conditions, and health effects, visit https://wildlandfiresmoke.net/outlooks/SouthernSierra-Sequoia, www.valleyair.orgor visit www.airnow.gov.Visitors to the Forest will continue to see smoke, active fire, and firefighters during the next few weeks. Please drive slowly and carefully.
Special notes: Fire managers will employ tactics that safely engage fire while prioritizing firefighter and public safety and protecting values at risk. Life safety will always remain the number one priority. COVID-19 mitigations are being taken to limit exposure risks to firefighters and the public, per CDC guidelines.