Operational video briefings continue to be posted to the Sequoia National Forest Facebook site daily.
Yesterday, The Sequoia National Forest announced it has temporarily closed public access to the forest due to extreme fire behavior. This follows the Regional Office’s 9/7/2020 Emergency Forest Closures that temporarily closed eight National Forests, including the Sequoia and Inyo National Forests.
Sequoia (#SQF) Complex: The 64,258 acre complex includes the 63,729 acre Castle Fire and the 529 acre Shotgun fire. Approximately 52,413 acres of the Castle Fire is in the Sequoia National Forest and 11,316 is in the Inyo National Forest.
Castle Fire: Yesterday,firefighters caught a break with weather conditions that helped moderate fire behavior activity. This allowed personnel to get in on the western flank of the fire to strategically plan for a containment line. Crews began to implement the plan by constructing indirect line, utilizing old fire scars and working down to the White Meadow area.
On the southwestern corner, containment lines continue to hold the fire from Kern River to Lion Meadows. While some smoke has been visible in the area, it is not expected to be a threat. Further southeast, crews were able to get in and work on the finger of fire that had progressed on Monday towards Beach Meadows. Firefighters knocked down spot fires and were able to get a good assessment of structures in the area. Preparation for line construction continues from Blackrock Mountain to Beach Ridge.
Today, crews will continue to prioritize working on the western edge of the fire, stitching together pieces of containment line that will include natural fuel breaks and roads. The goal is to keep the fire spread east of Lloyd Meadow Road and north of Ponderosa and the Mountain Aire communities. Jordan Peak and White Meadow will be assessed for structure protection needs. Fire behavior in the Freeman Grove, which currently has a low intensity, creeping fire, will continue to monitored, and mop up will continue where possible. Further east, evaluation and preparation for structure protection will continue in Casa Vieja and Monache Meadows.
Crews assigned to structure protection have been active and mobile, familiarizing themselves with the multiple communities under mandatory evacuation. This plan allows all firefighters to become familiar with multiple areas and gives them situational awareness to be able to respond effectively, if and wherever, fire does break out.
Shotgun Fire: 529 acres and continues slowly burning in a rocky drainage and being monitored by aircraft.
Weather: Wednesdaywill be the coolest day of the week, with high temperatures ranging from the low 70s to the upper 80s in lower elevations. Winds will begin today out of the northwest, and will become southwesterly by early afternoon. High pressure will move into the region on Thursday night and temperatures will become hotter.
Smoke: Smoke from the Creek Fire will impact the Kern River Valley until the inversion lifts in the early afternoon. Heavy smoke will return and settle in the evening. For more information: https://fire.airnow.gov/
Evacuations and Closures:
- Evacuation Orders from the Tulare County Sheriff are in effect for the following communities: Camp Nelson, Coy Flat, Mountain Aire, Pierpoint, and points between (issued 9/6/20), Alpine Village, Sequoia Crest and Redwood Drive (issued 9/4/20), Ponderosa, Cedar Slope, Pyles Camp, and points between (8/28/20). An Evacuation Warning is in place for Doyle Springs.
- Road Closures: 1) State Hwy 190 at Rio Vista Road, 3 miles east of Springville; 2) Mountain Road (MR) 107 (Great Western Divide Highway) and MR 50 (both roads at their junction), 1 mile east of Parker Pass; 3) MR 99 and the Sherman Pass Road (both roads), 19 miles north of Kernville near the Johnsondale Bridge; 4) Sherman Pass Road, west of Kennedy Meadows. 5. Cherry Hill Road (Forest Route 22s12) at its junction with the Sherman Pass Road.
- For assistance with evacuation, contact the Red-Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS or https://tinyurl.com/yafetgkj
- Tulare County residents are encouraged to sign up for emergency notifications at alerttc.com
- Park and Campgrounds closures: Mountain Home Demonstration State Forest; Tulare County’s Balch Park Campground; and all the campgrounds within the Sequoia and Inyo National Forests.
- The USDA Forest Service on 9/7/2020 has issued the following: Emergency Forest Closures (Order No. 20-07 and Order No. 20-08) and Emergency Fire Restrictions (Order No. 20-06) for the Pacific Southwest Region that temporarily closes eight National Forests, including the Sequoia and Inyo National Forests.
- A Temporary Flight Restriction has been issued for the airspace around the fire complex, and it was extended further west on Tuesday. Drones are also prohibited.
Priorities include: Communities listed in the above evacuation orders, facilities within Trout Meadow, structures along the Lloyd Meadows Road, Freeman Creek Grove and other Sequoia groves, the President George H.W. Bush Tree, Camp Whitsett, archeological values, Peppermint Fire Station, Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog and Little Kern Golden Trout Critical Habitats, Pacific Fisher habitats, OSA and Beach Meadows, trailheads and facilities.