Wildfire Update: All three fires grow

The Alder Fire is now up to approximately 1,300 acres, Mountaineer is approximately 80, and Moses is grown slightly to 0.3 acres. Trails are still closed at this time. The exact details are below.

Current Fire Information: inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6238/

ALDER FIRE

Location: Five miles north of Camp Nelson by North Alder Creek

Acres Burned: Approximately 1,310 acres

Fire Discovered: October 4

Cause: Lightning

Containment: 3% contained

Resources: 304 total personnel10 hand crews, 13 engines, 2, dozers, 2 helicopters, 1 excavator,

1 water tender, 6 fallers, and 3 patrols

Summary: The Alder Fire is located on the Western Divide Ranger District in Giant Sequoia National Monument, Sequoia National Forest. The fire is burning north of North Alder Creek, in a dense stand of timber with extensive tree mortality which has produced many snags and heavy fuels on the ground. The extensive number of dead trees creates a serious safety concern for firefighters. Given these conditions, a confine and contain suppression strategy is being used to manage the fire. The fire is being managed by a Type 3 Incident Management Team led by Incident Commander Angel Prieto.

Characteristic: Aerial infrared reconnaissance was completed again last night. The fire continues to exhibit moderate, backing fire behavior. North Alder Creek is preventing the fires southward progression. To the west, the fire has backed down into the Middle Fork of the Tule River drainage and to the northwest, it has backed down into the Burro Creek drainage. Rock outcrops have slowed the northward movement of the fire. The fire is primarily confined to the ground, consuming large amounts of dead wood, bug and drought killed trees, substantially reducing fuel levels in its footprint.

Snags have been removed along Fox Farm Road preparing to use it as a fire line as needed. Fox Farm Road also provides an alternate escape route for the Sequoia Crest Community. Fallers are now focused on cutting dead hazardous trees along Redwood Drive. Fireline improvement and prepping has been completed around the Doyle Springs community. Crews are continuing to complete fire line prep work in Sequoia Crest. To the west of the fire, two dozers are working to open dozer lines constructed during the Pier Fire. Crews will be working behind the heavy equipment to prep lines. The fire management team is working in close coordination with Cal Fire to implement containment lines that complement the work Cal Fire has been completing around Mountain Home State Forest to improve forest health. Taking advantage of these optimal firing conditions, fire management initiated aerial ignition work as planned. Firing operations were successful at igniting moderate intensity fire in the Southwest corner of the fire along the Middle Fork of the Tule River and up the drainage to the north further improving containment. Optimal weather conditions for firing operations are anticipated to continue into Tuesday and aerial ignition work is planned again Monday afternoon.

ClosuresAn area closure for the area around the Alder Fire and the Mountaineer fire on the Western Divide Ranger District went into effect on October 20.

MOUNTAINEER FIRE

Location: About ½ mile north of Summit Trailhead, in the Golden Trout Wilderness.

Acres Burned: Approximately 80 acres

Fire Discovered: October 13

Cause: Lightning

Resources: patrol: 2 total personnel

Summary: The Mountaineer Fire is burning about a ½ mile north of the Summit Trailhead, on the north side of South Mountaineer Creek, in the Golden Trout Wilderness, on the Western Divide Ranger District of the Sequoia National Forest. The Mountaineer Fire is about 1.5 miles east of the Alder Fire. Aerial reconnaissance flights continue to monitor the fire daily. The fire is in a remote area dangerous to access on foot due to a large number of dead standing trees. A confine and contain suppression strategy is being used to suppress this fire as well. The fire burned actively again yesterday and continues to exhibit moderate fire behavior, backing downhill. There was moderate growth of the fire which was mostly to the northwest, north and west as it backs downslope toward Jacobsen Creek. Characteristic: Firefighters have finished reopening and improving trails and previous fire lines to the south and east of the fire, preparing to use them for containment if needed. Closures: An area closure for the area around the Alder Fire and Mountaineer Fire on the Western Divide Ranger District went into effect on October 20.

MOSES FIRE

Location: One mile south of Moses Mountain

Acres Burned: 0.3 acres

Fire Discovered: October 17

Cause: Lightning

Summary:During a reconnaissance flight for the Alder Fire on October 17, the Moses Fire was discovered. It is located one mile south of Moses Mountain, west of the Upper Tule Grove, at the head of Pine Creek on the Western Divide Ranger District in Giant Sequoia National Monument, Sequoia National Forest. Smoke may be visible from Balch Park Road. Characteristic: The Moses Fire has minimal fire behavior. It is burning in a patch of timber near a rocky area which provides natural containment. Aerial reconnaissance flights will continue to monitor the fire. An infrared flight flown last evening. WEATHER OUTLOOK

Temperatures will lower to around average through Tuesday due to a weak, dry cold frontal passage. Temperatures will warm back up by Wednesday as high pressure returns to the region. Winds will be primarily terrain driven, except for occasional gusts over nearby ridges.

SMOKE OUTLOOK

Smoke from the Alder fire continued to disperse through the day Sunday and will continue to do so throughout Monday. Smoke will persist throughout the area partially due to other fires in the region whose smoke has been traveling south toward Kernville in particular. 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://sms.valleyair.org/.

U.S. Forest Service, Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument
Voice: 559-784-1500 Web
www.fs.usda.gov/sequoia

Facebook:@SequoiaNF Twitter: @sequoiaforest OnCell App: Sequoia National Forest

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Wildfire Update: Alder, Mountaineer, and Moses Fires Showing Little Growth

The Alder Fire, located just west of the Golden Trout Wilderness boundary, is the largest of the three fires currently burning. Mountaineer is only at 19 acres with very little growth. Moses remains at 0.1 acres. Crews are either continuing to patrol by air or working on the ground. More details are below.

Alder, Mountaineer and Moses Fires

Giant Sequoia National Monument/Sequoia National Forest

For Immediate Release Date: October 25, 2018 Contact: Fire Information
(559) 539-2607 ext. 2292

Current Fire Information: inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6238/

ALDER FIRE

Location: Five miles north of Camp Nelson by North Alder Creek

Acres Burned: 742 acres

Fire Discovered: October 4

Cause: Lightning

Containment: 3% contained

Resources: 135 personnel3 hand crews, 7 engines, 2 helicopters, 4 fallers, 3 patrols, 1 Bobcat

Summary: The Alder Fire is located on the Western Divide Ranger District in Giant Sequoia National Monument, Sequoia National Forest. It is burning on the north side of North Alder Creek in a dense stand of timber with extensive tree mortality which produced many snags and heavy fuels on the ground. The extensive number of snags creates a severe safety concern for firefighters. Given these conditions, a confine and contain suppression strategy is being used to manage the fire.

Characteristic: To confine and contain the fire, managers have implemented a strategic aerial firing operation. Last week they employed helicopters to ignite small amounts of fire on top of the ridge on the north side of the fire, to remove fuels ahead of the fire to prevent it from crossing the top of the ridge. The need for aerial ignition is evaluated each day. There has not been any aerial ignition for the past 5 days. Topographical features and past burn scars within the planning area are being used to minimize the overall acreage of the fire.

The Alder Fire is slowly moving mostly toward the west, with a little movement to the east and north. It is holding steady on the north side of North Alder Creek. It is burning with low to moderate intensity, mostly on the ground, with the occasional isolated torching of dead trees which are prone to burn more readily. It is consuming and cleaning up large amounts of fuels which accumulated due to tree mortality. Fire behavior observed yesterday was moderate, backing with flanking mostly on the west and south-west sides of the fire.

Daily aerial reconnaissance flights will continue to be used to monitor the progression of the fire.

Along with aerial firing operations, firefighters have been preparing a defensive perimeter around the Doyle Springs and Sequoia Crest communities by opening and improving existing fire lines, using roads, trails and some handlines created during last summer’s Pier Fire. Crews have also been setting up hose lines with portable pumps and water tanks in case they are needed to hold the line if the fire advances. These are precautionary measures in the unlikely event that the fire progresses to the south closer to these communities. The prep work has been completed in the Doyle Springs community but resources will continue to be stationed there to monitor for fire activity and respond if needed. A night shift with two engines and an incident commander continue to monitor the fire during the night. Firefighters are finishing the work of falling hundreds of dead and hazardous trees along Fox Farm Road, preparing to use it as a fire line if needed. This work will also improve long-term public safety by reducing the hazards from dead trees along the road. Crews are improving an existing handline in the Sequoia Crest Community again today.

ClosuresAn area closure for the area around the Alder Fire and the Mountaineer fire on the Western Divide Ranger District went into effect on October 20.

MOUNTAINEER FIRE

Location: About ½ mile north of Summit Trailhead, in the Golden Trout Wilderness.

Acres Burned: 19 acres

Fire Discovered: October 13

Cause: Lightning

Resources: patrol: 2 total personnel

Summary: The Mountaineer Fire is burning about a ½ mile north of the Summit Trailhead, on the north side of South Mountaineer Creek, in the Golden Trout Wilderness, in the Western Divide Ranger District of the Sequoia National Forest. The Mountaineer Fire is about 1.5 miles east of the Alder Fire. Aerial reconnaissance flights will continue to monitor the fire daily. The fire is in a remote area dangerous to access on foot due to a large number of dead standing trees. A confine and contain suppression strategy is being used to manage this fire. The Mountaineer Fire was less active yesterday, backing moderately downhill. The small amount of growth of the fire was on the north and west sides. Characteristic: Firefighters have finished reopening and improving trails and previous fire lines, preparing to use them as fire lines for the Mountaineer Fire if needed. Two people will monitor the fire and respond if needed. Closures: An area closure for the area around the Alder Fire and Mountaineer Fire on the Western Divide Ranger District went into effect on October 20.

MOSES FIRE

Location: One mile south of Moses Mountain

Acres Burned: 0.10 acres

Fire Discovered: October 17

Cause: Lightning

Summary: During a reconnaissance flight for the Alder Fire on October 17, the Moses Fire was discovered. It is located one mile south of Moses Mountain, west of the Upper Tule Grove, at the head of Pine Creek in the Western Divide Ranger District in Giant Sequoia National Monument, Sequoia National Forest. Smoke may be visible from Balch Park Road.
Characteristic: The Moses Fire has minimal fire behavior. It is burning in a patch of timber near a rocky area which provides natural containment. Aerial reconnaissance flights will continue to monitor the fire each day.

WEATHER OUTLOOK Dry weather will continue over the area for the next several days. Light terrain driven winds will prevail. Temperatures will trend much warmer and relative humidity will be slightly lower through the weekend. A dry upper trough will move across the state on Monday bringing cooler temperatures, increased relative humidity and a period of increased winds for the early part of next week.

SMOKE OUTLOOK Smoke will be more pervasive today, with highest concentrations in communities closest to the fire. The smoke will be present all day long, with heaviest smoke overnight and in the early morning hours.

U.S. Forest Service
Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument
Voice: 559-784-1500
Web
www.fs.usda.gov/sequoia

Facebook:@SequoiaNF Twitter: @sequoiaforest OnCell App: Sequoia National Forest

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Wildfire Update: Roads and Trails Close

alder-mountaineer-closure

Image taken from Inciweb

Alder and Mountaineer Fires are continuing to grow. As such the Sequoia National Forest has issued Forest Orders to close trails and roads associated with the fire. Forest Service road 21S50 (North Road) above Clicks Creek TH is closed and adjoining roads. Trails associated with the wilderness, the Summit, Jacobsen, Griswold trails, are closed too. Make sure to read the Closure Order for additional details including more roads and trails closed. Below is update on each fire.

Alder Fire and Mountaineer Fire and Moses Fire Update – October 21, 2018 at 5PM

Alder Fire

An area closure for the area surrounding the Alder and Mountaineer Fires was signed on 10-19-18.

The Alder Fire, is located about 5 miles north of Camp Nelson on the Western Divide Ranger District in Giant Sequoia National Monument, Sequoia National Forest. It has slowly and steadily grown since it was discovered October 4th. A reconnaissance flight will continue to check it daily. It is estimated to be about 510 acres in size on 10-21-18. It is consuming dead fuels on the ground, and is actively burning throughout the day and the night.

A confine and contain suppression strategy is being used. The fire is inaccessible on foot. Firefighters have been constructing fire line where they could get to safely, and improving fire lines that were created during last summer’s Pier Fire. Roads, trails, and fire lines will be utilized to confine and contain the Alder Fire where possible. The fire is located north of North Alder Creek in an area of extensive tree mortality. It is burning in a dense timber stand with heavy fuels on the ground and multiple snags overhead, which creates a safety concern for fire personnel.

The west side of the Alder Fire continues to move up slope toward the top of the ridge and west. On the 18th and 19th a helicopter with aerial firing devices was used, as a defensive indirect tactic, to ignite fire from the top of the ridge on the north side of the fire, to prevent the fire from making a crown run to the top of the ridge. This tactical firing removed the heavy continuous fuels in front of the fire, to reduce the effect of the fire in a controlled manner.

Firefighters are establishing and improving fire lines to protect the communities of Doyle Springs and Sequoia Crest. “A lot of preparation work was accomplished to protect those communities last summer during the Pier Fire,” stated District Ranger Eric La Price. “Firefighters have several options to stop it if the Alder Fire were to spread in that direction.”

The weather outlook calls for dry weather to continue over the fire area for the next few days, with slightly warmer temperatures and little change in relative humidity. An easterly flow aloft will continue with terrain influenced winds at the surface.

Smoke will become more visible as the fire grows, and is expected to increase over the next week.

Approximately 157 personnel are assigned to the Alder fire, including 4 hand crews, 7 engines, 2 helicopters, 4 fallers, 3 patrols, and 1 bobcat. A night shift with 2 engines and an incident commander is also working on the Alder Fire.

Mountaineer Fire

An area closure for the area surrounding the Alder and Mountaineer Fires was signed 10-19-18.

The Mountaineer Fire is about one and a half miles east of the Alder Fire. It is located north of Summit Trailhead 13E14, in the Golden Trout Wilderness, in Western Divide Ranger District of the Sequoia National Forest. The investigation of the cause of the fire determined that it was started by lightning.

A reconnaissance flight will continue to check the fire daily. It is estimated to be about 8.3 acres in size. The fire is inaccessible on foot. No structures or improvements are threatened, and a confine-contain suppression strategy is being used. The Mountaineer Fire is burning in timber, with heavy fuels lying on the ground.

Two crews are working on reopening and improving existing fire lines and trails on the Mountaineer Fire.

The Mountaineer Fire is producing minimal smoke, with smoldering and creeping fire behavior.

Moses Fire
During a reconnaissance flight for the Alder Fire on October 17th, the Moses Fire was discovered. It is located one mile south of Moses Mountain, west of Upper Tule Grove, at the head of Pine Creek, in the Giant Sequoia National Monument of the Western Divide Ranger District on the Sequoia National Forest. Smoke may be visible from Balch Park Road. The Moses Fire is being monitored by air and is unstaffed at this time. No structures are at risk.

For additional information, please call the Western Divide Ranger District (559) 539-2607, extension 2292.

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Trip Report: Lewis Camp to Willow Springs

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Kevin and 6 of his friends went out into the GTW earlier this month. His goal was to get away and find some solitude. Here is what he has to report.

On the weekend of Oct 5th-7th six friends and I hiked from Lewis Camp Trail-head to Willow Springs and back. Our original plan was to make it to little Kern Lake but the trail was so rough in the section marked in red that we did not make it. It looked like the trail had not been maintained in a long time. There had been a forest fire in the not so distance past. While much of the ground cover has recovered there were many many trees blocking the trail. Some were easy to step over as per example in the photo, but some would take you 50+ feet off the trail to get around.  It made for a tough day and we did not have the energy to push on to Little Kern Lake. We decided to take Trout Meadow on the way back and it was much more traveled.

That small section was not able to ruin our trip though. We stayed at the old Livestock Camp at Willow Springs on Friday night. It had not rained in quite a while but we were still able to filter water at Willow Meadow Springs. We were greeted by six free range horses, who were not shy at all.  It was dry that night but dipped into the low 30’s. We took Trout Meadows to meet up at the Little Kern River again. We tried our luck at fishing but barely got even a nibble. It didn’t matter because the area was just so beautiful. It rained on us on Sat night while we camped near the bridge at Little Kern River and woke up to a beautiful morning. We later found out that it had snowed at the trail-head while it rained on us. The rain packed down all the loose dirt on the trail from the pack animals and made the hike out just a little easier.

My goal for the hike was to not see another soul and we only saw a pack mule with rider and two hikers in the last mile on the way out on Sunday morning, so I would say mission accomplished. We did see the horses, a few deer, and a few snakes (one gopher snake?, and two young rattlers).

Thanks for the report Kevin. Glad to hear you and your friends enjoyed it despite a change in your plans.

 

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Wildfire: Mountaineer Fire

In case you were heading out along the Summit Trail or on the Mountaineer Trail, you may want to read this:

The Mountaineer Fire is about one and a half miles east of the Alder Fire. It is located north of Summit Trailhead, in the Golden Trout Wilderness, in Western Divide Ranger District of the Sequoia National Forest. The cause of the Mountaineer Fire is under investigation.

A reconnaissance flight will continue to check the fire daily. It is estimated to be one acre in size. The fire is inaccessible on foot. No structures or improvements are threatened, and a confine-contain suppression strategy is being used. The Mountaineer Fire is burning in timber, with heavy fuels lying on the ground.

Two crews are working on reopening and improving existing fire lines and trails on the Mountaineer Fire.

The Mountaineer Fire produced minimal smoke today, with smoldering and creeping fire behavior.

An area closure is in the process of being established for the roads and trails surrounding Summit Trailhead and the Mountaineer Fire on the Western Divide Ranger District.

For additional information, please call the Western Divide Ranger District (559) 539-2607, extension 2292.

Source: InciWeb

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Trail Report: Clicks Creek to Little Kern River at Sagebrush Gulch; then to Soda Spring Creek and Parole Cabin Meadow

User Dan Hall did a recent trip into the GTW. It sounds like quite the hike. Here is what he has to report. Make sure to check out a link to his photos.

On October 8, 2018 I started my backpacking and hiking trip at the Clicks Creek Trailhead located on Forest Service Road 21S50. I spent three nights camped by the Little Kern River at Sagebrush Gulch and spent some time exploring, including hikes up into the areas near Soda Spring Creek and Parole Cabin Meadow.

Below is a version of the trail report that I provided the Forest Service. In addition, there is more detail about the trails and other things in the captioned photos posted at http://tinyurl.com/y9f2o27x

TRAIL 32E11: Clicks Creek Trailhead to Trail Junction for Grey Meadow

There are 3 blowdowns in this section before the wilderness boundary and they range in diameter from 6 to 18 inches. After entering the wilderness, there is 1 more blowdown and it is 30 inches in diameter. Hikers and stock are getting around all of them without significant problems or environmental damage and, regarding the tread, there are no catastrophic slides, collapses or ruts, but erosion is starting in a few of the steep sections.

TRAIL 32E11: Trail Junction for Grey Meadow to the Campsite Where Sagebrush Gulch and Mountaineer/Alpine Creek Meet the Little Kern River

There were 20 blowdowns in this section ranging in diameter from 6 to 36 inches. Hikers and stock are getting around all of them without significant problems or environmental damage and, regarding the tread, there are no catastrophic slides, collapses or ruts.

TRAIL 32E08: The Campsite Where Sagebrush Gulch and Mountaineer/Alpine Creek Meet the Little Kern River to the Trail Junction Near Parole Cabin Meadow

There are no blowdowns across the trail, nor, regarding the tread, any catastrophic slides, collapses or ruts. However, after about a 1.25 miles the trail runs through burn area and then drops into a wet area near a meadow. The official trail is mostly lost in the brush south of this meadow while numerous other “trails” have been created that lead nowhere useful.

TRAIL 32E08: The Trail Junction Near Parole Cabin Meadow to the Ridge Overlooking Soda Spring Creek

First, it looks like a bear got the new trail sign. Also, there are over 2 dozen blowdowns ranging in diameter from 6 to 24 inches. Hikers and stock are getting around all of them without significant problems or environmental damage and, regarding the tread, there are no catastrophic slides, collapses or ruts.

TRAIL 32E10: The Trail Junction Near Parole Cabin Meadow, Through the Meadow and toward Mowery Meadow

The trail is fine from the trail junction to Alpine Creek and through Parole Cabin Meadow. Then the trail runs out into the heart of the burn area and the conditions change.

There are dozens of blowdowns across the trail. For the first half a mile, hikers and stock are getting around all of them without significant problems or environmental damage and, regarding the tread, there are no catastrophic slides, collapses or ruts.

After about half a mile, however, the trail begins to run across steeper ground. The post-fire erosion has caused soil to flow onto the trail and now new brush is growing on and over the trail, thereby obliterating it. The trail is essentially gone. I went almost to the junction with trail 32E12 (to Grey Meadow), but did not reach it.

Thanks so much Dan! I am sure many fall backpackers will benefit!

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Video: Upper Kern River Fly Fishing

A group of three head out the Forks of the Kern TH and hike up the Kern River for some fly fishing. Check out there catches and views along the way. With the fall weather, who’s ready to get outside and catch a big one?? Thanks Matthew for the share.

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Video: LABC 4th of July to Chicken Spring Lake

Come along on another overnight trip to Chicken Spring Lake. This time it is a group of folks from LABC who head out. Enjoy the views and clear skies from their 4th of July trip this past season.

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Video: Overnight to Chicken Spring Lake

Catherine and Julie head out to do an overnight trip to Chicken Spring Lake. The trip was early August, so you will get to see some of the smoke haze from the Ferguson Fire. Don’t let that stop you from watching this 18 minute video. A surprise weather makes the second day even better!

Note: There is one quiet “A” word used at 7:30. Otherwise clean.

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Poll: Drones

Do you think drones should be allowed in the wilderness? Many see it as mechanical use by a small machine. The noise level takes away from the wilderness experience. Others say they should be allowed because they are no different then a battery powered device that makes noise (i.e. smart phone, music player). What is your take and why?

 

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