SQF Complex at 55,000+ Acres

View of SQF Complex from Camp Nelson

The SQF Complex Fire by approximately 3,900 acres yesterday. News on InciWeb reports similar growth today. That will push the fire up to nearly 60,000 acres & only 1% contained. Limited resources to fight the fire are due to all the wildfires across the state. Hence why the 1% containment hasn’t changed much. More info can be read at InciWeb.

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SQF Complex Over 50,000 Acres!

Photo by Donna Peppin

Source of information below from InciWeb.

SQF Complex Fire Update
Sequoia and Inyo National Forests
September 4, 2020 Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 1
Mike Goicoechea, Incident Commander
Incident Statistics Location: 25 miles N of Kernville, CA
Date of origin: August 19, 2020
Size: 52,017 acres 
Containment: 1% Cause: Lightning 
Injuries: 6
Cost: $8.2 million 
Resources: 

  • Hand Crews: 11    
  • Engines: 43
  • Water-tenders: 16         
  • Dozers: 8
  • Helicopters: 9                 
  • Personnel: 630

Fire Information: 559-697-5148, 8AM-8PM
Email: sqfcomplex2020@gmail.com
Website: inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7048
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SequoiaNF
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TulareCountyFireDepartment
Twitter: @sequoiaforest

SQF Complex: The SQF Complex, encompassing the Castle and Shotgun fires, has burned 52,017 acres. Approximately 11,000 acres of the Castle Fire is located within the Inyo National Forest boundary, with the remainder on the Sequoia National Forest. The containment remains at 1%.

Castle Fire: The fire remains active with substantial heat and potential for growth amidst hot, dry conditions. Yesterday, the fire was pushed west by winds through the Grey Meadows and Burnt Corral Meadows area. Crews continue firing operations from containment lines to the active fire perimeter on the southwest flank. Dozers and hand crews are digging new containment line, as well as relocating and reopening lines from prior fires. Structure protection continues, particularly for nearby communities, including Camp Nelson and Ponderosa, on the southwest side. The Castle Fire grew by approximately 6,000 acres yesterday and is now at 51,610 acres. 

Shotgun Fire: Estimated at 407 acres, the fire is slowly burning in a rocky drainage, with continued aerial monitoring. 

Weather: The weather pattern is holding steady, with a high pressure system over the area bringing hot and dry conditions. Relative humidity continues to remain low, potentially dropping into the single digits, which can contribute to extreme fire conditions. They typical pattern of light drainage winds is expected early in the day, with the inversion forecast to lift around 10:00 am. Increasing southeast winds with gusts to 20 mph are expected in the afternoon. Highs will likely reach the mid-80s to lower 100s. An extreme heat warning will extend through the Labor Day weekend, with critical fire weather to persist in the area.

Evacuations and Closures: 
·       

  • Tulare County Sheriff’s Evacuation Order(August 28, 2020) is active for: Cedar Slope, Ponderosa, and Pyles Camp. ·       
  • Roads are closed at Johnsondale Bridge and Sherman Pass, Hwy 190, and the County Transfer Station, as well as M107 and Mountain Road 50.        
  • Campgrounds closed: Dome Rock, Lower Peppermint, Upper Peppermint, & Quaking Aspen 
  • Sequoia National Forest issued Order No. 0513-20-31 SQF Complex Fire Area Road and Trails Closure. 
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Virtual Public Meeting for SQF Complex

Virtual public meeting tonight at 8 PM
Live streamed at:
www.facebook.com/SequoiaNF
www.facebook.com/TulareCountyFireDepartment

The SQF Complex, encompassing the Castle and Shotgun fires, has burned 46,328 acres, an increase of 3,754 acres since yesterday. Approximately 6,000 acres of the Castle Fire is burning on the Inyo Nation Forest, with the remainder on the Sequoia National Forest. The containment estimate remains at 1%, with dozer line on the southwest side of the Castle Fire in the vicinity of Lloyd Meadows. Mike Goicoechea, Incident Commander, Northern Rockies Type 1 Incident Management Team took command of the fire this morning. Currently, 632 personnel are assigned; with the transition, additional resources are expected to arrive.

Castle Fire: The fire perimeter remains active, encompassing 45,296 acres. The northern flanks are encroaching on Osa Meadow and progressing towards Angora Mountain with wind-driven runs and group torching. Substantial heat remains on the east side in the Lloyd Meadows area. Crews are focused on firing operations from containment lines to the active fire perimeter on the southwest flank; firing operations are also planned for the Kern Creek area if conditions permit. Structure protection is underway in the Soda Flats area and near Jordan Hot Springs, as well as Ponderosa, Lloyd Meadows, Pyles Camp, Camp Whitsett, and other areas on the west side.

Shotgun Fire: Estimated at 402 acres, the Shotgun Fire is slowly burning within a rocky drainage, with continued monitoring by aerial resources.

Weather: Conditions remain stable with a strong high-pressure system continuing to build in the area. Hot temperatures and low relative humidity will persist in the area. Daytime highs will be 70 to 78 degrees at upper elevations and 94 to 97 on the valley floor, with relative humidity potentially dropping into the single digits. Winds are expected to remain light in the morning, and increasing in the afternoon with potential gusts to 25 mph.

Evacuations and Closures: 

  • The Evacuation Order placed August 28, 2020 by the Tulare County Sheriff is still active for the following communities: Cedar Slope, Ponderosa, and Pyles Boys Camp.

  • The Evacuation Advisory is still in place for the following communities: Camp Nelson, Rodgers Camp, Coy Flat and Mountain Aire.

The evacuation order and advisory evacuation affects 242 structures. The Red Cross set up a temporary evacuation center at Porterville College Stadium Gate 2.

  • Roads are closed at Johnsondale Bridge and Sherman Pass, Hwy 190, and the County Transfer Station, as well as M107 and Mountain Road 50.

  • Camps closed:  Dome Rock, Lower Peppermint, Upper Peppermint, & Quaking Aspen

  • The Sequoia National Forest has issued Order No. 0513-20-31 SQF Complex Fire Area Road and Trails Closure.  The Inyo National Forest has issued Order No. 05-04-51-20-16 Inyo National Forest Castle Fire Trail and Area Closure, for the protection of the public and firefighters suppressing the fire.

Smoke Impact: Stable air conditions will keep smoke in the valleys for the next several days. Kern River Valley remains adversely impacted by Unhealthy to Hazardous air quality. Most areas are expected to improve to Moderate for a few hours each day. Please protect yourself from unhealthy air quality; stay inside during the worst conditions. Try to plan outside activities for late afternoon until midnight when the air is typically cleaner.

Priorities include: Ponderosa, Cedar Slope, Forks of the Kern Trailhead; Jerkey Meadows Trailhead; Facilities and Trails within Trout Meadow; structures and facilities along the Lloyd Meadows Road; Pyles Boys Camp; grazing cattle west of north road; the Freeman Creek Grove and other Sequoia tree Groves; 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.

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.
 

Fire Information: 559-697-5148, 8AM-8PM
Email: sqfcomplex2020@gmail.com
Website: inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7048/ 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SequoiaNF
Facebook: www.facebook.com/TulareCountyFireDepartment
Twitter: @sequoiaforest

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SQF Complex Now Over 35,000 Acres

Quick Facts:

Castle Fire is 35,312. Shotgun Fire is 362. Total personnel: 551. Containment is 0%.

News Source InciWeb

SQF COMPLEX FIRE 
SEQUOIA NATIONAL FOREST 
August 31, 2020 – 8:00 a.m. 
California Interagency Incident Management Team 12 Michael Nobles, Incident Commander 

Please Note New Fire Information Email and Phone Number 

Castle Fire: The Castle Fire has burned 35,312 total acres and is continuing to burn on several active fronts with 0% containment. A full suppression strategy is being used to confine the fire utilizing hand crews, and bulldozers to construct a primary containment line assisted by aircraft along with existing roads and trail systems. Fire engines from multiple agencies including Tulare County Fire Department are being employed in the Ponderosa, Pyle’s Camp, Lloyd Meadows and Peppermint Ranch areas to assist with structure protection. The fire is burning on the Inyo National Forest near Soda Flats, toward Chinquapin Basin and along Kern Ridge. 

Shotgun Fire: The Shotgun Fire, located where Pistol Creek and Shotgun Creek converge in the Golden Trout Wilderness, has now burned to 362 acres. The fire is burning in rough rocky terrain and grew approximately 2 acres backing toward the Little Kern River. At this time, the Shotgun Fire continues to be monitored by air resources. 

There are currently 551 personnel on the SQF Complex, with additional resources still on order. The SQF Complex has burned 35,674 acres. 

Evacuation Notice: The Evacuation Order placed August 28, 2020 by Tulare County Sheriff’s Office is still active for the following communities: Cedar Slope, Ponderosa, and Pyle’s Camp. The Evacuation Advisory is still in place for the following communities: Camp Nelson, Rodgers Camp, Coy Flat and Mountain Aire. The evacuation order and advisory evacuation affect 242 structures. A temporary evacuation point had been set up by the Red Cross at Porterville College Stadium Gate 2. Roads are closed at Johnsondale Bridge and Sherman Pass, Hwy 190, and the County Transfer Station, as well as M107 and Mountain Road 50. 

Closures: 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. The Inyo National Forest has issued Order No. 05-04-51-20-16 Inyo National Forest Castle Fire Trail and Area Closure, for the protection of the public and firefighters suppressing the fire. These closures are being enforced. 

Priorities Include: Ponderosa, Cedar Slope, Forks of the Kern Trailhead; Jerkey Mountain Trailhead; Facilities and Trails within Trout Meadow; structures and facilities along the Lloyd Meadow Road; RM Pyle’s Boys Camp; grazing cattle west of north road; the Freeman Creek Grove and other sequoia tree groves; 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: Lighter winds are expected from the south southwest 5 to 10 mph and occasional gusts to 15 mph. These lighter winds will keep smoke trapped in the valley through most of the day. Unstable conditions and with relative humidity dropping into the teens the potential to increase fire activity exist.

Smoke Impact: Smoke and widespread air quality impacts from the California wildfires and SQF Complex remain a primary weather concern. Please note the following tips to protect yourself from unhealthy air quality. Stay inside during the worst air quality and try to plan your outside time for late afternoon until midnight when the air is normally cleaner. Also attaching a filter to a box fan is a low-cost portable solution; for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vJk5BM8xUo

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. 
For More Information: 

Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7048/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SequoiaNF

Twitter: 

Email: @sequoiaforest 

Sqfcomplex2020@gmail.com 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/TulareCountyFireDepartment

Fire Info Line: 559-697-5148 – Hours of Operation: 7a.m.-9p.m. 

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SQF Complex Fire Live Meeting

There will be a virtual community meeting regarding the Castle Fire on 8/29/2020 @ 6:30 p.m. This virtual meeting will be streamed on the US Forest Service Sequoia National Forest and Tulare County Fire Department Facebook pages at www.facebook.com/SequoiaNF  or www.facebook.com/TulareCountyFireDepartment

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SQF Grows Over 23,000 acres!

Looking South towards Forks of the Kern TH

Quick update that the SQF Complex is now over 23,000 acres and growing. The resources at hand are focusing on protecting life, then property and infrastructure. Fire is still active and across the Kern River near Forks of the Kern. Estimated containment date is September 12 at this time. More information can be found at the InciWeb website.

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SQF Complex Burns Over 20,000 acres

Trout Meadow Guard Station survives!

Source: InciWeb

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.

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SQF Complex Fire Up to 18,000+ Acres

Quick update: Both fires combine are approximately at 18,180 acres and growing. SQF side of the GTW is now closed along with several roads and trails accessing the area. Fire is on the Inyo side of the GTW.

Source: InciWeb

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Golden Trout Wilderness Closes due to SQF Complex

Official release notice of closure and fines for violating the closure order. Essentially the GTW is closed! Read an excerpt below. It is encouraged to read the full order and see a high quality map at this link

FOREST ORDER NO. _0513-20-31

SEQUOIA NATIONAL FOREST GIANT SEQUOIA NATIONAL MONUMENT 

WESTERN DIVIDE AND KERN RIVER RANGER DISTRICTS SQF COMPLEX FIRE AREA, ROADS, AND TRAILS CLOSURE 

Pursuant to 16 U.S.C. 551 and 36 C.F.R. 261.50(b), and to provide for public safety, the following acts are prohibited within the Western Divide Ranger District of the Sequoia National Forest. This Forest Order is effective from August 26, 2020, through September 30, 2020. 

1.     Going into or being upon National Forest System lands within the SQF Complex Fire Closure Area, as described in Exhibit A and shown on Exhibit B. 

36 C.F.R. 261.53(e). 

2.     Being on the National Forest System trails within the SQF Complex Fire Closure Area as shown on Exhibit B. 36 C.F.R. 261.55(a). 

3.     Being on the National Forest System roads within the SQF Complex Fire Closure Area as shown on Exhibit B. 36 C.F.R. 261.54(e). 

Pursuant to 36 C.F.R. 261.50(e), the following persons are exempt from this Order: 

1.     Persons with Forest Service Permit No. FS-7700-48 (Permit for Use of Roads, Trails, or Areas Restricted by Regulation or Order), specifically exempting them from this Order. 

2.     Any Federal, State, or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or fire fighting force in the performance of an official duty. 

3.     Owners or lessees of land, within the SQF Complex Fire Closure Area to the extent necessary to access their land. 

4.     Residents, within SQF Complex Fire Closure Area to the extent necessary to access their residences. 

A violation of these prohibitions is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both. 

16 U.S.C. 551 and 18 U.S.C. 3559, 3571, and 3581. 

Executed in Porterville, California, this 25th day of August, 2020. 

TERESA BENSON 

Forest Supervisor Sequoia National Forest 

ORDER NO. 0513-20-31

SEQUOIA NATIONAL FOREST 

WESTERN DIVIDE AND KERN RIVER RANGER DISTRICTS SQF COMPLEX FIRE AREA, TRAIL AND ROAD CLOSURE EXHIBIT A 

The boundary of the SQF Complex Fire Closure Area begins at the intersection of the Golden Trout Wilderness boundary and Touhy Gap Trail (Forest Trail No. 30E13) in Section 1, Township 19 South, Range 30 East, MDB&M, then continues northeast approximately 32.8 miles along the Golden Trout Wilderness boundary to its intersection with the forest boundary in Section 21, T.18S., R.33E., MDB&M, then continues southeast approximately 18.3 miles along the forest boundary to its intersection with Blackrock Road (Forest Road No. 21S03) in the northwest corner of Section 23, T.20S., R.34E., MDB&M, then continues south approximately 8.5 miles along the Blackrock Road to its intersection with the Sherman Pass Road (Forest Road No. 22S05) in the southwest corner of Section 13, T.21S., R.34E., MDB&M, then continues southwest approximately 31.6 miles along the Sherman Pass Road to its intersection with Sierra Highway (County Road Mountain 99) in Section 35, T.22S., R.32E., MDB&M, then continues north approximately 1.5 miles along Sierra Highway to its intersection with Elephant Knob Trail (Forest Trail No. 32E43) in the northwest corner of Section 35, then continues approximately 1.9 miles along Elephant Knob Trail to its intersection with Dry Meadow Road (Forest Road No. 22S53) in Section 22, then continues approximately 1.6 miles along Dry Meadow Road to its intersection with Lloyd Meadow Road (Forest Road No. 22S82) in the northwest corner of Section 22, then continues approximately 14.9 miles along Lloyd Meadow Road to its intersection with Freeman Creek Trail (Forest Trail No. 32E20) in Section 34, T. 20 S., R.32E., MDB&M, then continues west along Freeman Creek Trail approximately 4.2 miles to its intersection with North Road (Forest Road No. 21S50) in Section 5, T.21 S., R. 32 E., MDB&M, then continues north along North Road approximately 9.3 miles to its intersection with the Golden Trout Wilderness in Section 1, T. 20 S., R. 31 E., MDB&M, then continues northwest approximately 16.4 miles along the boundary of the Golden Trout Wilderness boundary to the starting point, as shown on Exhibit B. 

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Castle and Shotgun Fires Renamed

The Castle and Shotgun Fires have now been renamed. It is being referred to as the SQF Complex. Believe is a new release about the current fire.

Castle Fire: The Castle Fire burning on the Western Divide Ranger District, northeast of the mountain community of Ponderosa, has grown to approximately 14,750 acres with 0% containment. Today, the Castle Fire and Shotgun Fire will become the Sequoia Complex. These lighting caused fires started after a series of strong thunderstorms moved through the area, August 19, 2020. The fire continues to move further into the Golden Trout Wilderness on the Sequoia National Forest and is advancing towards the Inyo National Forest. A full suppression to contain and confine operation is in place with firefighters working on the ground and supported by aircraft. A point protection strategy has been put in place to stop the fire from advancing into the Freeman Grove of Giant Sequoia’s and the community of Ponderosa. 

Shotgun Fire: The Shotgun Fire, located where Pistol Creek and Shotgun Creek converge in the Golden Trout Wilderness, has grown to approximately 250 acres with 0% containment. At this time the Shotgun Fire is being monitored by air and is burning in rough rocky terrain. 

Current Situation: The cabins in the Trout Meadow area remain threatened. The community of Ponderosa and Cedar Slope was notified by the Tulare County Sheriffs office of an evacuation advisory. There remains a life-threatening and these advisory precautions were delivered to homeowners in preparation if the need were to arise. Monday morning, 12 hikers were safely evacuated from the fire zone after being spotted by a passing helicopter, with two more individuals still at Little Kern Lake in the wilderness. Fire may move towards the area, so efforts are underway to locate, notify and evacuate those hikers. Little Kern Lake is still north of the fire; efforts are precautionary. 

Weather: Unstable weather conditions are predicted for today, with higher humidity levels. The potential for thunderstorms with lightning in the afternoon is likely and is forecast to continue over the next 72hrs, accompanied by hot temperatures. 

Smoke Impact: Smoke and widespread air quality impacts from the California wildfires remain the primary weather concern. Additional lightning and thunderstorms are predicted this week, and in response, the Forest is using a combination of fire lookouts, patrols, and aerial detection to search for new fire starts. Visitors are urged to be vigilant about wildfire prevention as hot and dry weather conditions remain throughout the week. Visitors to the Forest will continue to see smoke, active fire, and firefighters during the next few days. Please drive slowly and carefully. For information about air quality, smoke conditions, and health effects, visit www.valleyair.org or visit www.airnow.gov. 

Community meeting: Tuesday August 25, at 6 pm, Forest Service and CAIIMT – 12 will host a Virtual Community Meeting to provide updated information on the Sequoia Complex. The meeting will be live-streamed on the Sequoia National Forest Facebook and Tulare County Fire Department Facebook pages. Please send your questions in advance and during the meeting to 2020.castlefire@gmail.com. We will try to answer all the questions during the event or by email if we run out of time.

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